Ben, our Director of Programmes, is also the Project Manager for a brilliant initiative called the Dagenham Songwriters Choir (DSC). The DSC are holding a concert next Monday 9th July, at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, at 7PM, £3. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets and information.
Details on the event can be found below. Watch this space for further developments and initiatives based on this brilliant and engaging programme!
Songs written by young people from Parsloes Primary School in Dagenham, rehearsed with singers from their community then performed to the public on 9th July at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, East London.
Presenters on the night include Eastenders’ Jo Joyner who plays Tanya Branning. Jo says; ‘The difference with this collective is that all of the songs the choir perform have been written by the children at the heart of the project. There’s no other choir that works quite like this. They give complete creative control to the kids, letting their imaginations run un-censored which means the children really own their work. It’s life-affirming stuff, these children have the power to amaze us with their talent. The songs will ‘speak’ to you like no other music can because this is truly their voice. I have been moved to tears by their musical and lyrical brilliance’.
The DSC has won 2 UK wide Songwriting Competitions. The prize for one of the competitions was to perform at the Olympic Basketball arena, sharing the stage with Cover Drive at the closing ceremony of the School Games in May. The second win means that one of the DSC’s songs will be released on a compilation CD for the UK Sports Council.
Sir Paul Grant
Sir Paul Grant, knighted for his services to education and Head at Robert Clack has praised the programme, saying:
‘I am delighted with the progress of the Dagenham Songwriters Choir…. Younger boys will be able to work with and see older boys singing without inhibition and with confidence. The Dagenham Songwriters Choir is also an excellent example of collaboration between Primary and Secondary schools in Barking & Dagenham. I am very grateful to Karen Deville’s outstanding leadership and to my own music teachers for the incredible amount of effort they are putting into this important initiative.’
The Choir have also been invited to perform as part of the Barking & Dagenham Town show to welcome in the Olympic torch on the 21st/22nd July.
The Dagenham Songwriters Choir is an ambitious new community project bringing together local people to celebrate the work of the Parsloes songwriters through choral singing. This concert is the launch event for the project as we are delighted to announce that we will be continuing the work next year, involving more schools. musicians and adult groups.
The songwriting core of the choir is made up of 9 – 11 year olds from Parsloes Primary School. They come together once a week and workshop ideas at an after school club at Parsloes, writing songs about the things they want to write songs about, and crafting them into shape with the help of our deputy head Mrs Karen Deville, professional singer-songwriter, Ben O’Sullivan & professional music producer Toby Mclaren. The workshops take many forms, from group songwriting or ‘lyric-Jam’ sessions with 40 people in the main hall, to small group sessions on iPads developing the inspired work of individuals. The songs are then taken to the wider choir for the finishing touches and the magical addition of choral harmony.
The complete ensemble includes students from Hunters Hall Primary School, Sydney Russel and Robert Clack Secondary Schools, community adults and promising young musicians, all coming together to produce a performance of the highest standard for all to enjoy.
In reflecting on the impact of the choir at the heart of the project, Aedin Lipski, Head teacher at Parsloes says ‘One of the initial aims in setting up this choir was to engage, inspire and motivate particular groups of pupils who would never before have put themselves forward for a choir, for a variety of different reasons, mostly linked to confidence and self esteem. For the original core group of pupils from Parsloes Primary School who started on this journey in June 2011, this unique opportunity to perform songs they have written has given them a voice and raised levels of confidence which has permeated and impacted positively on other aspects of their school life. The dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity of those who are leading this unique choir is a key factor in these improved outcomes for our pupils.
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