19th December 2009 -
We're taking a short break. During that time there will be a committee
meeting to decide on the next part of the project. We will also be
arranging some fundraising activities. If you would like to take part, or
have any ideas, please email me (Blue) at the usual address.
16th December 2009 -
Gave another opportunity for ACC to perform. Filling half the Village Hall
with their presence, the venue was packed to capacity. After the
performance came food and some quite fantastic punch.
14th December 2009 -
Was party night for ACC. Poetry, songs and food! The Crown at Withybed
Green hosted the 'do' and provided some excellent 'pub grub' - their chips
are amazing! Everyone was in fine spirits. Click on the link below to see
a few photos from the night's proceedings. Click on any image for a closer
5th December 2009 - And very busy we have been too...
Update 16th November:
Mr G and Blue attended a day
long seminar entitled 'Inclusion Inspires - Music Making a Difference',
which was hosted at Birmingham Symphony Hall by
Music Leader West
'Music Leader' is an
organization which is dedicated to the professional development of music
leaders. This particular programme discussed ways of working with people
who have some kind of special need. We met some very dedicated individuals
who have devoted much time and energy in finding solutions for people with
disabilities, in order for them to be able to take part in music making activities.
The day began with a keynote
address by Richard Stilgoe, the current Chair of
Music, UK's largest children's music charity.
He was both warm and inspiring. He gave many
examples of working together with those who may need some assistance to
get where they want or need to be. One such tale was of three men, all with special
needs, all institutionalized in the same institution, many, many years
ago. Billy was full of ideas and visions, but no one could understand him
- except Joey, who was the only person who was fully able to converse with
him. But neither could write - which is where Ernie came in! The three
together wrote a book - the three together were an 'author'. I remember
many years ago, watching a film which was based on this very heart warming
anyone remembers the name of the film, I would very much like to hear from
you. Mail me, Blue, at the usual address.)
The whole seminar focussed
much can be achieved by working together as a whole, by including people
of all ages and backgrounds in a combined solution. We all have something
to contribute to that whole.
Update 28th November:
The Christmas Show at
Alvechurch Baptist Church was splendid! Thank you to all the organisers
and all the performers. There was singing and poem reading for the
entertainment of everyone who came along to enjoy themselves. The event
has been memorialized on a CD, for more information please email Blue at the
usual address or speak with Andy Parker on choir night. The CD is priced at £2.
Update 1st December:
On 30th November, ACC had
the privilege of meeting and working with Stefan, a pupil from Pitcheroak
School. Stefan took the lead in singing "Angels", a 'call and response'
carol composed and written by our very own Mike Genders. This was then
performed by ACC, Pitcheroak School Choir and pupils from Kingsley College
as part of their performance at the Mencap Christmas Carol Service in
Worcester Cathedral. Around sixty members of ACC were in attendance - the
stage was packed! Canon Hazel Hughes, the Bishop and Alan Smith all
thanked Mike Genders on his way out of the Cathedral, as did a number of
staff from other schools and some other people who Mike didn't know!
We are eager to build more
links between ACC and Pitcheroak School Choir. The shared singing brings
great benefits to everyone who takes part and gives a huge message to the
audience of our enthusiasm and willingness not only to sing, but to be
able to embrace any level of singing ability into the choir.
Update 5th December:
On a more sombre note, a
contingent from ACC (almost half of the choir) performed at a very
special remembrance event for bereaved parents.
the choir sang two songs in Birmingham Cathedral to an audience of around
250 bereaved parents. It was a poignant and deeply moving occasion, vastly
different to any venue we have previously performed at. The response from
the staff and attendees was one of warmth and gratitude. They were very
touched that ACC had
taken time out of their busy schedules to come and share with them on
their special day.
My own personal
thanks to everyone who came along, I am very
proud of you!
Our next scheduled events
14th December 2009
(Christmas Party - usual pub venue)
16th December 2009
(Alvechurch Village Hall - more on this later)
12th November 2009 - a renewed engagements list for you all. Some
details appear under the 5th November log entry and more will follow.
28th November 2009 (Alve
Baptist Church - Christmas Show)
1st December 2009 (Worcs
Cathedral - Mencap Concert)
5th December 2009 (B'Ham
Cathedral - Edward's Trust)
14th December 2009
(Christmas Party - usual pub venue)
16th December 2009
(Alvechurch Village Hall)
Please ensure Blue knows
which events you are attending as we need to keep track of the numbers. In
her absence, speak with Mary or Holly, who will be holding the fort and
the clip board.
The coach for Mencap is
currently full, with a reserve list of 3. If you have booked a place and
since changed your mind, please inform Blue ASAP.
We are now in the process of
forming a separate working group for ACC and creating a new bank account
to hold their funds. We have always felt giving the choir independence
from the ELS project would be advantageous. It will allow more people to
have a say in what we do and will ease the burden on those already taking
the lead. We'll let you know as soon as the new team is formulated.
A reminder that our next
choir meeting is:
Monday November 16th 2009
Time: 7:30 - 9:30pm
The Crown, Withybed
(no subs or mug
11th November 2009 - Mr. G and Blue accompanied Pitcheroak School
choir and staff, to a very special venue on November 8th. The choir had
been invited, for the second year running, to perform at a Remembrance
Service held by
Edward's Trust. This particular service was for bereaved children to
come together and remember someone special to them who has died.
More than 220 were in attendance as poems and songs were presented to mark
those very special memories. Pitcheroak School Choir ended the service by
very fittingly singing "You've Got a Friend".
It is at times when we feel at our lowest, that we so need to know that
people are around us, supporting us.
5th November 2009 - and with fireworks as my background beat, here
are some updates for you:
Christmas and the events calendar is filling up!!
ACC has been invited along
with members of Pitcheroak School Choir and students from Kingsley College
to sing at the Mencap Christmas Concert in Worcester Cathedral, on Tuesday
1st December 2009.
For ACC members: A 57
seater coach will be organized to pick choir members up at 6:00pm from
somewhere in Alvechurch and drop them back at approximately 9:30pm (exact
place to be determined - watch this space or keep checking your emails!).
So far 48 seats have been allocated, if you wish to reserve your seat
please email me (Blue) ASAP at the usual
address or any other email
address you may have for me :))))
You should wear something
smart - not smart casual. The colour is unimportant. Ties for the gents
ACC has also been invited to
perform at Alvechurch Baptist Church on Saturday, November 28th. Details
to follow. We are the 'main attraction', so the more the merrier.
Crown Meadow First School
would like to link up with ACC and Pitcheroak School for some combined
singing. The emphasis here is on 'community cohesion'. Watch out for more
details as they unfold.
ACC CHRISTMAS PARTY
What is this doing in fourth
place ???? We now have our Christmas Party organized - yipppeeeee! It will
Monday, December 14th 2009
The Crown, Withybed
Time: when you get there
until you leave!
Be prepared for one of our
normal 'pub nights', but with more drinking, eating and chatting... and
slightly less singing! Anyone with ideas for party games or other 'things
to do' - let us know. Come in your 'glad rags' for this fun and high
spirited occasion. A very big thank you to Mary for getting this organized
for us. YOU ARE A STAR!!
Fifth: Our DVD has been
finalized. If you would like to pre-order a copy, contact me (Blue) at our
usual address. It is free of charge to anyone who would like to do some
fundraising on our behalf. Other interested parties should be prepared to
make a donation of £5.00 towards the costs. If you would like us (Mr G.
and Blue) to come along and do a talk or presentation for your club,
organisation or company, get in
touch, we would be happy to oblige.
That's about it folks... but
KEEP COMING BACK! We are busy, busy, busy!
1st November 2009 - "The Fun Theory" - can we get more people to do
things if we make them fun to do? That was a theory tested out by some
guys in Stockholm. Below is one of their video clips sent to us by a good
friend of ours in Italy (thanks Vittorio!!):
We fully support the idea. We have found that by making singing 'fun',
more people take part! So if you haven't joined us yet, come along on
12th October 2009 - A new song for ACC to learn, here performed by
The Lighthouse Family:
I'll be uploading the other 'newbie' as soon as possible.
A reminder that our next
choir meeting is:
M.onday October 19th 2009
Time: 7:30 - 9:30pm
The Crown, Withybed
(no subs & no mug
The following week (Mon, Oct
26th) is half-term, which means no choir meeting has been scheduled.
10th October 2009 -
And a very successful raid it was too! Around 20 choir members turned out
to invade The Oddfellows Arms, Foregate Street, Astwood Bank at their beer
festival. At the front were Mike, Mick, Allyson and Barnaby all on mics.
The rest of us were spread around, trying to blend in and appear
nonchalant! We think we can safely say a fine time was had by one and all!
October 2009 - Our final stop on this leg of the tour was
Laurence's Church, Alvechurch. Our thanks to Revd. David Martin for
providing us with the venue.
More than 350 children and
staff from six different partner schools poured into the beautiful old
building for a celebration to be proud of!
All the pews were filled, as
was a large portion of the aisle space.
The roof was raised, and the
sound of the bells drowned out as the programme began. People from the
neighbouring building even came along to see what was happening!
The event showed the very
real effect of music in uniting and linking people across a broad spectrum
of abilities. Everyone was part of the whole, each made their own
contribution to the bigger picture no matter how big or how small their
individual part was.
So from the whole team:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INDIVIDUAL PART, we could not have done it without you!
And always remember to be who you are, because
it's OK to be YOU - you
The final parts of our DVD
were filmed at the Church and at Alvechurch Middle School. For more
information on the DVD, read the text under '5th October 2009' or
contact Blue, who would be
delighted to hear from you.
We will be uploading more
photos as and when they become available, so - as always - bookmark this
page and keep coming back!
Blue, how could you be the
last to arrive when you live the nearest? The notorious Redditch
roundabouts? Likely story!
The hall quickly filled with
rows of children, all eagerly waiting for the workshops to begin. As soon
as the music started they joined in with the fun; singing, signing and
dancing to their heart's content.
For the final workshop the
hall was packed - not only with children, but also (it seemed) with every
teacher and teaching assistant from every class! Jules, our photographer,
was in her element with so many great shots to take, she hardly knew where
to start. Thank you to each and everyone of you for supporting the event.
The sound was amazing,
almost ear splitting in fact!
Special thanks to Tony
Tamburro, Head Teacher, for inviting us along and actively taking part in
all the proceedings. Thank you also for the very warm hospitality. We all
felt well looked after and cared for. That lemon drizzle cake was
scrumptious!! Hey, Mr. D... if you're reading this page - add it as an
alternative to the now famous apple and almond tart!!!
You might be wondering by
now who was in the outward bound team, here goes: Mike 'Mr G' Genders,
Lillian Boutté, Denny Ilett (guitar), Andy Crowdy (bass), Daisy Palmer
(drums), Allyson Craigan (violin), Tracy Finch, Jessie Dyer, Sue Hughes,
Andy Hughes, Julia Gross and Evi 'Blue' Barnes.
Joining us at the front was
Astwood Bank's very own Music Co-ordinator, Mr. Joe George, who helped us
out by playing keyboard and accordian alongside the band. Thank you Joe!
Before long the hall was
filled with the sound of children singing at the top of their voices. All
of them practicing the new signs they were learning from Tracy, our
Communications Teaching Assistant from Pitcheroak Special School.
Thank you Astwood Bank for
your hospitality... the cake was marvellous by the way!! Whoever would
have thought courgettes would go in a sponge mix? Try it - you'll be
5th October 2009 -
and the beginning of a very busy 4 day schedule! The whole team were
excited and raring to go!
A bright, fresh Monday
morning saw us heading out to our first venue:
School & Specialist Sports College. Chadsgrove is a day special school
for children who have a physical disability. Many pupils also have
additional sensory, communication or learning difficulties.
Stephanie Wellings, their
Music Co-ordinator, commented on the power of music to engage children of
all abilities. Her comments were quickly realised as we began our
workshops and observed the students taking part! Children were seen
bopping in the aisles, as they sang and signed alongside Lillian Boutté
and her band.
Monday was also the day we
began filming for our DVD. This has been funded independently to showcase
the work of ELS and to promote fundraising initiatives. Let Blue know if
you would like to reserve a copy by mailing her at our usual
One 'free of charge' copy will be given to each of our partner schools and
to anyone wanting to raise funds on our behalf. For anyone else, we ask
for a donation of £5.00.
A big thank you to Jane
Brennan, a member of Alvechurch Community Choir, who gave up her time to
come along to Chadsgrove School to be interviewed. She enjoyed herself so
much, she stayed for an entire workshop!!
Our thanks also to Head
Teacher, Deb Rattley, for allowing us to bring some of our music magic
into your school.
We had a great time linking
up with you all!!
9th September 2009 -
Hurray!! Lillian and her band will soon be back in town to head up all the
activities scheduled for early October.
First on the agenda are three full
days 'on the road' visiting three different partner schools; Chadsgrove,
Astwood Bank and Mount Carmel. Each day will be packed full with singing,
signing and fun!
During the same week,
Lillian Boutté and her band will be taking the lead as pupils and staff
from all six schools who have worked with ELS in 2009, join together to
sing and sign the songs they have learnt. This celebratory event is scheduled to take place at St
Laurence's Church in Alvechurch.
If you have been invited to
any of the venues but have not yet confirmed your attendance, please do so
at your earliest convenience. Those of you who would like an
opportunity to attend a workshop or the
celebratory event, please email us as soon as possible - some venues are
of limited capacity.
19th August 2009 - A
special thank you to The Crown at Withybed Green for their generous
hospitality on the evening of the 17th!
Around 30 members of
Alvechurch Community Choir turned out for an evening of song, laughter and
companionship. We think it is fair to say that everyone had a great time.
A couple of newcomers came along to join in the fun, which is not hard to
do when you find yourself amongst such genuinely warm and welcoming
Thank you also to Mike and
Dave for taking the musical lead with acoustic guitars and mandolin.
Choir practice is due to
recommence on Monday 7th September. Keep watching here for the latest
Some discussion has been had
around the idea of a more 'uniform' look. A couple of T-shirt designs have
been circulated and ideas for other looks e.g. blouses and shirts with a
smaller logo. The choir colour is red - if you have any ideas that you
would like to add to the pot, please mail Blue at the usual address. She
will have already received any ideas mailed to Dave.
5th August 2009 - An
apology from me (Blue)! Two sound files which appeared on this page entered
cyber 'black hole' and were apparently lost. The reason for this was my
use of a 'freeware' sound player, support for which has since been
withdrawn. It only came to my attention today, but I got right on the
case! The missing files have been restored using a different player. So,
in case you missed them, follow the Brian Eno
and Howard Goodall links to listen to their
4th August 2009 -
An announcement for all ACC choir
Our mid Summer choir
meeting scheduled for
Monday August 17th 2009
Time: 7:30 - 9:00pm
The Crown, Withybed
has now been confirmed
See you all there for an
evening of song, friendship and laughter.
directions, should contact 'Blue'
via our usual mailing
2009 - Mike and Blue embarked on a journey South yesterday, all the
way to glorious Oxford. Their mission? To meet up with Lillian Boutté,
Denise Gordon, Sue & Andy Hughes, Daisy Palmer, Denny Ilett and Andy
Crowdy at the
2009 Oxford Summer School. Lillian and the team had been running a
singing workshop during the week, Mike and Blue were invited along to
join them for the final day which included an evening performance.
Around thirty people signed
up for the workshop. By Friday they were producing some amazing singing!
We made an attempt to capture some of the sounds for you, but there's
nothing quite like a 'live' performance to get the full impact.
A special 'Hello!' to Eve &
Natasha Meusz and Pauline, who took part in the workshop. Eve is choir
leader for 'Wyred Up!', a jazz and gospel singing group formed in
September 2007. Originally inspired by Lillian during workshops held in
the Vale of Evesham, the choir now meets regularly in Wyre Piddle. If you
live in the area and would like more details, please
Eve Meusz directly. Eve is not only a wonderfully enthusiastic
and talented music leader but she is also a very dear friend of ours.
22nd July 2009 - We promised you some images of our schools
workshops, you can find them by
and more from ACC at our end
of term concert on Monday evening
21st July 2009 - Last night was the end of term concert for ACC.
Below you can hear some of the performance. A special message from us all
to Katie Harris, who leaves our small and close knit community to begin a
new life in Scotland. Thank you for all your hard work... we
will miss you very, very, very much.
More to come... keep watching!
This text will be replaced by the flash music player.
20th July 2009 - Yes, Lillian was back in town! A full day of
workshops at Pitcheroak School served to enthuse staff and children alike.
New songs, old songs, new friends, old friends.... all blending together
to make a magnificent sound and create a wonderful feeling of
'togetherness'. We have promised you some photos, a promise which has
certainly not been forgotten! An album will arrive here in the next couple
of days. We very much appreciate your patience.
The 8th of July was
earmarked as a workshop planning day. Lillian Boutté, Denise Gordon, Mr G
and Blue all sat round a table together discussing the work so far and
planning the next leg of activities. October promises to be an incredibly
busy month, with three more school visits and a celebratory event all to
occur within the same week. Watch this space for more news as it unfolds.
We have been inundated with
feedback forms (which
as we speak are being entered on to a database for analysis - thank you
Simon!) from pupils at the schools we have already visited. The response
has been phenomenal and very positive! Thank you to one and all for giving
of your time and letting us know what you really think. It helps us to
monitor progress and develop ideas for next year. We are currently
finalizing a feedback form for staff to further assist that analysis. We
will upload it here when it is ready.
If you have been involved in
any of the activity along the way and have something to say - positive or
negative - please contact us. It could be you
are a parent, staff member, choir member, onlooker, maybe you have simply
been following progress on the Net - whatever you have to say will be
valuable to us.
Our very good wishes go out
to Diane our Senior Signer, who has been laid up with health problems
recently. We know you are itching to get back to the team - don't worry,
your seat is being kept warm!
Lillian and the band gave a
truly enjoyable private concert in appreciation of the work the staff do
at Pitcheroak School. Everyone had a great time - and Blue was once again
seen dancing - seems she has given up ballet in favour of Rock 'n Roll!!
Thanks Lils, Denise, Denny, Daisy and Andy for all that you give so willingly.
The evening of July 10th was
set aside for a celebratory event with Voices & Visions at Kingsley
College. A group from Pitcheroak School joined together with participants
from several other local schools for a superb performance of music,
singing and signing. Well done to everyone who took part and of course to
all those behind the scenes who have the task of managing such a large
Tonight (20th July) sees the
end of term concert for ACC. Family and friends have been invited to
Alvechurch Community School for a 7:30 kick off. If you are in the area
and would like to come along - please feel free to do so. Entry is free
and who knows... maybe you'll be inspired to join us!
That's about it for now...
but there will be more by the end of the week.
11th July 2009 (pm) - Keep checking back over the next few days, we've
got lots of news for you about Lillian Boutté and Pitcheroak School.
In the meantime, for your delectation, ACC catches a falling star. This
video clip was once again put together for us by our man behind the scenes, the ever
skilful Simon. A hint when viewing YouTube clips, clicking on the HQ
button will give you a better quality version. You will need a decent PC
and a good Internet connection though!
11th July 2009 (am) - After some deliberation and two consultations
(thanks Dave & Simon!), I decided to add this link.
Music is powerful in its
ability to unite people from all backgrounds. You don't have to have a
perfect voice, nor do you need to be the greatest musician in the world to
be able to make music.
"Music opens the door to
bringing people to a place where they are all connected. It is easy to
connect with the world through music." A quote from Mark Johnson, the
Playing for Change
The music workshops at
Pitcheroak School could not go ahead without your support, in whichever
way you have given it. So.... thank you all for standing by us!
9th July 2009 - In the middle of an exceptionally busy week, I just
had to take some time out to very proudly show you the latest addition to
my photo album. Yes, it's ACC!! Pictured here singing 'Catch a
Falling Star' in a public performance on Tuesday 7th July. The choir were
invited to take part in a larger event at Alvechurch Middle School and....
they sounded and looked stunning.
Well done to one and all for battling with your nerves and rising to the
challenge. Special thanks to Greg (central in green) for taking a magnificent
singing lead in 'Summertime' and of course our intrepid trio Kate, Mike
and Dave for all your hard work - we don't know what we'd do without you.
And Barnaby.... where were you???
Everybody Let's Sing is a registered charity no. 1148121