The Stonegate Singers was set up by composer and researcher Jon Hughes. Jon believes the idea of a community choir is that people with varying levels of music experience can sing together. Both experienced singers and people new to singing can come together in a supportive and positive atmosphere, working towards the common goal – to experience singing beautiful music!

Jon Hughes is a composer, singer, yoga teacher, choir leader and researcher based in York, working collaboratively with practitioners from a wide range of fields including dance, visual arts, theatre, biology, physics and archaeology. He has conducted live choral performances on BBC Radio.

Jon rehearsing in China with The 24 choir

Jon has many years experience as a choral singer. He sung for 6 years as part of The 24, a choir based at the University of York. The 24 was run by John Potter, from The Hilliard Ensemble, and Professor William Brooks. With The 24, Jon had the chance to work with well known artists such as Gavin Bryars, and the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. Jon toured China 3 times, toured Germany, and performed many concerts in the UK. Solo experience included singing solo tenor in Stef Connor’s new piece Iss in the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Shanghai, China.

Jon In India, 2016

In the summer of 2016, Jon collaborated with choreographer Simon Birch and choral director Claire Ingleheart to create Shoreline, a major project in Cornwall funded by the Arts Council and FEAST. Shoreline involved over 100 community singers and 5 professional dancers performing outdoors in Cornwall, on the beaches of Kynance Cove, Sennan Cove and Watergate bay (see here: Shoreline website, and also here: Shoreline page on Jon’s website). It was conceived as a meditation on the borderline between land and sea, embodied movement and vocal expression. Jon was composer for the project, with Claire Ingleheart working as musical director. The project was a great success, being seen by several thousand people and receiving great reviews in the press (see here: press review). You can see a video below:

Other recent projects Jon has composed for include the dance piece Terrarium , commissioned for the North York Moors National Park Authority in 2012 (see here), and Transmission, a collaboration with evolutionary biologist Professor Mike Brockhurst and Becs Andrews (see here).

Terrarium in performance, Cornwall 2013

Jon is also a yoga teacher, and founded Jhula Yoga in York, which ran low cost, regular early morning yoga classes 5 days a week at St Lawrence Church Hall, Lawrence Street from 2016 to summer 2018. See here for more information: Jhula Yoga website

Jon completed a PhD in composition at the University of York in 2015.  At present, alongside a busy freelance composition career, he is working on Soundtracks, a postdoctoral research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and run in partnership with the British Library Sound Archive.

Jon performing with The Shoreline Singers, Kynance Cove, Cornwall 2016

Soundtracks is a cross-disciplinary project involving both the Archaeology and Music departments at the University of York, concerned with using sound to explore the biography of landscape.  Jon is also a qualified yoga teacher, having completed a Yoga Alliance 200hr teacher training program in Rishikesh, India in 2014.

You can find more information about Jon and his work on his website: Jon’s website

The Natural Voice Practitioners Network

Jon is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, an organisation that promotes community choirs and community based approaches to singing and using the voice. A quote from their website will give you an idea of what they stand for:

“We are a network of people who work with voice and song, and who believe that singing is everyone’s birthright, regardless of musical experience or ability.”

You can find their website here: Natural Voice Practitioners Network website