RiverVoice Choir Christmas Concert

Christmas Concert (2)

An enchanting beginning to the festive season with community choir …

River Voice Community Choir is taking on a new challenge for its Christmas Concert this year. The performance is a big step change for the choir in that, apart from the congregational hymns, every piece will be performed a cappella – there will be no musical accompaniment.

Many choirs shrink from singing without accompaniment as it can leave singers feeling very vulnerable and subject to pitching problems. Additional funding received this term from the Red Nose Foundation enabled the choir to have extra rehearsal sessions, which supported members in the development of stronger aural and vocal skills across the group.

The choir aim to make music accessible to everyone and have a number of visually impaired members who take an active role in the group, including Choir Chair, Claire J Frewin, who explains: “We learn orally if we can’t access the score, as we are still able to hear what’s written. It’s actually a very quick way of learning as it’s relative straight away. I do try and look at the music when I can, but my head will be down using my magnifier and it’s much better for your posture to be standing upright and singing out. So automatically it’s better for learning, speed of learning, for posture and projection.”

Fellow visually impaired choir member, Michelle Bunce added: “I wasn’t sure choir singing would be my thing, but I’ve learnt so much, it’s been amazing, I didn’t go to the first rehearsal with many expectations and I can’t explain why it gripped me; a combination I think, of the people and the passion, and the interaction. Tania makes the difficult things easy, almost, dare I say it. Although we look at it and think, yeah, that’s really hard, she encourages you to have a go. She’s given me a lot more confidence in singing – she sorted out my breathing. I had no idea how to breath or anything. I love the camaraderie; we have so much fun doing it and it makes the learning easy. I can feel how I’ve improved my singing and my confidence generally.”

Musical Director, Tania Holland, says:The idea for a choir that would cater for people with and without visual impairment emerged following a large scale community opera project called Element Beyond Gravity.

“This was a new work devised specifically in response to Chatham Historic Dockyard and which brought together singers from across North Kent including a number of people with low or no vision.

“At the end of this project it was clear that many people taking part were keen to continue to make music together. So I applied to Medway Council for a small grant to trial a new singing group that would be accessible to all adults, regardless of ability to read music, and out of this short project a small group of singers went on to form the nucleus of the choir and to themselves lead the group into its current not-for-profit community group status.”

The concert will take place on Saturday, December 5 at 3.30pm in the St.George’s Centre, Dock Road, Chatham. Entry is free, although donations to help sustain the choir would be welcome – there will also be a raffle and refreshments.

 

For more information, please contact either Claire on 07890 705698 / email cjfrewin@gmail.com or Tamara on 07919 134154 / email t.s.gummer2@hotmail.co.uk.

Community group’s third annual festival keeps it live and local

Rochester Literature Festival

The Rochester Literature Festival is back for a third year bringing readers, writers and like minds together.

Featuring a sense of people and places, this year’s Rochester Literature Festival ‘Live’n’Local’ will mix writings inspired by the urban and rural places of Kent, along with its cultural heritage.

On Saturday, the festival will be based at The Guildhall Museum in Rochester High Street for a selection of talks with an historic theme, while the popular Cafe Crawl will take place in various cafes.

On Sunday, a lovely and eclectic selection of authors will delight you with their stories in the gallery space at the wonderful Sun Pier House in Chatham.

Bookmark’d will be back in a slightly different format, and an artist will be on hand to capture the event as well as inspire you to do the same.

The ever-brilliant Sam Hall of 17% brings her new play, My Mind is Free, produced by Rah Rah Theatre, to the festival on Sunday evening at the Nucleus Arts Centre in Chatham, continuing the wonderful ‘Night at the Theatre’ events enjoyed in the previous two festivals.

As part of the BBC Get Creative Campaign, the RLF is also running 4 themed workshops.

The workshops on Saturday at the Guildhall Museum feature The History Magpie, Rachael Hale, who – inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts – will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told. Festival partner Sam Hall, with fellow playwright and BBC Prize winner Sarah Hehir, will teach you how to use news stories to inspire your own writing, leading the creative writing workshop Safe and Sound which is linked to the Sunday evening play, My Mind is Free, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK (over 14s).

On Sunday at Sun Pier House, Nature Girl, Carol Donaldson will be taking participants out to explore the local environment before committing their discoveries to paper, while Melanie Benn will help you in Unlocking your Memories with discussion and thoughtful writing exercises, encouraging you to think about writing from personal experiences.

Festival Director Jaye Nolan says: “We’re excited to be part of the BBC’s Get Creative Campaign this year, and pleased to be able to offer such a wide variety of workshops for both aspiring and experienced writers in the community. Whether you’re into history, the environment, memoir or playwriting, we’ve got something for you.”

Both the Guildhall Museum and Sun Pier House Gallery Cafe remain open to the public as usual with free entry. There is a small fee for the workshops (children free) and play to cover costs. The RLF is a voluntary, non profit organisation and donations will be gratefully accepted to help secure future festivals.

The programme of events is as follows:

Saturday 10 October Guildhall Museum

Workshops

10am – The History Magpie led by Rachael Hale

Inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts, Rachael will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told.

1pm – Safe and Sound led by Sam Hall and Sarah Hehir

Learn how to use news stories to inspire your own writing! Sam and Sarah will lead a creative writing workshop linked with the Sunday evening play, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK. (Over 14s)

Speakers

12 noon-1pm Toni Mount

Prolific medieval specialist Toni will be unravelling the mysteries of ancient medicine – when butchers knew more about anatomy than university trained physicians!

2-3pm Truda Thurai

Referencing short stories inspired by Rochester Cathedral and her own methods of research, Truda will share some of her secrets to writing historical fiction.

4-5pm Sir Robert Worcester

The inspiration for our history themed day, the Magna Carta is widely regarded as a potent symbol of the freedom of the individual. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of its sealing at Runnymede and we’re delighted that Sir Robert, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, is joining us to discuss its legacy.

Cafe Crawl, featuring Pop Up Performers: 11am-12noon, 1-2pm, 3-4pm at Cafe@172, Bruno’s Bakes and The Quills.

Sunday 11 October Sun Pier House

Workshops

10am-12noon Nature Girl led by Carol Donaldson

Be prepared for any weather as Carol leads you out of the building to connect with – and take inspiration from – your surroundings, before heading back to commit your discoveries to paper.

1-3pm Unlocking Your Memories led by Melanie Benn

Whether you’re retired or just setting out of life’s journey, don’t be shy – come along and unpick the story you want to tell, as Melanie leads you through learning to write from your own experience.

Speakers

11.30 Jane Lythell

Formerly in situ at the BFI and BAFTA and a TV producer for many years, film fan Jane has made a stunning switch to writing thrillers. Consider yourself dared to join in!

12.45 Bill Lewis

The internationally renowned award winning poet, author and visual artist talks about his life, influences, travels, reading and writing. He will also read a selection of new and old writing.

2pm Maggie Harris

A welcome return to Medway for Maggie, sharing her evocative, fascinating stories and poems about life at home and abroad.

3.15 Cultural Contributors Discussion Panel led by Roy Smith (Seasonally Effected) and featuring Lisa Vigour (Inspirational Nights) and Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall (Roundabout Nights) in a discussion about the vibrant cultural open mic scene prevalent in Medway, and the opportunities it gives to aspiring performers.

4.30pm Michael Nath

Follow a magical pursuit for the essence of literary character in the company of a latter day Falstaff, as Michael discusses his latest book, British Story.

Throughout the day at Sun Pier we also have a lovely artist, Julie Bradshaw, with us to inspire you to respond to the festival visually and in writing – stand still too long and you’ll be captured forever!

And – for your ears only – Bookmark’d is an opportunity to get up close and personal with local publishers and authors, to hear snippets of, and discuss, their work. Features Urbane Publications, Wordsmithery, David Griffin, Medway Mermaids and Paul Breen.

Sunday 11/10 Nucleus Arts Centre: A Night at the Theatre

7pm My Mind is Free. The new play is inspired by the stories of people who have fallen into modern day slavery and is an all too poignant reminder of how people traffickers can take advantage of the current refugee situation. The play is funded by the Arts Council and the Kent Commissioners Fund.

 

You can keep up to date with the festival on Twitter @RochLitFest, find them on Facebook or call 07904 643770.  The full programme can be found on the RLF website at www.rochesterlitfest.com, where tickets can be booked for the play and workshops. Brochures can also be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester, the venues and various libraries.

Community choir looks forward to new term

7-12-13-2MD Tnaia Holland-Williams

A new term begins on Saturday, September 26 for The River Voice Community Choir, with members looking forward to helping more people improve their musical skills by learning to sing.

There is no audition and no requirement to read music, simply come along to a session and see if you like it. The choir aim to make music accessible to everyone and have a number of visually impaired members who take an active role in the group.

Rehearsals take place at St. Stephen’s Church in Maidstone Road, Chatham, every other Saturday from September 26 (10am-12noon), and every other Thursday from October 1 (6.30-8.30pm). The first session you attend is entirely free so you can try-before-you-buy and make sure it’s right for you.

With two workshops also scheduled (24/10 and 28/11), new members are welcome to come along and prepare for the Christmas Concert taking place on Saturday, December 5 at the St. George’s Centre in Chatham..

Claire J. Frewin, River Voice Chair, says: “We’re delighted to offer this wonderful opportunity to people throughout Kent, and beyond, to learn these skills with us. There really are no barriers to participating so come along and give it a go.”

River Voice was launched in 2013 following a short programme of vocal workshop sessions initiated by professional Musical Director, Tania Holland Williams, for participants with visual impairment. River Voice has since grown and includes adults of all abilities, whether sighted or visually impaired.

For more information, please contact either Claire on 07890 705698 / email cjfrewin@gmail.com or Tamara on 07919 134154 / email t.s.gummer2@hotmail.co.uk.

Get Creative – Get Writing

Supporting GetCreative pink (4)

The Rochester Litfest (RLF) is to host 4 themed writing workshops during their 2015 festival, Live’n’Local, as part of Get Creative – a year-long celebration of British arts, culture and creativity.

Get Creative aims to boost creativity in the UK, as well as celebrating the millions of people already doing something artistic and creative everyday. The campaign was launched 19 February 2015, by BBC Arts in partnership with cultural movement What Next? and leading arts and cultural organisations across the country, including Culture at King’s, Voluntary Arts, 64 Million Artists, Fun Palaces, Cultural Learning Alliance and Arts Council England

The RLF is joining hundreds of organisations nationwide in becoming a Get Creative Champion.

This year’s festival will run across the weekend 10/11 October and features a sense of people and place, mixing workshops and talks inspired by landscape and cultural heritage.

A history themed day takes place at the Guildhall Museum on Saturday, October 11, with 2 workshops and three speakers, including Keynote Speaker, Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Commemoration Committee, while at Sun Pier House on Sunday the 11th, speakers include local legend Bill Lewis, a panel discussion featuring some of Medway’s cultural contributors, and 2 more workshops.

The workshops on Saturday at the Guildhall Museum feature The History Magpie, Rachael Hale, who – inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts – will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told. Festival partner Sam Hall will teach you how to use news stories to inspire your own writing, leading the creative writing workshop Safe and Sound which is linked to the Sunday evening play, My Mind is Free, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK (over 14s).

On Sunday at Sun Pier House, Nature Girl, Carol Donaldson will be taking participants out to explore the local environment before committing their discoveries to paper, while Melanie Benn will help you in Unlocking your Memories with discussion and thoughtful writing exercises, encouraging you think about writing from personal experiences.

Festival Director Jaye Nolan says: “We’re excited to be part of the BBC’s Get Creative Campaign this year, and pleased to be able to offer such a wide variety of workshops for both aspiring and experienced writers in the community. Whether you’re into history, the environment, memoir or playwriting, we’ve got something for you.”

You can keep up to date with the festival on Twitter @RochLitFest or find them on Facebook.  The full programme can be found on the RLF website at www.rochesterlitfest.com or call 07904 643770.

Get Creative will also have its digital home on BBC Arts online and through the use of #bbcgetcreative on social media sites.

Free creative workshops for young people in Swale

6 Ways To Wellbeing Swale Young people

Ideas Test has been out and about over the last few months promoting their Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale project.   They’re offering an exciting programme of workshops for young people 13-19 (25 SEN) in Swale aiming to improve their sense of wellbeing through film, dance, drama, writing and creative technology.  Working with some of the most exciting arts organisations in Kent and beyond, it’s a great range of opportunities – have a look at the list below for details.

A crowd-sourced ‘wellbeing poem’ has been launched with Dan Simpson, who’s one of the workshop leaders. Get involved on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem or email hello@dansimpsonpoet.co.uk. The result will be broadcast during a final performance at The Avenue Theatre in Sittingbourne on December 6, which will showcase what participants have done during this project.

  • Join Codasign to make an interactive phone cover which lights up when your phone rings or to create an interactive installation.
  • Explore elements of dance and develop your dance and physical theatre skills with The Jasmin Vardimon Company.
  • The Rochester LitFest offers you the chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word – writing and performing – and learn about digital storytelling using social media.
  • Want to write, direct, act or design a TV series? These fun, exciting and hands on sessions with Viola Films will give you the chance to learn some basic film making skills and create a new Six Part Webseries.
  • Your ideas performed from scratch – Wide Eyed Theatre will help you create a story of people, place and events that make you happy!

To find out more about each workshop, visit the Six Ways To Wellbeing page at www.ideastest.co.uk, email Cassy@creativepeopleplace.info or call 07713 865955.

The Six Ways to Wellbeing are:

  • Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
  • Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
  • Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
  • Keep learning – try something new
  • Give – doing something for others
  • Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability

Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at www.liveitwell.co.uk

The project is jointly funded by Kent County Council, Artswork and Royal Opera House Bridge.

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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: Rochester Literature Festival 2014

September 25th – October 5th 2014

The Rochester Literature Festival is proud to present its second annual festival, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know.

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We’re delighted to be opening this year with an hilarious and heart-warming one woman show with actress Sunny Ormonde – the outrageous Lilian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, the world’s longest running soap.

Over the course of the next ten days, we’ll be joined by as-seen-on-tv-off-his-trolley comic genius Phil Kay, master of freeform performance and storytelling, and notorious Australian, Trenton Oldfield – who served six months at her Majesty’s Pleasure for disrupting the 2012 Boat Race in a protest against elitism.

We will be hosting two wonderful authors who’ll fascinate you with insights and anecdotes from their latest books: Angela Buckley introduces us to The Real Sherlock Holmes – Detective Jerome Caminada, whose methodologies mimicked Conan Doyle’s genius, and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, who will discuss the impact of reality on fiction. While No One Was Watching is set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the abduction of a young girl from the grassy knoll on that fateful day.

For families to enjoy together, we have Assassin, featuring the fantastic Joe Craig reading extracts from his Jimmy Coates series – part boy, part weapon, totally deadly – which will be interpreted with music by Alice composer, Jacob Bride, and exciting young street dance group CYC. Awesome Keeper of the Realms trilogy author, Marcus Alexander, who is Charlie’s Keeper, will entertain and inspire you with his delightfully wicked fantasy adventure series – get your read on!

Our interactive story game this year is Murder in the Crypt and will feature some of your favourite detectives. In addition, we’re holding a Cafe Crawl, where you can sample music, poetry, storytelling and more, in the company of, amongst others, former Canterbury Laureate Dan Simpson. Bookmark’d is a chance to buy books, swap books or just listen to books, read aloud by their authors.

Our Night at the Theatre will this year be held in conjunction with Chatham Grammar School for Boys and be presented by award winning 17% playwrights, Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sarah Hehir and Maggie Drury. The Spirit of My Dream is inspired by Byron’s poem The Dream and features new plays with a somewhat fantastical theme.

An exhibition curated by ME4Writers especially for the festival, An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics, has channelled Byron to produce work inspiring madness, badness and dangerousness in the hearts of artists. A live reading will bring the visual carnage to life!

Byron’s Teapot will be our finale – a mad mix of the unusual and quirky, featuring The James Worse Public Address Method, JP Lovecraft, Dylan Oscar Rowe and Brides of Rain.

Tickets are available here.

We look forward to welcoming you to our exciting – and only slightly scary – second full length festival!

To read full details, download a copy the 2014 programme and buy tickets, please visit rochesterlitfest.com.

If you have any enquiries regarding any of the events or festival in general, please email rochesterlitfest@gmail.com or telephone 07904 643770.

The Rochester Literature Festival (RLF) was formed in May 2011 as an information sharer, and held its inaugural event, The Garden Poetry Party in July 2012.

The first main festival, Other Worlds, Other Voices took place in October 2013.

The RLF is a voluntary group and currently receives no public funding, relying solely on the generosity of its performers, audiences, personal donations and in kind help.

The Programme Details

An Evening with Sunny Ormonde

Thursday, 25th September, 7pm – 10pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

£10

Café Crawl

Saturday, 27th September, 1pm-5pm

La Toretta, Tiny Tims, Café 172 (Dot Café), Bruno’s Bakes. Rochester High Street

Free

The Queen versus Trenton Oldfield: A Prison Diary

Saturday, 27th September, 7pm – 10pm

Sun Pier House, Chatham

£6

Bookmark’d

Sunday, 28th September, 12noon – 4pm

Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Free

Marcus Alexander: Who is Charlie’s Keeper?

Sunday, 28th September, 2pm – 3.30pm

Woodlands Academy, Gillingham

£3

The Real Sherlock Holmes: Angela Buckley

Monday, 29th September, 6.30pm – 9pm

Café 172 (Dot Café), Rochester

£4.00

While No-one Was Watching: Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

Wednesday, 1st October, 6.30pm – 9pm

Café Nucleus, Chatham

£4

An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics Live

Thursday, 2nd October, 7.30pm

Rochester Library

Free

Exhibition: Friday 26/9 to Saturday 25/10 Free, normal opening hours.

Phil Kay: Wholly Viable

Friday, 3rd October, 8.00pm – 11.30pm (includes support)

The Billabong Club, Rochester

£7

Murder in the Crypt

Saturday, 4th October, 10am – 4pm

Bishopscourt, Rochester

Ticket price £3

A Night at the Theatre: The Spirit of my Dream

Saturday, 4th October, 7pm – 10pm

Chatham Grammar School for Boys

£5

Assassin

Sunday, 5th October, 2pm -5pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

Tickets from £3. Family tickets available.

Byron’s Teapot

Sunday, 5th October, 7.30pm – 11pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

£5

An invitation to event volunteer training

Would you like to volunteer at community art events but not sure what it might entail? If so, Ideas Test would like to invite you to a free volunteer training opportunity to help you help them find out more about the people coming along to their arts events.

Ask the audience

It will take place at Swale CVS in Central Avenue, Sittingbourne on Monday, July 14th from 5.30pm – 7.30pm. Ages from 14 upwards are welcome and expenses will be covered.

For all activities, particularly publicly funded art ones, knowing who comes to events and takes part in activities is crucial to making sure we involve the whole community, and important for feeding back to funders and sponsors.

The session will be run by The Audience Agency, specialists in training fieldworkers – especially volunteers attached to projects – to get the most useful feedback from audiences and participants. This session will look at asking people the right questions, in a variety of ways, from surveys to vox pops. We hope this will provide an opportunity for people in the local community to volunteer and to learn useful new skills.

If you’d like to take part, download and complete the application form and email it to: contact@creativepeopleplace.info to reserve your place.

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Free funding workshop for music and family arts

Dulcie Alexander and Kevin Grist, Relationship Managers for the Arts Council, will be presenting a free workshop and funding surgery on Tuesday, June 24th at the Brook Theatre, Chatham.

Fam arts

You’re invited to meet them and find out more about Grants for the Arts funding and how to apply, in this music focused session.

It’s a Creative Network event held jointly with Ideas Test, who will also be on hand to discuss applications for the special Family Arts callout they’ve recently instigated. This is an opportunity to apply for a Small Experiment grant to generate high quality, innovative family friendly activities during the national Family Arts Festival, which runs from October 17th to November 2nd. More information can be found at www.ideastest.co.uk  Deadline for applications is Monday, July 7th.

To book your place, please email karen.miller@artscouncil.org.uk. The session will run from 1pm – 4pm.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to ask all those burning questions and de-mystify the process of obtaining arts funding.

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The Word Play Wagon lights the Fuse in Walderslade

Jaye Nolan, Festival Director of the Rochester Literature Festival, has been selected by the Kent Baton to open their Sparks Fuse Festival project, One Day Works.

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Jaye’s short term residence in the Baton – a vintage silver airstream caravan converted to a mobile art centre – is on Wednesday, June 4th from 11am – 6pm. It will be located outside Permark Post Office in Walderslade Village and its activities will be suitable for all ages and all abilities. No previous experience is needed, just turn up and play around with some words.

The overall title, The Word Play Wagon, reflects the diverse creative writing activities planned, including:

  • Turn over a new leaf: Add a poem, wish or favourite saying to a luggage label leaf you create and hang it on a Poetree.
  •  A Novel Experience: Bring your favourite book and write an original short piece based on its premise.
  • Hint: Writing micro fiction from as little as 10 words
  • Spoofing Medway: Write the local news as it didn’t happen
  • Mystery Collective Poems: Add a line to the one before – it’ll be the only one you can see!
  •  If and Then: A question and answer session with a difference.

With the Rochester LitFest aiming to make literature accessible to more people, Jaye is delighted to be running a free one day workshop dedicated to creative writing, saying: “I’m really looking forward to engaging lots of people in writing activities, and encouraging them to find their voices. Who knows, I might find the next generation of Medway poets!”

One Day Works will host a series of one day experiments throughout Medway during the Fuse Festival and its build up. From urban high streets to country villages, the project will showcase ten of Medway’s finest creative talents across a range of art forms. Along with the The Word Play Wagon, the works include an epic poem, sculptures made from found objects, archival collections, insect inspired costumes, drawings made from thread, an acoustic live music gig and a magic lantern performance. All activities are free.

www.jayenolan.com

The Travelling Talesman pitching in Rochester

The Rochester Literature Festival will play host to the Travelling Talesman at the Good Intent, John Street, Rochester on Friday, May 9th.

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The Travelling Talesman has toured the country from Penzance to York, for feasts, festivals and fun since the early nineties.

You might guess from his name that The Travelling Talesman is a storyteller who enjoys taking his stories to new places. With twenty years experience telling myths, legends and folktales, last year he was nominated for “Outstanding Male” in the British Awards For Storytelling Excellence.

Expect a fun evening of gripping yarns as The Talesman recounts stories of Norse Gods, Celtic mysteries, clever girls and Dragon Slayers, medieval mayhem, giants, goblins and Halloween horrors. Originally specialising in Northern European tales, his stories are now drawn from all over the world.

Entry is free and doors open at 7pm. However, donations to cover costs would be welcomed and can be made via the Eventbrite page here.

To find out more about the Travelling Talesman, please visit his website here.

For information on other Rochester Literature Festival events, including their 2014 festival ‘Mad Bad & Dangerous to Know’ please visit www.rochesterlitfest.com or call 07904 643770.