A community choir that writes their own songs
Ben, our Director of Programmes, is also the Project Manager for the brilliant Dagenham Songwriters Choir (DSC) as well as leading on the development of our programmes including the Songwriting Charity Choir projects and our MasterPEACE programme that kicked off during the Week of Peace which started yesterday.The DSC is an ambitious new community project bringing together local people to celebrate the work of the Parsloes songwriters through choral singing. And now the DSC have just been announced as winners of the Week of Peace 2012 Choir of the Year competition singing the beautiful ‘Faith in Love’.
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.