Choirs tune in to workshop funds

Voicemale, a Morpeth based choir has received a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to carry out a music project in Northumberland.

Voicemale, a Morpeth based choir has received a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to carry out a music project in Northumberland.

TWO Morpeth choirs will be singing from the same hymn-sheet after finding funds for a new music project.

Voicemale men’s choir is teaming up with women’s group Werca’s Folk to deliver a series of workshops and concerts.

The joint initiative is being supported by a £4,850 grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund’s Community Music Scheme, which seeks to help groups expand their horizons and benefit the community.

The successful application follows a previous grant from the fund in 2010.

Voicemale Chairman Nigel Jenkins said: “The choir benefitted enormously from a previous grant and we are very pleased to have this opportunity to build on that experience.

“We hope that this collaboration with Werca’s Folk will show how this type of support benefits not only the groups involved, but also the communities that we hope to reach.”

The project will be an exploration of song, themed around the working and personal lives of people in the coastal, industrial and rural areas of Northumberland.

There will be three full-day singing workshops, each followed by an evening concert by the two choirs and workshop participants.

Sessions will be run by Voicemale Musical Director Graham Stacy and Werca’s Folk Director Sandra Kerr, supported by choir members, at venues in Bamburgh, Blyth and Coquetdale between June and September.

Ms Kerr said: “Werca’s Folk are delighted to be working together on this project. We have had some shared events in the past, but this is an exciting opportunity to explore together some of Northumberland’s wonderful songs and music that reflect the working lives of its people.”

Mr Stacy added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the choirs to carry the message to the wider community of the benefits and pleasures of choral singing.

“We have wanted to work more closely with Werca’s Folk for some time and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Werca’s Folk, under the leadership of Sandra Kerr, was set up in 1995 through the 20,000 Voices initiative, which is a choir development project by Arts Council England.

Voicemale followed in 2001, again through 20,000 Voices, and draws its members from all walks of life across Northumberland. It was initially under the guidance of Ms Kerr, before she was succeeded by Mr Stacy.

Both groups have become well-established in the community and perform regularly at local events.


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