STREET CHOIRS, WORKSHOPS
SUNDAY MORNING JUNE 25 09:30-10:30 and 11:15-12:15
If you have registered for the festival please wear your wristband which will allow you access to any of these workshops.
There are more details about the workshops and the workshop leaders below, and also in the festival handbook which comes with your registration:
Abbot Hall Social Centre – Frankie Armstrong – (empowering the voice for singing. )
Ground floor: 1. Malt Room – Faith Watson (Jazz harmony)
First Floor: 2. Grainstore – Andy Whitfield and the Millenium Choir (sing with the choir)
3. Cinema Screen 2 – Paul Guppy and the Gladly Solemn Sound (Smite the Mighty – West Gallery songs of subversion)
4. Playgroup – Yannick (Breton dance songs)
5. Cinema Screen 1 –Tyndale Thomas (Gospel)
6. Art Room 1 – Christine Kydd (Scottish songs)
7. Studio – Janet Russell (Songs of Hope and Ecology)
8. Art Room 2 – Tracie Penwarden and OttoVoce (sing with the choir After the War, and more)
9. Warehouse – David Burbidge (Mountain songs)
1. Assembly Room – Penny Stone (Refugee songs)
2. Bindloss Room – Ali Burns (lush harmonies)
3. Town Hall chambers – Rebecca Denniff (Land and Sea folk songs)
4. Georgian Room – Jamie McDowell (Alexander Technique)
1. Campaign Choirs – Meeting room
2. Detached room – Yannick –Steve Cheslett – (Feldenkrias)
THE WORKSHOPS – leaders and description of workshops
Ali Burns – Singing By Heart
Ali Burns is a songwriter who loves to write for community choirs – songs with lush beautiful harmonies and simple text that nevertheless have relevant social context in these times of uncertainty and change. In this workshop she’ll teach some new material along those lines.
Andy Whitfield and The Lancaster Millenium Choir
They’ll be teaching their songs by ear with support from the singers (so no need to worry if you don’t read music.) Andy says the songs may include his own composition “Words” in one workshop, and Edenroth’s “Chilli Con Carne”
The Lancaster Millennium Choir is a community choir that loves to try out new (and often frankly outlandish) ideas; specialising in music that challenges or surprises, as well as entertains.
Audiences have been particularly delighted with their film/choral combos, where the choir sing the soundtrack to classic films such as the Lone Ranger.
Their repertoire has included unexpected topics such as children’s rights, autism, pregnancy, performing tracheotomies and solving the banking crisis. They also intersperse these original creations with new arrangements of more well-known tunes from Queen and The Kinks, through Joni Mitchell and the Beach Boys to Harold Arlen and Tom Lehrer.
Campaign Choirs – Annual meeting
The Street Choirs bCampaign choirs (campaignchoirs.org.uk) evolved out of the 2013 Street Choirs Festival in Aberystwyth.
In the political urgency of our times we wanted to alert each other to events, find ways to coordinate our presence at actions and share information and songs. A website, an email list and many actions later – including an ongoing street choir life-histories project – we have a working network and an established annual meeting during the Street Choirs Festival.
We want to spread the word about the initiative, review the year, share future actions and work out a strategy for going further. So please come, get involved and have your say.
Christine Kydd: Songs from Scotland.
At the festival on Sunday morning Christine Kydd will introduce you to some songs from Scotland. Songs range from standard English to Scots language. For my first foray into street choirs, I’ll be teaching a few new words and help you to get your tongue, teeth and lips round (for some of you) new sounds. It will be fun!
Workshop 1 – 09:30-10:30: Songs of Place and Identity. Returning, celebrating ourselves and connecting at home and abroad.
Workshop 2 – 11:15-12:15: Songs from Rabbie. The songs of Robert Burns are sometimes surprising, sometimes re-minted to great effect!
Christine Kydd’s “Kist o Sangs” is the name for her teaching projects, songs and arrangements from Scotland and beyond. Kist o Sangs has at it’s core the rich repertoire of Scotland’s traditional songs as well as songs from other cultures and genres.
As tutor and workshop leader Christine has been in demand in both education and cultural activity projects. She has a knack of engaging learners of any age and ability, and building confidence in singing. Christine has a real joy for the music that she passes on through her workshops. Her arrangements are gaining a great deal of popularity and have been performed and recorded by choirs the length and breadth of Britain. Scots songs, songs of Robert Burns, and songs from world traditions as well as contemporary songs, feature.
“Christine’s teaching style is inspiring, her harmony arrangements are inventive, her vocals are warm and inviting, and her passion has led many to discover the riches of Scots song.” Fiona Ritchie, Chairperson, Just Singing Community Choir
David Burbidge – Mountain songs
Whether you’re a rambler from Manchester way, go with your brothers and sisters to the top of Slovenian mountains, or just like swinging along the open road, come and sing a few songs suitable for and about the open fells – even if you rarely walk further than a few yards from your car, you can still enjoy these lively tunes and harmonies. Some songs can help to keep your spirits up on long walks, and others celebrate the glory of the mountains and the natural environment.
As well as having led community choirs and harmony singing workshops in South Lakeland for over 25 years, David has trained as a mountain leader – and leads groups on singing walks through the mountains which range from wheelchair-friendly rambles around Tarn Howes, to expeditions to the top of Slovenia’s highest mountain Triglav.
Every year he leads singers staying in an iconic and remote mountain bothy: the Black Sail Youth Hostel near Scafell, and the local community choirs he leads also join him on singing expeditions through the long summer evenings round lakes to sing by waterfalls or in vast Lakeland caverns.
“Sun warmed rock and the cold of Bleaklow’s frozen sea, the snow and the wind and the rain of hills and mountains; days in the sun and the tempered wind and the air like wine, and you drink and your drink ‘till you’re drunk on the joy of living.” Ewan MacColl
Faith Watson – Jazz harmony – “singing for the pure joy of it”
1. 09:30-10:30 Short layered songs. In this workshop you will learn a few songs which are just one or two lines long, but which have several contrasting parts, with different rhythms, creating a full and busy overall sound.
2. 11:15-12:15 Perfect Day. In this workshop you will learn the song by Lou Reed in a 5 part arrangement. In just one hour we won’t be aiming for a seamless rendition, but we’ll be able to sing the song with full voice and heart!
Faith has been leading singing workshops for over 25 years. She writes some short songs and she arranges many more, often with a Jazz / Swing feel. Rather than working towards performances, she concentrates on the experience of singing together in the here and now. Her groups and workshops are all about singing for the pure joy of it.
Frankie Armstrong – finding a full free voice
The workshop, at this festival, will primarily focus on easeful power ie. how to use the
body and the breath in relaxed but dynamic ways to allow full free resonant voice without strain and effort. This may sound serious but it is going to be fun!”
Frankie Armstrong has been singing professionally since 1964. In 1975 she began her pioneering Voice Workshops based on ethnic styles of singing – where singing is as natural as speaking. She has sung and run workshops all over Europe, N America andAustralia working with Community Groups, Theatre Companies, International Voice and Theatre Festivals and in every kind of setting from hospitals to the National Theatre Studio London.
She has made 10 solo albums, written her autobiography As Far As the Eye Can Sing and edited a collection of essays Well Tuned Women with Jenny Pearson.
Her latest book is with Janet Rodgers, Acting and Singing with Archetypes.
She has also contributed chapters to eleven other publications.
Janet Russel – Songs of Ecology and Hope
Janet’s workshop will include an arrangement of Pete Seeger’s “Quite Early Morning”, and a piece based on “Wimoweh” with new words for activists ! There will also be a couple of short things to enjoy from the Campaign Choirs repertoire.
Janet first made a name for herself on the folk circuit in the ‘80’s as a young singer songwriter writing with hard-edged humour about issues affecting women.
Her “Secretary’s Song” was the most requested song on “Folk on 2” in 1987/8, and “Breastfeeding Baby in the Park” has been taken up by the pro-breastfeeding lobby nationally and internationally.
Whilst bringing up two sons, living in Yorkshire, Janet became an established voice workshop and community choir leader, and a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, established through Frankie Armstrong’s work.
This has led Janet to arrange some songs by favourite songwriters such as Leon Rosselson, Robb Johnson, and Sandra Kerr and partner Jim Woodland for performance by her three regular community choirs, as well as “borrowing” arrangements from Leon, Sandra, Jim Boyes, and other colleagues to enrich the community choir repertoire.
Some singers may also remember, or even have taken part in “The Christmas Truce”, “Hearts of Coal”, and “The Toilers’ Gift”, 3 productions organised in conjunction with Coope, Boyes, and Simpson (more than ten years ago now!), and the wonderful “Roses and Thorns” choir from both sides of the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.
Jamie McDowell – Alexander Technique for singing
Jamie McDowell is the director of the Fellside Centre, which teaches individuals and groups the Alexander Technique both as a personal discipline, and as a training centre for those who wish to become therapists.
This physical discipline has long been recognised as one of the best ways of helping the voice both for singing and acting, and many thousands of well-known singers and actors have benefited from instruction.
Come and release your tensions and free your natural voice.
Paul Guppy and the Gladly Solemn Sound west gallery choir – Smite The Mighty– West Gallery songs of subversion.
The West Gallery choirs who sang in the 18th and early 19th centuries were early protest choirs. If a landlord had thrown a tenant off the estate so he could make more money from sheep, then the choir would sing songs like Abbeystead where the rich get their comeuppance. The Landlord, who would be sitting in his private pews facing the altar, would then have to turn around to hear the choir – hence the expression, “turning to face the music.”
Paul Guppy has been researching these songs and leading his choir in Lancaster for over 25 years – he found Abbeystead (the best known of the west gallery songs of subversion) in the Winder Manuscripts in Wyresdale about 30 miles south of Kendal. It is now sung by many choirs – the Sheffield Socialist choir sang it on their tour of Cuba.
Penny Stone – Everybody is welcome – Songs of home and refuge for a troubled world.
Join Penny Stone to learn a song that weaves words of welcome together in multiple languages.
Whether people have arrived as refugees, as economic migrants or migrants of choice, singing can help us to break down the barriers between us.
Penny says: “Let us take a moment to reflect on what home really means to us, and to others, and sing a little louder, together.”
Penny Stone is a Radical Musician and Community Songleader based in Edinburgh. She co-leads Protest in Harmony, runs a Radical Folk Club, and writes songs that believe a better world is possible.
Rebecca Denniff (formerly Gross) – Between the Land and the Sea
Come and join Rebecca to sing new arrangements of traditional songs that connect the land and the sea, with uplifting and powerful harmonies.
“We will explore themes of home, belonging and travel – and harvest from those themes that powerful sense of unity that we all know singing together can bring.”
Rebecca Denniff is a folk singer, composer, choir wrangler and song collector based in the wilds of the North York Moors National Park.
She leads several choirs on a weekly basis, as well as running bespoke workshops for harmony singers regionally and nationally and developing songwriting projects with her creative partner David Owen.
Using her experience of working with a broad range of musical traditions she creates repertoire that enriches the musical experiences of her participants, in turn extending their cultural awareness and musical appreciation.
Steve Cheslett – Feldenkrais
Feldenkrais is a unique set of exercises that use guided movement to increase self-awareness and remove habitual tensions that can interfere with the free expression of the voice.
Singers are guided through a number of movements which are like puzzles which can unlock the mysteries of the human body. They are non-competitive but the results are profound.
Steve’s classes in Kendal and Ambleside have been proving very popular with many of our singers who notice a real difference in the quality of their voices.
He is a former physiotherapist for over 25 years who took up Feldenkrais when he discovered how powerful the technique is for making neurological changes.
Tracie Penwarden and OttoVoce – After the War and other songs
Celebrating our 10thAnniversary – come and sing selected delights with musical director Tracie Penwarden and member of OttoVoce. We’ll be learning a song called “After the War” which featured in the film Passchendaele – and a fun rendition of This Old Man.
Tyndale Thomas: The Joyful music experience
Tyndale’s workshop will involve, exploring Gospel and inspirational music, vocal power and control, polyrhythms, syncopation, call and response with movement. He assures you will be inspired and motivated
Tyndale Thomas MBE, is a director, song writer, singer arranger, and educator. His performing experience and skills take him all over the Uk and around Europe. He has supported and performed with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists such as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Rick Wakeman and gospel legends Andre Crouch, Richard Smallwood, and Edwin Hawkins.
He is also the director of the One Voice community choir, and the Liverpool harmonic gospel choir, and is also one of the founders of Voice Assembly. He creates and performs Gospel and inspirational music throughout the UK, Europe and America.
Tyndale has continued to build on his reputation as an ambassador for Gospel and inspirational music in the UK and abroad, by initializing new working techniques, delivering music, singing and song writing workshops and seminars to people of all ages and from a diversity of cultures and abilities.
In June 2008 Tyndale made history by becoming the first gospel musician and director to be awarded the MBE for his contribution to Gospel and inspirational music.
He says: “Singing for me is Life!”
Yannick Minvielle-Debat – Call and response songs from Brittany for dancing
Yannick will teach some easy but highly enjoyable and mesmerising traditional call and response songs from Brittany. The language is French but the repetitive nature of the verses makes it accessible to non-French speakers.
As the songs are for dancing, she will also introduce the singers to the steps of the simple accompanying circle dances so they can experience the magic of singing for dancing.
This Breton songs workshop is guaranteed to be a rewarding experience.
Yannick’s involvement in traditional French and Breton music ranges from singing for dancing in a band, The Wizards of Noz, and in a duo with an accordionist, organising an annual French music festival in Todmorden, teaching Breton call and response songs to running dance workshops for all abilities and ages. She especially enjoys teaching children in primary schools all around the country.
Born in France, Yannick now lives in Keighley, Yorkshire.