Past Performances


Street Choirs Festival, Sheffield

Fri, 7 Jun 2024 to Sun, 9 Jun 2024
Here are photos of the choir performing in the centre of Sheffield and a photo of the Massed Sing in the Peace Gardens.
Thanks to Mark Aherne for photos 1-6 and 8; Helen Patrick for photo 7 and Jackie Crookes for photo 9.


Chorlton Arts Festival, St Ninian's

Fri, 17 May 2024
Who in the world is listening?

We always enjoy performing at the Chorlton Arts Festival and this year we had the evening to ourselves. Billed as ‘An Evening with Manchester Community Choir’, we performed for an hour which included some audience participation. 

We had over 50 people listening, engaged and singing with us on the upbeat song, Great Day, thanks to Rose Hodgson our talented choir director. Two of our songs, in particular, stood out for me. Firstly, the Navaho American Indian song, In Beauty May I Walk, arranged by Faith Watson (a founding MD of our choir). This has a lovely beat and repetitive lyrics that give it a meditative timeless quality and a sense that you could sing it on a long walk:‘In beauty may I walk, all day long, may I walk, through the seasons, may I walk, in peace, may I walk’.

The other song that stood out for me was Otis Redding’s glorious The Dock of the Bay. This has a painful melancholic flavour reflected in the lyrics: ‘and this loneliness won’t leave me alone’.  But, and it is a big but, this is a song about resilience, about surviving come what may.

We started with the medieval song Now We Are Met in the round and then sang Chanson that invites to consider ‘Who in the world is singing?’ Next there was Shout written by Tears for Fears in 1984 but still relevant today. We also sang Every Brick You Take from the Wall which again urges resilience and then the beautiful lullaby Laula. Next up was the curious Lighter than Hydrogen which is all about the sun shining which it did for our performance! And the extraordinary song Let the River Run by Carly Simon, one of my favourites, almost hymn like, ‘Let the river run, let the dreamers wake the nation’. Finally, the upbeat Bambelela, a protest song from South Africa, a great way to end with its insistence on ‘Never give up’.

William West (Bass)
 


Groundwork and Stockport Town of Culture Events

Sat, 23 Mar 2024

Come rain or shine our voice is fine

On the way to our 2 performances in Stockport – our first gig of the year - there were gusts of wind, showers of rain and even some hail! OK so the choir would be singing in Suffragette Square under a shelter and on a stage in Merseyway but would we have an audience willing to brave the weather? Well, it takes more than a bit of wind and rain to put people off, especially when we rose to the occasion and sang our hearts out.

It was a good set for the occasion. Let the river run could have been a reality(!) and I stand tall (‘My feet are rooted to the earth like a strong oak tree’) is a good way of dealing with inclement weather! We also sang You’re the voice which encourages us to speak and sing our truth without fear. And Life is too short to merely ‘dream about what we want to do with our life’. In beauty is a gorgeous Navaho chant which reminds us of our connection the planet and to one another.
So come rain or shine our choir will sing and people will gather to hear us!
William West (Bass)

Matt Holker, the Communities Project Lead of Groundwork Greater Manchester, had some kind words to say:
"I just want to extend a massive thank you to the choir for coming out and helping to make the celebration event such a success.  We had a great day, despite the chilly air and the showers.  The presence of the choir had a massive impact, raising awareness of the space, drawing people in and the feedback we got from people and the community was extremely positive – so thank you for being a part of it".


Thanks to John Walton and Peter Topping for the photographs.


Christmas Extravaganza at Manchester Central Library

Sat, 16 Dec 2023
Extravaganza – singing in Central Library

It was great to be singing in Central Library again. This was our last performance before Christmas and one of our best - our Musical Director, Rose Hodgson, said we were amazing!

We invited our audience to Be the Light, which is a wonderful song based on the poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’ by Amanda Gorman which she recited at Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021. This was followed by our version of the Tears for Fears song, Shout, arranged for us by Rose Hodgson. Then we sang the lovely American Navaho Indian chant, In Beauty May I Walk.

In these difficult times it was good to sing Harbour which invites us to welcome refugees, and then the extraordinary Joni Mitchel song, River – also arranged Rose - which is both painful and upbeat as it considers escaping from emotional bonds at Christmas time.  Next we sang our version of the traditional festive song, Past Three A’Clock, followed by This is Home which involved some choreography.

Of course, we had to finish with one of our favourite festive songs, Oley Leyloyla – a reindeer calling song from Finnish Lapland – wearing our antlers and ending with a ‘Whoop’!

William West - Bass

Thanks to our photographer, John Walton


Stockport Fair Trade Christmas Fair

Sat, 18 Nov 2023
We are old friends of the Stockport Fair Trade Annual Christmas Fair. Always an enjoyable event and this year was no exception!
Many thanks to Mick and Larraine Thompson for their organisation, ably assisted by members of the events and publicity team.


Festive Sunday at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Sun, 12 Nov 2023

Singing in the rain

So, we have had Halloween, Bonfire Night, and on Sunday when we sang it was Armistice Day and the start of Diwali. Clearly, it was time for our first festive performance of the year!  After our warm-up rehearsal in Band on the Wall, the choir sang under the canopy outside the Manchester Craft and Design Centre and sheltered from the rain unlike our amazingly enthusiastic, if wet, audience.

We did not really overdo the run up to Christmas unless you include our final Lapland reindeer-calling song Oley  Leyloya and, yes, a few choir members did put on their reindeer antlers! And to capture this time of year we also sang the lovely Past Three A’Clock’ which invites us to hang on until the days get warmer and lighter.

To lift our spirits even further in these challenging times we sang the glorious song Be the Light’ which is based on a gem of poem read by Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021. Joni Mitchell’s song River’ captures the pain that can be there for some of us around Christmas time, but it is a curiously uplifting song.

Despite the wet weather, we had a great time, and the audience enjoyed our beautiful harmonies.  Thanks to the Craft and Design Centre for their hospitality.

William West - Bass


International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen - Performances

Sat, 8 Jul 2023
Thanks to our photographers, John Walton and Peter Topping, for taking some great photos of this event - click on the link below to see the photos.

William’s Blog


I think singing at the International Musical Eisteddfod at Llangollen is my favourite of our regular choir performances. I admit that I have Welsh ancestors and that I have loved hearing Welsh singing voices ever since I first heard them, as a school kid, at an England versus Wales rugby match at Twickenham, too long ago. Hearing Welsh spoken or sung does something to me; I only wish I could have had 5 years of Welsh at school rather than French!

The I M. Eisteddfod was established soon after the Second World War to bring together people from different nations to sing and dance and be peaceful. And arguably we need it more than ever. I had the pleasure of hearing and watching a women’s Welsh choir from Wrexham; a youth club group of Punjabi dancers and musicians; dancers from the Caribbean and an impromptu group in the bar singing ‘Bread of Heaven’ to name a few.

Our choir was in fine voice. Our first set was on the Globe Music Stage and our second on the Amphitheatre stage. The songs we sang had a stronger impact on me than usual. For instance,
Dock of the BaySitting here a-resting my bones, And this loneliness won’t leave me alone. Or Pokarekare Ana, the Maori song True love of mine, return again, My heart is yearning, I miss you so. And then there was Harbour which invites us to welcome refugees. Or I wish I Knew How, which dreams of being all we could be if only…

It was probably(!) a co-incidence but at the end of our final song at the first set – we were finishing the delightful Happy Together – and we were singing ‘How is the weather?’ and there was suddenly a crack of thunder, then lightening and a huge downpour began. Our audience fled and we soon followed them seeking shelter. But the rain did not stop the singing and we moved on to our second set on the Amphitheatre Stage.

We came home tired but with many happy memories and inspired by the culture of the Eisteddfod – listening and watching other people sing and dance and share their exuberance in playful, warm and accepting environment. No wonder we sounded so good!

William West (Bass)


International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen - The Parade

Thu, 6 Jul 2023 to Sun, 9 Jul 2023
 


Street Choirs Festival, Kendal

Fri, 30 Jun 2023 to Sun, 2 Jul 2023
Take a look and listen to these great videos, taken at the SCF in Kendal by Pete Woods.   
 


Busking Be The Light


Busking Let Time Be Your Friend


Mass Sing Harbour



Chorlton Arts Festival

Sat, 20 May 2023
Chorlton Arts Festival, May 2023 - Performing at St Ninian's Church


Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Sun, 14 May 2023

Be the light


Well, this was the first public performance of the choir this year.

We were outside Manchester Craft and Design Centre and facing the makers’ market. We were in fine voice having warmed up at the legendary Band on the Wall venue which many of us have attended over the years.

Our first song was Be the Light which was inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb, at Joe Biden’s inauguration, is self-explanatory, inviting us all to shine.

This was followed by the 1960s soul classic Dock of the Bay which has a huge poignancy underlined by the fact its author and performer Otis Reading died before it was released.

Then I fought back tears as we sang the Maori song Pokarekare Ana which is heart breaking to be fair. Then it was time for the classic South African anti-apartheid song Freedom is Coming and I found myself thinking this is just what Britain needs today – freedom and justice.

Likewise, Harbour, our next song about welcoming refugees, with the final verse reminding us we don’t know when we might need some help.

Then the Hawaiian song E Malama which invites us to treat our planet with true and sacred respect. Next up was the rather tricky but very joyful Let the River Run by Carly Simon. We concluded our performance with the delightful South African song Lilizela.

As Rose, our talented choir director, told the audience at the end of our performance we always welcome new members to our choir. We meet up 3 times a month and sign our hearts out. It’s great fun too.

William West - Bass



Festive Sunday at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Sun, 18 Dec 2022

Choir on the Wall 


It has been a busy run up to Christmas for the choir, finishing our festive season by singing at the Craft and Design Centre in the Northern Quarter. For this gig we did our warm up in Band on the Wall which for many of us was a special moment in a special venue! This season was as busy as any before the pandemic and we sang from our festive repetoire of old favourites and new.

Although festive gig felt different, all expressed our choir’s take on Christmas with songs from our repetoire that celebrate diversity, equality, justice, a welcome to strangers and refugees, and love and peace. And if that sounds a bit serious well we also did our regular Lapland reindeer song complete with whoops, horns and bells!

We began the set by celebrating singing together with the 17th Century round called ‘Now we are met’ and soon followed it up with the delightful The next song resonates with many choir members as it welcomes a new grandchild, wondering ‘Who Will You Be?’ .

Next up was ‘River’ which is a poignant song by Joni Mitchell, arranged by our Choir Director Rose Hodgson. It is a reminder that Christmas is not always any easy time for so many people. It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees/ They’re putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace/ I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

To follow this we sang the powerful ‘Harbour’ written by Anna Tabbush in response to the Ukraine War. The chorus expresses the hope of the welcome refugees should receive, For our door is always open, And our hearth is always warm, When you need a place to shelter, We’re a harbour in the storm. 

Following was the equally powerful ‘Be the Light’, inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The hill we climb' read by the author at  American President, Joe Biden's, inauguration and arranged as this song by Leah Morris

Next, with Christmas fast approaching, we then sang the Lapland reindeer song Oley leloyla complete with bells, reindeer horns and whoops. This is an old favourite of the choir and always raises smiles with the choir and audiences.

This was followed by the Spanish 16th Century nightingale song Riu Riu Chiu that includes the words No more needless war, no more hunger for the poor, Let the world unite, helping one another more.

We then sang the powerful All Around My Spirit which invites to speak our truth, work for peace, and sing our songs until our spirit is free.

Finally we finished our set with the rousing Zulu song from the apartheid era in South Africa– Bambelela, literally translated as 'Hold fast' but interpreted in our lyrics as 'Never give up.'

Once again this was a moving, powerful and enjoyable performance that was well received by our audience and by craft centre staff.

William West - Bass



Christmas Extravaganza at Manchester Central Library

Sat, 10 Dec 2022

Singing in the library?


It has been a busy run up to Christmas for the choir. We sung in the Central Library which always feels a bit of a rule breaker to me!

Although each festive gig felt different.  Here, as at others, we expressed our take on festive songs that celebrate diversity, equality, justice, a welcome to strangers and refugees, and love and peace. And if that sounds a bit serious well we also did our regular Lapland reindeer song complete with whoops, horns and bells!

We began each set with the 17th Century round called ‘Now we are met’ and soon followed it up with the delightful ‘Who Will You Be’ which is a delightful song about grandchildren. Next up was ‘River’ which is a poignant Christmas time song by Joni Mitchell, arranged by our Choir Director Rose Hodgson. It is a reminder that Christmas is not always any easy time for so many people. It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees/ They’re putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace/ I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

Somehow, we then had to sing he powerful song ‘Harbour’ written by Anna Tabbush in response to the Ukraine War. The chorus expresses the hope of the welcome refugees should receive, For our door is always open, And our hearth is always warm, When you need a place to shelter, We’re a harbour in the storm. Next up was the powerful ‘Be the Light’ which was inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The hill we climb read out’ which she performed at Joe Biden inauguration.

Well as Christmas is approaching we then had to do the Lapland reindeer song Oley leloyla complete with bells, reindeer horns and whoops. This was followed by the Spanish 16th Century nightingale song Riu Riu Chiu that includes the words No more needless war, no more hunger for the poor, Let the world unite, helping one another more. We then sang the powerful All Around My Spirit which invites to speak our truth, work for peace, and sing our songs until our spirit is free. Finally we finished our set with the Zulu song from South Africa from the apartheid era – Bambelela that encourages us to stand firm.

This was a moving, powerful, enjoyable and tender performance that was well received by an enthusiastic audience.

William West - Bass



Foodie Friday, Stockport Market

Fri, 25 Nov 2022

Raising voices, raising spirits and raising money!


What a great time we had singing at Stockport's 'Foodie Friday' last night!  Not only did we bring joy to many with our wonderful singing, but we also helped to raise nearly £300 for our local branch of Samaritans. Well done to all our singers and a big 'Thank You' from Samaritans!

Thanks to John Barratt for being such a great host and to John Eaden for the photos.

Mike Gibson - Bass


Stockport Fair Trade Christmas Fair

Sat, 19 Nov 2022

A harbour in the storm?


With so many  of us facing great challenges at this moment in time what impact on one another could a community choir have? Our first gig, in the run up to Christmas, at the Stockport Fair Trade Fare was a chance to find out. Could we lift our spirits and those of our audience?

We began our set with the 17th Century round called ‘Now we are met’ and soon followed it up with the delightful ‘Who Will You Be’ which choir member Helen introduced telling us it was about grandchildren and yes her granddaughter was there is the audience! Sweet child of my child, I know you, Sweet child of my child, who will you be? Then we sang the powerful song Harbour written by Anna Tabbush in response to the Ukraine War. The chorus expresses the hope of the welcome refugees should receive, For our door is always open, And our hearth is always warm, When you need a place to shelter, We’re a harbour in the storm.


We were getting into our set with the next number ‘Be the Light’ which was apparently inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The hill we climb read out’ which she performed at Joe Biden’s inauguration. There is always a light when we are ready to be it, To see the light, to be the light, To raise our eyes in the dark of night, To climb this hill, together we will, Be the light!

Well as Christmas is approaching we then had to do the Lapland reindeer song Oley leloyla complete with bells, reindeer horns and whoops. This was followed by the Spanish 16th Century nightingale song Riu Riu Chiu that includes the words No more needless war, no more hunger for the poor, Let the world unite, helping one another more. We then sang the powerful All Around My Spirit which invites to speak our truth, work for peace, and sing our songs until our spirit is free. Finally we finished with the Zulu song from South Africa from the apartheid era – Bambelela that encourages us to stand firm.

It was a moving, powerful, enjoyable and tender performance that was well received by an enthusiastic audience. But don’t take my word for it check out the photos and videos that are/will be on this site.

William West - Bass
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