As mentioned briefly in a previous post: https://thalieknights.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/other-voices-eno-community-project/ this weekend was the opportunity for myself and other ENO Opera Works members to finally get to meet the full troupe of ‘Other Voices’ members from Streetwise Opera (a charity using music to help homeless people making positive changes in their lives), The B.I.G Choir (a training choir with a repertoire of popular Gospel), a children’s choir from Corpus Christie Catholic school and ENO Community Choir.
Directed by Stevie Higgins and Clare Whistler, Saturday’s workshop was a great introduction to each group’s retrospective music offering – covering Bach’s St John’s Passion, John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer, Bob Marley’s Get up Stand up, to name but a few. The energy which each group put into their music was infectious, and it didn’t take long before we were all learning small segments of the main musical numbers – a great way of including everyone as much as possible (as someone who is more often found practising Handel than Bob Marley, a particular favourite was the ‘whyoooaaah’ section preceding Get up Stand up – I gave it my best Gospel wiggle!!) Such involvement was a welcome distraction from feeling the pressure of having Peter Sellars (director in residence at ENO) and John Berry (Artistic Director at ENO) quietly observing!
On Sunday we were joined by the children’s choir, and we now had all vocal forces in place for the afternoon’s performance in Windrush Square, Brixton. Clare Whistler’s direction had ensured we use as much of the features in the square as possible without ever compromising our delivery of the music, and this enabled us all to focus on the themes at the heart of ‘Other Voices’ (which aims to retell personal and shared history perspectives using our voices). Though the weather may have been on the chilly side, the reception by the local community and friends and family who came to support was warm and welcoming.
Singing is such a genuine expression of feeling that the weekend was a humbling experience to remind each person that regardless of age, race, beliefs and abilities – music is something that everyone can share.
Here’s a few pictures of the day:
Photos by Rob Tyson Knights Photography (http://www.robtysonknights.com/)