Street Choirs – description
Jun 2017

Author: David Burbidge

Here’s some information about the Street Choirs who will be in Kendal on Saturday afternoon June 24:

Street choirs: Kendal 2017 – About the Choirs
Ain’t What You Do (Walton on the Wolds)
We are a genre wandering a cappella group, singing gospel and soul as well as a selection of rock and pop classics.
Birmingham Clarion Singers
The choir was founded in 1940 by Dr Colin Bradsworth following his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, and has been involved with a range of colourful and influential figures, including Paul Robeson, Pete and Peggy Seeger, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Aubrey Bowman and many more.  We have an extensive repertoire and still sing regularly at events for peace, justice and socialism. 
Bradford Voices
We are a mixed voice community choir of around 70 regular singers. We sing in Saltaire & have been singing and having fun together since 1996. We sing because we love singing! We sing to express joy, celebration and solidarity. We are led by Ana Hayrabedian, our energetic and passionate Musical Director who teaches us using Natural Voice methods. We believe that singing is our birth right and that everyone’s voice is unique to themselves. Throughout the year we raise money on the street or at gigs for our nominated charity.
Bury Acapeelers
We are in essence a very happy group of people who love to sing and we have been a choir for more than eight years. Many of our members have been with us for most of that time and our lovely Musical Director, Eleanor has been with us almost since the outset.
We rehearse every Thursday in the Parish Church rooms in Bury, Lancashire. We are fortunate in having a solid bass section even if they do sometimes groan at a lack of words.Some ladies, having started in the alto section gained in confidence so much that they discovered they were really sopranos.

We fundraise for the local hospice and a charity for young people (jigsaw) and our photo shows us at a fundraiser at Christmas, 2016 at the Museum and Art Gallery in Bury when the theme was Victorian; thus we are suitably dressed for the occasion.  We run workshops once or twice a year. These are always in different styles of music and this coming September we are running a gospel one. The workshops enable us to add to our varied repertoire.
Caedmon choir (Gateshead)
Caedmon Choir celebrate their 30th birthday this year!  Our unusual name comes from the library room we used to rehearse in.  Caedmon has been described as ‘the first English poet’ and ‘the father of English song’.  He died in 680AD. We have around seventy members who vary widely in age, occupation and interests, but who are united by their enjoyment of singing together. We do not hold auditions and music-reading ability is not needed as we learn many of our songs by ear.
We sing unaccompanied, and our repertoire includes traditional and contemporary songs both local and from other parts of Britain. We also perform songs from other countries and cultures, and in a wide range of styles, including some that express a concern for people and the planet. Our musical director is Eleanor Mooney
Calder Valley Voices (Hebden Bridge)
We are open to all regardless of musical experience. We meet in Hebden Bridge, with members along the Calder Valley area of West Yorkshire, from Halifax to Todmorden. The choir sing songs from the world-wide community singing tradition, including songs of peace, freedom, anti-poverty and ecology. We have lots of fun and energy, can get a bit carried away and like powerful, challenging songs. Our MD, Carol Donaldson has been guiding us in some original joint compositions.
 Côr Gobaith (Aberystwyth)
The choir’s name means “Choir of hope.”  “We are based in Aberystwyth, and sing songs of peace, justice and sustainability in Welsh, English and several other languages. The choir is open to all who share our ideals. We sing in the street in Aberystwyth once a month and collect, usually for Medecins Sans Frontieres. We also take part in demonstrations and were in great voice with the other Campaign Choirs at Manchester outside the Tory party conference. In 2016 we celebrated 10 years since the start of our beloved choir.”
We are a small group of singers from the upper Calder valley in England and we met through Calder Valley Voices, a community choir based in Hebden Bridge.
We love to sing and perform shape note pieces, contemporary songs with a political edge, and folk songs in various languages.  We are always looking out for open mic opportunities, and recently performed in the Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival.
Craigie Choir
Based in Perth, the choir was founded by Debra Salem in 2004. The ethos of Craigie Choir is ‘non-performing’ and just for the joy of singing together.
However, over the years the choir has had many new experiences including singing with Scottish band Runrig and taking part in Last Choir Standing at the BBC, through to backing local artists and busking in the street to raise money for charity.
Debra writes all the arrangements for the mixed choir whose acappella repertoire is mainly drawn from classic rock and world music.
East Lancs Clarion Choir (Burnley)
The choir is led by Janet Russell and comes from a socialist tradition, singing current and historical political songs as well as folk songs, protest songs and songs for peace freedom and justice. 
They sing annually at the Blackstone Edge Gathering (remembering the Chartists), Burnley May Parade, Nelson Clarion House and outside the US eavesdropping base at Menwith Hill on July 4th. They support local community events and local campaign groups such as the Pendle – Palestine Twinning Group and the anti-fracking campaign in Lancashire.
Fellside Singers (Kendal)
Fellside Singers are a 30-strong acappella choir, who sing world songs which cover all emotions: one minute, you’ll be smiling; the next, shedding a tear.
Forgotten Voices (Pocklington, Yorkshire)
Forgotten Voices Community Choir was founded in 2010 by Community Musician Sam Dunkley at the invitation of Pocklington Arts Centre. The choir was initially funded to provide a space for those who had sung at school or college but didn’t find a choral society or church choir to be their natural home. 
Over the years we have grown to a choir which regularly numbers 30 or more in our weekly rehearsals, tackling with much success repertoire ranging from traditional songs from the UK and beyond, pop favourites, classical sacred and secular works, musical theatre and anything else which catches our ear. This is our third Street Choir Festival, having loved our trips to Whitby and Leicester.
Honest Singers (Musselborough)
We are an open and welcoming community of singers in Musselburgh who love learning, singing and performing songs together. Our numbers fluctuate but we have a core of around a dozen people.
We usually do a summer and a winter ‘busk’ for Marie Curie funds, and welcome the chance to perform for any good cause that presents itself! 
Our name comes from the fact that Musselburgh is known as the ‘Honest Toun’ but it could also describe the way we like to sing – with our honest, authentic voices.
We love forming links with other singing groups and look forward to sharing the singing experience in Kendal in 2017.”
 Hullabaloo (Brighton) hosts of next year’s Festival: 29 June-1 July 2017
Anika Carpenter, the choir’s administrator, says:
“We’re a totally eclectic Natural Voice community choir who sing anything that makes us stomp and shout, tingle and swoon, laugh and cry, and raise the rafters with songs of passion, protest and celebration.
Last month we trod the boards of the Brighton Dome as proud pioneers of ‘The Big Song’, which was part of this years Brighton Festival. It charts the many ways that song is important to; us, animals, the planet and interweaves song and narration AND it’s coming to a community choir near you soon!
We are a veritable menagerie of different sizes, shapes, ages, life stories, penchants and passions. We sing because it moves mountains, changes lives, turns the world upside down, gives us our rightful space, and helps to build creative community. 
“Everyone is welcome at Hullabaloo – we have ‘something for everyone’! Over the three-term year, we run a rolling programme of choral feats, from gorgeously quirky and creatively enriching shows that often lead to the Brighton Festival, followed by a ‘core repertoire term’, where we rehearse and add to our ‘Hulla Hits’. Autumn often finds us in ‘creative collaboration’ mode with other musicians.
Our most recent creative collaboration was with Northern folk Goddesses O’Hooley and Tidow. We have also sung with Oysterband, Robb Johnson, The Moulettes and many more.
Next year is Hullabaloo’s 20th Birthday! So we will be extra specially excited to be welcoming choirs from all over to our fabulous city by the sea. Look out for us at Kendal, we’ll be happy to tell you more!!!”

Ilkley Moor Notes
Ilkley Moornotes is a Community Choir based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.  We sing mostly for our own pleasure, but look forward to our performances in a variety of wonderful locations. This year we’ve celebrated our tenth anniversary with the release of a CD, Ten Years, and a return visit to our twin town of Coutances, in Normandy. Our inspirational Musical Director is singer/songwriter, Beccy Owen.
Kadenza (Bolton)
We are now in our 14th year, led by Moira Hill. We try to reach out to women of all ages and backgrounds in our membership and for our performances at community events. The choir is based in Horwich, near Bolton but our members are both local and from as far afield as North Manchester and Darwen. We believe that singing is our right, is good for us and is a positive force for change both in our personal lives and in the wider community and this is reflected in our songs.
Knot Another Choir (Knaresborough)
We’re a mixed all-inclusive community choir from the very pretty market town of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, we’re very proud to be representing Knaresborough. We practice once a week and sing at charity concerts and events usually local to us. We really love our singing, it’s wonderful being part of such a great bunch of people. We have a very varied repertoire we love: Lean on me, Viva la Vida, Girl, Stand by me, Calon Lan, One Day Like This, Pokare, How I Wish, Love Is Where You Are, Finlandia, Parting Glass, and Only Remembered to name but a few.
We attended our first street choirs festival two years ago and we loved it. We made friends with a ladies choir the Honest Singers while we were there, and in August 2016 we visited them in Musselburgh near Edinburgh. This year they are returning the favour and visiting us in Knaresborough, a wonderful friendship has been formed just through our attending the street choirs festival. We’re really looking forward to performing alongside other fantastic choirs, and we can’t wait to see the many different choirs perform on the Saturday night of the festival. We’re delighted to be visiting beautiful Kendal.
 Lakeland Voices (Kendal)
We are celebrating our 20thanniversary. Our choir grew from a Natural Voice evening class at the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre – Discover Your Voice – started by David Burbidge in 1993 for those “who would like to sing but believe they can’t.”
We are now an easy-going acappella, community choir open for all, and at the beginning of June returned from a tour of Slovenia where we sang in Slovenian and English alongside several choirs, including singers from David’s twin town, Zreče – and at the Bohinj Wild Flower Festival, in the Waldorf School in Ljubljana, and on walks, wild swims and boating trips across Bled and Bohinj. 
We sing songs from other countries too, as well as many walking and drinking songs – and in the summer months take our songs out onto the Lake District fells where we sing by lakes and waterfalls, in woods and caverns….and round the fires of country pubs.
We especially enjoy meeting and singing with other choirs and singers – often with our local sister Natural Voice choirs, the Penrith Community Choir, The Singing Cyclists, The Kendal CancerCare Choir, Bentham Voices, and the Sedbergh Songsters (many of whom are volunteers for this festival) – and extend a warm hand of welcome and camaraderie to all of you who are visiting from other parts of the UK and beyond.
Leeds People’s Choir

The Leeds People’s Choir is a friendly, mixed-voice, broadly secular, choir of diverse individuals brought together by a shared love of music. Under the skilled direction of talented jazz and folk singer Lorraine Cowburn, Leeds People’s Choir perform songs which are as diverse as the choir members. Rousing folk anthems, sweet soulful gospel numbers, songs of songs of joy, struggle, liberation, celebration and peace from around the world.
Manchester Community Choir

The Manchester Community Choir is an open access acapella choir with over a hundred members. In September our performances began on International Peace Day busking with Open Voice Choir. 
Then with visitors Kór Reyõarfjarđarkirkju from Iceland a concert raising money for Shelter; the choir sang in the Baths at The Victoria Baths Open Day, at a Fair Trade Christmas Fair, a Freedom from Torture Winter concert, and at Manchester’s Central Library Xmas Family Extravaganza. 
We visited the Gasworks Singers in Bristol with busking and a concert for Medicins Sans Frontieres; busked in Manchester for Marie Curie, then in May a concert in Buxton with Whaley Voices in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer. Enjoy us singing with our inspirational MD Liz Powers.
Monton Voices community choir (Manchester)

The choir was established in May 2000 by their enthusiastic Musical Director Judy Kent. We have seen members come and go but we still have some of our “founding” members. We consist of some 40+ members, both male and female with a varied age range and are a group of like-minded people from all walks of life who enjoy singing and creating, what we hope is, a joyful harmony for others to enjoy. Our repertoire spans a wide range of musical genre from classical choral pieces to modern pop music. As a community choir we support local causes. We rehearse every Tuesday evening and enjoy socialising afterwards.
Nottingham Clarion Choir
We have been a socialist choir since 1988 – when we sang with other artists producing the LP ‘English Rebels.’  We have performed on May Days, historical commemorations; Tolpuddle, Burford Levellers Day, the Pentrich uprising in Derbyshire.  We’ve enjoyed being part of marches for the NHS,  against education cuts etc. against the Iraq war and all other wars to exploit countries across the world!  We have travelled to Cuba, Germany and Sweden singing with other like-minded choirs.  We continue to grow in numbers (though not all can come to the SCF).  
Otley Singers
Otley Singers are an all-women community choir based in Otley, West Yorkshire. 
The choir was established in 2000 and is led by Lorraine Cowburn. We cover a wide repertoire for soprano, alto and tenor voices and have performed in a variety of venues including Street Choir Whitby in 2015.
Open Voice choir (Manchester)

Open Voice are a 50 strong choir based in Whalley Range, Manchester who have been singing together for 16 years. We sing for sheer pleasure but also to support causes, demonstrations and local community events. Gigs range from singing to 70,000 at anti-austerity rally in Manchester, small benefit gigs to support refugees and recently, working with local political band ‘RISE!’ 
Pales Peace Choir 
From Hope grew Peace: In 2009 Côr Gobaith (Hope) sang at the Pales in Llandegley, as a benefit concert to raise funds for the Quaker Naga Conciliation peace building work in North East India. They so inspired the audience that two weeks later, Susie Ennals, the director, led a workshop at the Pales. 25 attended and have been meeting for monthly workshops (and shared lunch feasts) ever since……and so the Pales Peace Choir was born. We’re a mixed bunch and many travel long distances to sing together at Pales and at events where we can sing songs of peace and justice.
Preston People’s Choir
The choir started five years ago to welcome all people to come and sing for fun and for their community. In the last year we have sung at events in Preston celebrating diversity and Preston’s rich working class history. Our choir is growing and has a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Protest in Harmony
Protest in Harmony is a radical singing group based in Edinburgh. We sing songs of protest and struggle; we sing about peace, justice, the environment & human rights. We sing at events and demonstrations. We meet, learn songs, and rehearse monthly on a Saturday.  Anyone can join us and there are no auditions. We believe that song can be a powerful, positive force.
Raised Voice (North London)
This political choir sings for peace, justice and the environment, and against militarism, capitalism, racism and sexism. They also sing to raise money for various political campaigns, at political events and on demonstrations, often with other choirs, as well as at festivals.
Red Leicester
We are an enthusiastic group of about 35 singers drawn together by our love of four-part harmony and our socialist ideals. No auditions necessary! We rehearse weekly at Leicester Secular Hall, home of the world’s oldest secular society. We sing throughout the year at community and political events, and to raise money for various causes including CND, WaterAid, Leicester City of Sanctuary and Women’s Aid. Our repertoire includes historical and contemporary songs of social and political protest from around the world, as well as songs of celebration, freedom, justice and peace. Many of our songs are arranged by musical director Jane Burnsall.
Rivington Rebels (Rivington, near Bolton)
We are the Rivington Rebels, and this is our first time at a Street Choir Festival. We are a small group of 12 singers who normally sing with ‘The Bennett Choir’, under the guidance of Jan Turner, our MD, who unfortunately can’t join us. We usually sing with accompaniment too, so we really are out of our comfort zone! We will be busking, and some of us will be joining ‘Kadenza’, another local choir, on stage for the concert.
We are a community choir, formed in 2010 with 8 ladies, and have grown to almost 50 members. We are an inclusive (apart from not having any men!) non-auditioned choir with an age range of 11 up to 70+ and encourage anyone who likes to sing to join, even those who say they can’t sing!
We sing a wide range of songs from musicals to folk, and perform at many local events such as ‘Chorley Live’ (a local music festival), weddings, carolling and with our local brass band. We are very proud to say that over the years we have supported many charities, donating as much as we can from our different events.
Last year we raised £600 to sponsor 3 of our members to ‘Ride the Night’ (a 100 km night ride through London) in aid of three women’s cancer charities. This year we are raising funds for North West Air Ambulance. It’s a fantastic way to make a difference to other people’s lives through the sheer joy of singing.
Settle Voices 

Settle Voices is the local Community Choir in the market town of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. Living in such a beautiful area, we enjoy singing about local history and landscape. We recently commissioned four new songs specially for the choir, which will complement the other locally written songs in our repertoire. We sing a wide range of music, from old folk songs, to Maori and African music and Jazz. Our musical director is Janet Russell, who has been teaching us songs for over ten years now!
Secret Singers (Ribble Valley)

Olwyn Pearce, who leads the singers, says: “Secret Singers are choirs for people who usually sing in secret – until they sing with us. Some members never want to perform but others gain confidence and find that they love to! Some folks are still on that journey.
Our Street Choirs Festival choir is gathered from our family of 4 groups of Secret Singers and the East Lancs Carers Chorus. Our community of choirs is open to everybody and anybody – even confident singers too!”
Sheffield Socialist choir

Sheffield Socialist Choir, established nearly thirty years ago, sings songs about justice, environmental issues, human rights and peace across the world. We sing in support of campaigns in harmony with our vision for a fairer, sustainable world, at demonstrations, political events, concerts and on the streets. Anyone who is enthusiastic about singing for change is welcome to join us.
Sing Meanwood (Leeds)  

Are making their debut at the festival this year – a lively bunch of committed and enthusiastic singers from a leafy suburb of Leeds. Formed just three ago, the choir’s reputation has grown rapidly as they have blossomed under the musical leadership of talented singer-songwriter Beccy Owen. So much so that they not only have 50 singers already in their four-part ranks but an equal number on a bulging waiting list.
Their repertoire is diverse, encompassing contemporary rock and pop songs – as well as folk and roots material from a wide range of different cultures. Their performance experiences are equally varied, from flash-mobbing the local supermarket to night-time singing in the woods. And do they sound good?
Well, just ask the people of Meanwood who regularly return to hear their frequent concerts and musical ‘sharings’! “

Silsden Singers (from near Skipton)

Led by Janet Russell, we are celebrating our twentieth anniversary this year. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy singing together in a supportive group, so we invite new members to join us. You will be guaranteed a warm welcome and a fun and friendly atmosphere – and there are no auditions.
Most of our songs come from folk traditions around the world including the British Isles. As well as our regular sessions at the Youth Centre, Elliott Street, Silsden on Tuesdays, 7:00 -9:00pm, we perform several times a year at local and regional events, such as welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire as it whizzes through Silsden and the Santa Special at Keighley Station at Christmas time.
Three Valleys choir (Todmorden)

Based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, our motto is “Everyone can sing!” We strive to share the joy of singing with as many people, who will listen to (or join) us as we can. With the capable guidance of the dynamic Ailsa Nicholson we sing mostly gospel and Africa and some pop songs. We like supporting community causes and sing at diverse events as well as being available for hire.
Tynedale choir (Hexham)
We are a non-auditioned choir of around 70 members based in Hexham, Northumberland. We meet weekly under the direction of Kathryn Davidson and have a varied repertoire which includes folk, pop and gospel – and whatever else Kathryn fancies bringing – so this year we’ve looked at a piece of Elgar!
When we perform, the performances tend to be based in and for our local community. We enjoy socialising – from our annual May Day dawn sing on Sele Park followed by a hearty communal breakfast, to wassailing in the orchard of Aydon Castle to summer picnics on the banks of the river Allen.
Whitby Community Choir 

Whitby Community Choir was formed in 2004 by a small group of people who gathered together to sing simply for the love of it – no leader, no auditions and certainly with no intention of performing.
However the love of singing soon led to sharing their singing with others in the community, and at local, regional and eventually national events. We have hosted the National Street Choirs Festival in Whitby three times, bringing 1300 singers to town in July 2015, and were recipients of the BBC Performing Arts Fund grant for community music in 2014.
We love taking part in the Street Choir – it’s  a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the singing of choirs from around the nation.
We are a non-auditioned, inclusive acappella choir, with around 20 members, meeting every week all year round on Wednesday evenings 7.15-9.15 at Flowergate URC and we perform far and wide under the leadership of Rebecca Denniff.
                                                                                                                             Wrexham Community Choir

The choir was formed in 2012 by Carol Donaldson and Wendy Paintsil and has over 100 members. 
Meeting every week, the choir is a fun, vibrant and friendly community choir which is open to everyone who loves to sing. Their repertoire includes songs from across the world , traditional Welsh melodies, African vocals, Indie, Gospel, Motown and Musical Theatre. 
Everyone aged 16+ is welcome from terrified beginners to seasoned singers. 

Led by accomplished Musical Director and Composer, Carol Donaldson, the choir has been described as the “Heart of Wrexham” and over the past 5 years has performed at over 100 community events and sang at Focus Wales, Llangollen International Eisteddfod, Llangollen Fringe, Cardiff Millennium Centre, BBC Wales Live Music Day and have collaborated on community arts projects with local artists and musicians.
In 2014 they travelled to Poland as guests of the Lutnia Choir who returned to Wrexham in 2015. They also run singing workshops and have produced projects with musicians from South Africa and USA.


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