Amazing! The Stonegate Singers’ first concert was broadcast on BBC Radio York last night!

The Stonegate Singers plus friend rehearsing as part of York in Harmony with BBC Radio York

Fantastic concert last night with my choir the Stonegate Singers, along with some other friends, as part of the York in Harmony project run by John Offord and BBC Radio York. Such a lovely evening and afternoon, and everything went according to plan.

We had a 2 hour rehearsal from 4pm – 6pm, then went live at 6:08 on the Radio! It was an intense afternoon, as we were working to a tight schedule, but great fun!

Apparently we performed to anything from between 30 000 – 150 000 people – so it was basically a stadium gig!

You can listen back on the Iplayer – BBC iplayer link – our concert starts at 2:09:40. There’s also interviews conducted live during the rehearsal at 47:30 and 1:45:30.


First Stonegate Singers performance to be broadcast live on BBC Radio York!


I’ll be conducting The Stonegate Singers, along with around 50 other singers, in the York in Harmony big finale concert on Friday 7th April at the National Centre for Early Music.

It’s the culmination of a BBC project, running 5 workshops in libraries across York through March designed to encourage people to join choirs and sing!

I’ll be running a 2 hour workshop from 4pm to 6pm at the NCEM, and then we’ll be going live on the radio just after 6pm!

Very exciting!

Jon Hughes

Stonegate Director Jon Hughes interviewed on BBC radio…

I was interviewed on BBC Radio York last night regarding the project we’re involved with in March and April. You can listen to the interview here:

I appear just after 2:13:45.

I appeared on the mid morning show with Jonathan Cowap. He was a really nice guy, and a very good interviewer.

We were talking about the York in Harmony community singing project – see details below. The Stonegate Singers will be involved in the final performance, and I’ll be running one of the workshops – the first one on March 15th.

What is York in Harmony?

BBC Radio York is about to unveil a new community project which will give people from the York area the chance to have a go at singing under some expert guidance.  York in Harmony offers the chance for people of all ages to learn some new tunes and practice their singing at five free singing sessions.  The sessions will be held at venues across the county in March and April.

 When and where are the workshops and who is leading them?

WORKSHOP ONE 15th March, 1-2pm, Acomb Explore Library with Jon Hughes (20 capacity)

WORKSHOP TWO 20th March, 1-2pm, Explore Tang Hall Library with Joe Christie (15 capacity)

WORKSHOP THREE 27th March, 4-5pm, York Explore Library Learning Centre with Chris Bartram (75 capacity)

WORKSHOP FOUR 3rd April, 11am-12, Explore Tang Hall Library with Kerry Merriam (15 capacity)

WORKSHOP FIVE 4th April, 4-5pm, Acomb Explore Library with Ben Levy (20 capacity)


Where and when is the grande finale?

6pm -7pm on Friday, the 7th April 2017 at the National Centre for Early Music.


Will there be a rehearsal on the day of the grande finale?

Yes, 4-6pm on Friday, the 7th April 2017 at the National Centre for Early Music.


How do the people book a space on to a workshop?


01904 552828 for York Explore Library Learning Centre

01904 552655 for Explore Tang Hall Library

01904 552651 for Acomb Explore Library

Great first night! Songs from Africa and England….

We had our very first singing session last night and it great fun. We had 27 singers, and a real mix of voices. I felt very privileged to be working with such an interesting and diverse group of people. We had a lovely mix of ages, and nationalities too. I think being near the University is good, as we get a handful of international postgrads and students, which makes for an interesting mix along with more York ‘long termers’ such as myself!

We started with Bella Mama, a good warm up round (probably originating from Polynesia according to one web source), and then learnt a two part harmonisation of The Grey Funnel Line, an English folk song by Cyril Tawney. We then finished with Sithi Molweni, a simple rhythmic song from South Africa, from the Xhosa people, who form the second largest ethnic group in South Africa after the Zulus. This piece was in the Bantu language, spoken by 7.6 million people according to Wikipedia .

So I’m looking forward to next week – we’ll recap what we’ve learnt, and move on to Plovi Barko, a beautiful Croatian folk song setting in 4 parts. I’ve also got my eye on another African song, Somagwaza, and a great setting of The Parting Glass, an Irish folk song, for the following couple of weeks. I might well try a couple of compositions from my own Shoreline songs, composed in 2016.