Blog

We’re moving online!

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Hope you’re keeping safe and well in this strange time.
I’ve missed our weekly sessions a lot, and long for the return of our happy Wednesday singing community!
But fear not – all that is about to change…
Because we’re going online! 
 
we are starting this Wednesday April 22nd at 7:30pm
This is open to anyone, even if you’re not in the choir already and want to get involved.
I’ve hatched a plan along with two other choir leaders around the country to combine resources and do something new and creative in the lockdown.
Our collaborators are Stef Conner (based in Cambridge website here) and Claire Robins, (based in Surrey website here). Together they run the Timeline Choirs, one in Surrey and one in Cambridge (see website here)
So, adding my two choirs, we have four choirs working together for this online project.
Each choir will run a weekly online rehearsal for an hour:
  • Leith Hill Timeline Choir (Claire): 7:30-8:30pm – Tuesday evenings
  • The Stonegate Singers (Jon): 7:30-8:30pm – Wednesday evenings
  • Cambridge Timeline Choir (Stef): 7:00-8:00pm – Thursday evenings
  • The Roundhay Singers )Jon): 8:05-9:05pm – Thursday evenings (starts just after you clap the NHS)
Our term will run for 11 weeks:
from w/c Monday 20th April  w/c Monday 6th July
HALF TERM in the w/c Monday 25th May.
What we propose is that you come to you regular choir rehearsal each week. This is important, as we want each choir to be itself with its members, but just want to open up the possibility of being connected together as multiple choirs.
If you’re new to the choir, then you can treat The Stonegate Singers as your regular choir! Then when things come back to normal you can join us in person!
And then you are free to drop in to other choir rehearsals as and when you please. There’s no expectation that you do, but they are there if you are in the mood for an extra session, or just curious to see what they are like.
We will be using the Zoom online conferencing platform – if you don’t know how to use this don’t worry, it’s extremely easy, and all instructions will be sent to you before the first rehearsal in a separate email.
We will all be working on 3 new pieces, one each selected by Jon, Claire and Stef, alongside some old favourites that we know already.
There will be workshops from the other choir leaders too – so you will not get bored with just looking at my face on the screen!
We’ll be providing a range of shared new online resources to enable you to learn and work on material at home too.
In terms of money issues, we’re asking for voluntary contributions through a payment button that you’ll find on the website for each individual choir. Please feel free to pay whatever you like for the sessions – or nothing at all – we understand of course that everyone is in different financial situations during this period, so there are no expectations here. And you can pay before or after the session, or at any time.
There will be some kind of group online performance/recording result at the end of the term – we’re still planning this, so we’ll keep you posted!
If you have any questions please contact me via email at thestonegatesingers@gmail.com and we will do our best to answer!
Here’s to some wonderful singing – see you online on Wednesday!
Cheers,
Jon

£500 raised for St Nick’s Nature Explorers programme…

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Big thanks go to all who supported our Summer Concert which has raised £500 for St Nicholas Field’s Nature Explorers programme of family activities! Judging by the feedback we’ve had, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the diverse mix of classical music masterfully performed by pianist Matthew Palmer and cellists Sarah Sigsworth, Catherine Strachan and Frances Jones, as well as songs from around the world sung by The Stonegate Singers , and Brinley Price’s nature-inspired poems. Also thanks to Lewis Outing for great photos and to all the helpers!

Summer Concert raises £500 for Nature Explorers

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Amazing performance at Rowntree Theatre Community Choir Festival!

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We had a fantastic performance on Tuesday night at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, as part of the Community Choir Festival that’s been running there for the past 10 years.

The choir sounded amazing, and we’ve really got to a whole new level in terms of performance, tuning and the quality of the sound we’re making.

We’ve had some very strong new member come too, who’ve really made a difference to how the choir sounds.

Looking forward to the next chapter…

 

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Our Canopy of Voices performance a great Success at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

We had a great time performing as part of Canopy of Voices at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and I was even interviewed by BBC Radio 3! The piece was the product of Manasamitra, an artistic collective directed by South Indian singer and composer Supriya Nagarajan (see here: http://www.manasamitra.com/). James Cave  was the main composer for the piece, working alongside Supriya and Duncan Chapman, with text provided by the poet Shash Trevett.

Our Summer Concert was a real success!

We had a lovely concert at the Unitarian Chapel in St Saviourgate on 30th June, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of St Nicholas Fields Nature Reserve and Environment Centre.  The Unitarian Chapel filled up and the audience was very appreciative of the varied programmeThea Jacob who came along summed it up well: “It was a wonderful evening and represented St Nicks brilliantly: inspirational, uplifting, purposeful, celebrating the richness and beauty of life and each person’s equal importance and value as a thread in the fabric of our world.”

 

Big thanks go to all the performers: David Hammond on piano, Sarah Sigsworth on cello, community choir The Stonegate Singers, who sang songs from around the world as well as the premiere of David Hammond’s choral arrangement of ‘Haiku for St Nicks’ written by local poet Brinley Price, Brinley himself read a couple of his other poems inspired by St Nicks, and Cliff Wilton read out extracts of the Tang Hall Tip 1939-1947 poem. Equally warm thanks go to Lewis Outingfor taking beautiful photos, all the event helpers, and especially to those who came along and helped us raise £600 on the night!

Recording session for Refugium

We had lots of fun on Wednesday last week recording my compositions ‘Through the Gate’ and ‘Forming, Rising, Running’ for the recorded version of Refugium. Our recording will form part of a sound installation version of Refugium that will run in the British Library’s grand entrance hall on December 8th.

It will also be used for the CD of Refugium, which should appear in December 2017.

 

 

 

 

Refugium – amazing day performing my new piece Refugium at Creswell Crags

We had a brilliant day yesterday performing Refugium at Creswell Crags. The choir arrived on a coach from York at 2pm. We rehearsed 3-4pm, and then they had a tour of one of the main caves at Creswell with a guide. The performance was 6pm – 7pm outdoors in the limestone Gorge. Perfect weather, and around 150 people turned up to see us sing.

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Rehearsing in the Gorge

The piece used an 8 speaker outdoor ambisonic sound system set up in the Gorge, with the choir singing 3 new pieces as part of the 1 hour long sound fabric. I composed the 3 pieces using text drawn from conversations with people at Creswell, and J. Magens Mello’s original scientific papers written about the gorge in 1875.

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A great audience for the piece!