Community Engagement - About Vocalise!
Since its inception in 2010, our community engagement programme has shared the joy of singing with more than 5,000 primary school children across London. In addition to being a long-term partner of the Tri-borough Music Hub, which serves the London boroughs of Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, since 2018 we have also worked with schools in Tower Hamlets and in 2019 we piloted a new singing project for people living with dementia in a care home in Tower Hamlets too.
The schools programme
Each year we deliver a series of workshops and rehearsals culminating in a public performance at one of London’s leading concert venues, such as Cadogan Hall. The children, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have often had little opportunity to express themselves through singing. We watch them learn and develop through the year, gaining confidence with every session. We encourage parents and guardians to get involved too, offering complimentary tickets to the final performance.
Each workshop is led by a workshop facilitator, with support from a choir leader, accompanist, and a small group of singers, with many of these roles being filled by members of The Bach Choir. We are proud of our workshops for many reasons – they expose the children to choral singing for what may be the first time (especially to male voices, which have been particularly popular), show the children the thrill of singing in harmony and give them the opportunity to listen to a choir singing live.
An important part of Vocalise! is helping the teachers to provide high-quality music education in their schools. We therefore provide all our participating primary school teachers with training that enables them to learn about and practise techniques for leading singing with children. These sessions also serve as a forum for teachers to share best practice and suitable repertoire and vocal exercises. You can read about a previous training day here.
Past schools’ concerts
2018-19: Sounds of Music (PDF)
2016-17: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
2014-15: Mr. Lear, Nonsense and Rhyme
2013-14: Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo
2012-13: The World in Folk Song
2011-12: The Angry Planet
The Bach Choir believes that shared music-making is a powerful way to engage with those living with dementia because it accesses multiple areas of the brain, and there is much scientific research to support singing as a beneficial activity. In March 2019 Vocalise! piloted a short singing project for residents, family members and staff at a care home in Tower Hamlets.
The sessions were relaxed and fun, led by a professional music leader and supported by a professional pianist and singers from the Choir. Together we took part in warm-ups and vocal games, sang familiar popular songs by artists such as Elvis Presley, and learned Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in harmony. The pilot received positive feedback from participants and is due to be expanded into an eight-week project in the near future.
Listen to some excerpts from the 2019 project here:
The Bach Choir is grateful to the following Trusts for their generous support of our work:
The Alchemy Foundation
The Derek Hill Foundation
McLay Dementia Trust
The R K Charitable Trust
Community Engagement Administrator: