Month: October 2018


Many thanks to CILIP who contacted Living Song last month, asking us to provide a special performance for the launch of National Libraries week on Tues 9th Oct. Our Young Artists performed at the House of Commons, Portcullis House, Westminster for an audience of MPs, Librarians and other important guests. NewYVC Senior Artists sang a range of a capella repertoire, including a South African medley, a Michael Jackson song and Higher and Higher, by Jackie Wilson.  The audience clearly enjoyed the performance and spent time afterwards talking with members of the group. The organiser said: A huge thank you to you and the choir for an incredible performance at the House of Commons on Tuesday. What a spectacular event that was made so special by the choir’s outstanding performance which brought joy to everyone in the room. It created such a fantastic atmosphere and lots of people told us how much they had enjoyed the performance and getting to meet and speak to members of the choir”. Natalie Jones.

Five Fridays Project

The month of October is Black History Month. As part of the celebration, Living Song is running creative sessions in four libraries, working with Journey to Justice.  Drawing on film, discussion and song making, the local community are sharing their idea’s and feelings about Black History Month. So far we have made three new songs, one at Stratford Library, one at East Ham Library and one at Plaistow Library where over thirty men, women and children from our diverse community collaborated to create our third song in the project. Participants engaged strongly with the activity, singing and chanting their own words as the song emerged. On 26th October, we are inviting all our community song makers to come to Stratford Town Hall to sing their new songs, with local artists who have helped facilitate the making of the songs. Everyone is welcome.


The sign up for Choral Music Experience (CME), London has gone really well again this year. We have twenty-four delegates, many of whom are returning to continue deepening their practice through CME. We are bringing Nick Page over from the USA for the first day of CME on 3rd Nov. He is an inspirational teacher, conductor and composer. Living Song is hosting his visit, during which he will be the guest of honour for the first Cluster rehearsals of Newham Harmony, and of the launch of the primary singing programme with Ark Schools.

The CME course follows the repertoire-based curriculum emphasizing the essential elements of singing and conducting, score study and rehearsal planning, choral pedagogy, and performance practice. The CME performance approach emphasizes the quality of joyful, socially engaged and reflective rehearsal pedagogies practiced collaboratively for the artistic, education, and psycho-spiritual benefit of singers and their communities.

For more information go to Choral Music Experience Institute website.


Members of NewYVC choir continue to develop their musical, social and professional skills as young artists. Several members have now left the choir to become Associate Artists and are leading their own choirs and workshops. Young Music Mentors have been appointed as Young Artists and new younger members have now become Young Music Mentors (YMMs). We are very keen to grow the choir. Any young people aged 10 – 18 who love to sing should come along to Stratford Circus on Tuesdays after school and try a session with this unique and remarkable group of young people. The singing activities are both accessible and challenging, and the leadership team; Jane Wheeler, Naveen Arles and Steve Lodder learn as much from the young artists as they learn during our sessions.

Newham Harmony

The massed singing programme with NewYVC at it’s core is funded by Youth Music once again for the next three years. We will continue to work with Stratford Circus and a new partner, the Newham Music Hub. NewYVC will continue to raise expectations about what young people in Newham can achieve through singing and will work with Newham Music teachers to run workshops in Newham schools. The repertoire for Newham Harmony continues to be diverse in style and origins and sets a range of enjoyable challenges for children, conductors and teachers. This includes music of J.S.Bach, Nick Page, Kathy Armstrong, traditional Japanese and Bengali songs as well as The Beatles and Bruno Mars.

Solid Harmony

Living Song continues to co-manage with Newham VIth Form College this term. The students played a strong role in the Music and Freedom project with Journey To Justice as we reported in Spring. Their singing leader Marina Hart and accompanist Dian Gasper continue to inspire the young singers, who recently made a strong contribution to our massed singing event at Stratford Library for Libraries week.

One Voice: Bromley Project

Abbi Asante and Mohan Dhar are working with the Musical Director of Living Song to run singing and song-making workshops for children with Special Educational Needs. Abbi Asante recently completed her BA in Performance and Enterprise at Guildhall and has been a Young Artist with Living Song CIC and NewYVC for some five years. Mohan Dhar, also a Young Artist for over five years began singing seriously with Solid Harmony at Newham VIth Form College. This is a professional engagement for them and an inspiration for the children in Bromley. Laura Palmer, Head of Trinity Specialist Provision said:

The workshop was amazing! The children really enjoyed the warm up activities. Jane, Mo and Abbi were fantastic at drawing ideas out from what the children said (however bizarre the children’s remarks were). They worked well with our team to create a relaxed and calm atmosphere, which lead to really positive outcomes and a song we can be proud of.  We would recommend this team to work with any children with SEN due to their warm and nurturing approach.

NewMen Voices

Only Boys Allowed!’ This project has launched in two venues – Forest Gate Youth Zone and Beckton Globe Library. Two teams of Young male Artists are running these sessions, mentored by the Musical Director of Living Song. Each team involves an experienced Artist, a Young Artist and a Young Music Mentor (YMM). Repertoire is selected in discussion with the participants of the workshop and membership is growing slowly, but surely. We encourage any boy or young man aged 10-18, who wants to learn more about their voice, how it works and how to develop a natural, healthy voice to get in touch for further information.