The King’s Singers, under the umbrella of their charity, The King’s Singers Global Foundation, are delighted to announce a new outreach programme with three UK-based charitable organisations - Soundabout, The Prison Choir Project and Together Productions. These three charities will become ‘Ambassadors’ for the group’s all-encompassing new mission, Finding Harmony, which aims to demonstrate how music brings people together all over the world.
The Ambassadors, each of which will each receive a donation from The King’s Singers Global Foundation, will also take part in workshops with the group, culminating in a celebratory Finding Harmony concert and party in London on Friday, 29 May 2020.
Commenting on the Ambassadors, The King’s Singers said: “Finding Harmony is a mission close to our hearts. We are aiming to show how singing brings people together, as it has done for thousands of years, at times of discourse and celebration, in war and in love. The work of our chosen Ambassadors mirrors the spirit of Finding Harmony, by finding ways to improve lives and bring people together, so the partnerships are a really exciting opportunity for us to get involved and make a difference to people’s lives in our own small way.”
The King’s Singers ‘Finding Harmony Ambassadors’ cover a broad and extraordinary range of initiatives as follows:
Soundabout is a charity that uses music to empower and unlock the potential of people with severe and profound learning disabilities. Their multi-sensory music-making techniques help to stimulate communication, learning and self-expression, enabling people who may be unable to hold an instrument or speak to make their own unique contribution;
The Prison Choir Project aims to help rehabilitate prisoners by improving mental, physical and social wellbeing through music. Through music — particularly singing — they aim to provide a pathway towards a reduction in reoffending, and an improvement in confidence and employability for inmates;
Together Productions runs several projects which all aim to bring together disparate communities in the shared language of singing. Their community choir, ‘The Mixed Up Chorus’, brings together people of different faiths, ages, and backgrounds for regular rehearsals and performances. Their project ‘Singing Our Lives’ is an initiative which supports migrants and refugees to share their life experiences by writing songs.
The Prison Choir Project is thrilled to announce the appointment of two Trustees to the board - Dr Michael Little and Robin Cooke-Hurle. For 30 years Michael Little led a group of scientists finding new ways to improve child well-being. In 2017, he left to establish Ratio, a decade long exploration of how relationships bear on human health and development. Michael participated in the staging of Carmen at Dartmoor Prison in 2017, and has joined the Prison Choir Project to find novel ways to learn about the impact of our work; on inmate performers, inmates looking on, staff and visitors coming to see each performance. If you think you know how to capture the evidence, or fund this part of our work, get in touch.
Robin Cooke-Hurle has had nearly 50 year’s experience as a professional manager, covering large companies, a software company which started in the cellar of his house and became the largest supplier of taxation software in the country, venture capital start ups and non for profit organisations. He is also Chairman of the Chole Mjini Trust Fund, a small charity supporting the community on Chole Island in Tanzania. His interest in music stems from his wife, a professional international soprano until she retired. Robin hopes to contribute administrative skills to the PCP and also develop a strategy to offer participants in PCP productions continuing support after the performances.
Very pleased to have been given the opportunity to talk about music and rehabilitation in a workshop for senior leaders from the prison sector at Newbold Revel. Who would have thought that so many Governors have fine voices. Have a listen below to their rendition of Fix You by Coldplay, accompanied by Maria on the chapel organ!! Many congratulations all - perhaps Chris Martin could hire you all for the next Coldplay tour..........?
"no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” Nelson Mandela
A huge thank you to all those that attended the Prison Choir Project Fundraiser in Soho last week and helped make it such a success. In particular to Pete Lewis, former Governor of HMP Dartmoor, to Charles Courtenay, the professional singers and soloists Alex Edwards and Jenny Stafford, to Sam Galsworthy for providing Sipsmith gin for all, and especially to the men we've got to know through our work over the past few years.
“Nobody has a life that worked out the way they wanted it to work out. The role of a good song is to share that feeling so that “we feel less isolated and we feel part of the great human chain which is really involved with the recognition of defeat”. For Leonard Cohen, defeat was the truth of things; the source of all the best jokes; the reason to make art; the crack where the light gets in.
Very pleased to feature on St John’s College, Cambridge | Alumni blog and to have the opportunity to chat about the Prison Choir Project.
HUGE congratulations to ALL those involved in the Prison Choir Project's West Side Story in HMP Dartmoor. You are now recipients of the Koestler PLATINUM Award, their highest accolade. Awards Judges included leading names in the arts and creative industries including Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, representatives from the Henry Moore Institute, the Roundhouse, Art on the Underground, radio drama The Archers and the British Film Institute, filmmaker-presenter Reggie Yates, comedian Cariad Lloyd, celebrity hairstylist Louise Galvin and musicians Hot Chip.
Each and every one of you deserve credit for this remarkable achievement.
Take back your mink! Tanya Shields makes her Dartmoor debut in the all American classic as the long-suffering Miss Adelaide. She is joined by Matthew Harvey as Sky Masterson and Lottie Clitherow as the straight-laced Salvation Army sergeant, Sarah Brown.
A sizzling New York tale of gamblers, gangsters and nightclub singers featuring some of Broadway’s greatest show stopping tunes, including Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat and My Time of Day. With tip-top choreography by Sara Hamilton, and direction from the Royal Opera House's Joe Austin, this is one feel good show you won’t want to miss. A superb professional cast will join 20 enthusiastic inmates in what promises to be a tremendous production for all involved.
Performances for the public take place on May 22nd/23rd at 2pm in the Prison Chapel.
TICKETS: for details on how to obtain a ticket please contact email@example.com
Thrilled to announce the Prison Choir Project has won a Koestler Trust GOLD Award for Carmen in Dartmoor Prison. A huge thanks to the Governor and Staff, to the professional cast, director, musicians and crew and especially to the inmates, who made it all so worth while.
A bit about the Koestler Trust:
The Koestler Awards are the heart of what we do. Each year we award and give feedback to over 3,000 people submitting work across 50+ categories of Fine Art, Craft and Design,Performance and Audio, Film and Animation and Writing. Our Awards Judges include leading names in the arts and creative industries.
Every participant will receive a participation certificate, and around 90% will receive written feedback on their work from the category’s judge, the Koestler Arts Team or a volunteer.
Our entrants tell us that feedback is one of the most rewarding things about entering the Awards.
Feedback from experienced artists/writers is very valuable because it’s genuine, practical and focused. It’s not sugar-coated or a platitude. In many ways it’s the best thing about the scheme.
Koestler Awards EntrantWe give over £30,000 in cash prizes, ranging from £20 to £100. There are additional Koestler Awards for first-time entrants.
By entering the Koestler Awards entrants can gain recognition for their achievements, get feedback on how to develop their creative work and gain motivation to work to a deadline. Many entrants use Awards or sales money to buy further arts materials or pay for courses.
A heartfelt thanks to all involved in this summer's production of West Side Story in Dartmoor Prison, not least the 18 inmates who gave their all, singing, dancing and playing all the Jets and Sharks. It was truly humbling to watch the development of this project from handing out the parts to the final performance in the prison in early August to a packed house of more than 250 fellow inmates, friends and family of the performers, prison staff and supporters of the Prison Choir Project.
A particular thanks to Bill Hadfield (Officer Krupke no less) who combined this important role with his full-time commitment as a member of Prison Staff, to the Governor Bridie Oakes-Richards, to Martin Earl and the Chaplaincy for the use of the Chapel and to all those that came to watch a show. As one audience member (a professional musician) wrote:
Honestly, that experience today was one of my top two ever experiences in music drama in my entire life. Such an incredibly uplifting performance. The pros were absolutely ideal - what a difference it makes having performers at that level: the audience can relax into it and marvel at what's achieved around it. The inmates were stupendous - god alone knows how you got them there to that level in that time, but you bloody did! Heather and I wept from about five minutes in to the very end. I've never seen Heather cry like that! At one point near the end of the first act I didn't know what to do with myself - I thought my heart would burst. The sound and the energy and the positivity in that room were a tidal wave of emotion - it was beyond words.......
A big thank you too to all the professionals that brought such honesty, enthusiasm, talent and good nature to the process. You have made an enormous impact on the lives of so many.
Below a few comments made by the inmates involved. We all miss them and will be back soon to plan the next project:
'I am absolutely overawed at how happy I was for signing up. In the 15 years I've spent behind bars this is one project I would do again and again.'
It has taken me right out of my comfort zone and I have enjoyed every minute.'
'Please hire me when I get out.'