Wanted! Singers and Musicians to take part in our Christmas Concert in The Royal Dockyard Church

On Wednesday 14 December, 2016 at 7.30pm the University of Kent Choir and Orchestra (Medway) will be performing Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols as part of the School of Music and Fine Art Christmas Concert in the beautiful Royal Dockyard Church.

We are inviting the local community to join the choir or orchestra and take part in this festive event.  Rehearsals take place on Wednesdays 5pm 7.30pm at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, with the first rehearsal on Wednesday 28 September. (Note: Orchestral players should be Grade 6 standard or higher).  We look forward to hearing from you!

To find out more contact Dr Ben Curry: B.Curry@kent.ac.uk

 

bensflyer

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 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.

The Vision and the Voice: Part 1 by Jane Ayres

Photo by Roger Hyland
Photo by Roger Hyland

If I admire a writer, it will be for two reasons.  Firstly, their vision and the ideas expressed and explored.  I came to sci-fi late in life but I am astonished by, and drawn to, visionaries such as Asimov and Philip K. Dick and their prophecies.  Secondly, I am attracted to elements of style, structure and craft.  Sarah Waters, Lydia Davis, Mark Haddon, Frank Cottrell Boyce are wonderful examples.  You don’t always find vision and execution in the same piece of work but when you do, it is sheer joy.

Most writing courses and manuals will talk about the way a writer has to find their “voice”, and for some writers, I imagine this might be a natural process; instinctive and deeply embedded.

I’ve been writing for nearly 40 years, been regularly published – even had a bestseller – but still don’t feel like I’ve found my voice.  Maybe I never will.  Maybe I don’t have one.  Or maybe I’m afraid to let it loose.

Reading through some of my older work, I can see that my writing style has changed and, hopefully, improved.  But I don’t think I have a style that is distinctly “me.”

When I was in my twenties, I trained for 8 years to be a classical singer, and I enjoyed singing, but never had the dedication to pursue it as a career – nor the talent.  And crippling nerves made performing a struggle.  So I gave up.

Recently, after a twenty year gap, I had a singing lesson again.  I loved it.  Maybe, all these years of different life experiences – pain and joy – will help me to find my voice.

Singers express their art through a physical means, drawn from their breath, their essence, their life force.   They create their own sound, externalised from nothing, from within.  The way a writer creates something from nothing, by plundering the imagination.

A writer has to find that inner voice, that essence, and make it tangible through the choice of words and the patterns they create.  But more than that, a writer must reveal what makes she or he unique as a human being and give it form.

It is a mysterious process, this fusion of vision and voice.  A fluid, reactive journey of discovery – and it requires honesty and guts.

And how we see the world plays a major role, which I will explore in Part 2.

Have you found your voice?

To find out more about Jane’s writing and publishing experiences, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her recent e-book, Beware of the Horse, is available from Amazon.