Sing Streatham Community Choir

Streatham South London

Your story

Sing Streatham Choir is open to anyone who wants to let their hair down after a busy day by creating sweet harmonies from all around the world. Our mantra is ‘Sing in Harmony, live in harmony, laugh in harmony’.

Group introduction

Sing Streatham Choir (SSC) is a small and friendly adult community choir open to everyone in our diverse South London community. We meet on Monday evenings to sing a wide range of music including jazz, folk, rock, carols, classical and canons from around the world. We are all volunteers; enthusiastic amateurs who enjoy working together towards concerts and festival events.
Set up in 2008 by the Governors of Woodmansterne school, the choir has touched hundreds of lives through member and audience participation. We are a little choir with a big voice. With a membership of 28, and a weekly attendance ranging from 10 – 20, we join together in 3 or 4 part harmony under the direction of our Choir Leader Mae.
We have an ‘open access’ approach; welcoming members of all ages, ethnic and social backgrounds. Several of our members have disabling conditions. Everyone is supported and takes an active part. We welcome singers at any level. No previous experience is necessary, there are no auditions and no need to read music. Our professionally trained Choir Leader teaches individuals and groups vocal technique, harmony, pitch and rhythm. Through her support and the encouragement and friendship of the group, members gain confidence to try new songs, take on more demanding parts, develop new skills and create something great.
Our rehearsals lead to local performances. Recent performances include our annual Streatham Festival summer concert, The Little Big Peace Festival, Christmas carols at the South Bank and Streatham Tescos, Streatham Library opening celebrations and South Bank VoiceLab Winter Showcase.
We are ordinary people who love communal singing. We laugh, try and learn together. Over the years the group has become a social network. We have end of term drinks, a Christmas social and summer barbeque where we just enjoy being together.
Our Committee meets regularly to review our programme, membership and accounts. Our Chair leads on the events programme and our Treasurer deals with financial matters (weekly subs, Choir Leader and school caretaker fees and hall hire). Other members assist with publicity, hosting extra rehearsals and social events.
Past and current members testify to the impact of community singing in their lives. Members say how much singing with us boosts spirits and helps reduce stress. It is mental and physical exercise, a safe place to try, gives pride and confidence through learning and improving, develops new skills through performing and builds self-belief to address challenges in their lives. Most of all it provides joy, friendship and a sense of belonging.
Through our audiences hundreds of people have had a great time, reminded themselves how much they love song, discovered a new hobby and many joined our choir. Best of all the choir has renewed their belief in human nature and pride in their community. Recently the Mayor of Lambeth Councillor Saleha Jaffer commended our contribution to community well-being and the entire audience of 60 took to the stage for a rendition of 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' – a magical sound and wonderful moment.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

SSC want to spread the word about how singing in your local community choir can contribute to pleasure, mental and physical health, exercise, friendship, personal confidence and life-long learning. We also understand how participation by people in local networks (like choirs) helps with the wider issues of community cohesion and pride in the local community.
The project aim is to increase participation and membership of local choirs.
We will do this by organising a new Streatham Choir Festival event called ‘Celebrating Streatham Voices’ in July 2017 as part of the established Streatham Festival. Informal discussions have already gained expressions of interest and demonstrate that there are enough local choirs and an appetite to make the event a going-concern.
This event would provisionally include:
• a programme of performances by a diverse selection of invited local community choirs (e.g. Contemporary, A Capella, Choral, over 60’s, Gospel)

• free public performances in accessible local indoor/ outdoor venues

• taster workshops for people to join a ‘Don’t sing Choir’ with a ‘scratch’ performance as part of the festival (led by our Choir Leader with our volunteer members assisting)

• one Big Sing piece for choirs to sing together

• taster sessions for existing choir members to sing with another choir

• the opportunity for audience participation

• Programmes including information, contact details and sign-up sheets to encourage audience members to join their local community choir.

In addition we want to extend access to local choirs so people can sing along at home. Our SSC experience is that members sometimes leave the choir due to temporary or permanent changes in their circumstances. They often tell us how much they miss the choir. We want to develop a new service so people who can’t get to the choir due to work, mobility, caring or health issues can sign up to receive a weekly online facility to download our songs using the Sound Cloud App. They can sing along at home. They will also get a news update about the choir. We will set this up as a pilot to increase participation and inclusion and reduce isolation. SSC volunteers would manage the secure online member mailing and database. If successful this could be adopted by other choirs.
We believe the Celebrating Streatham Voices choir event will prove so popular that it will become a regular feature of the Streatham Festival; ( This will continue our ambition to increase access to and membership of community choirs.
The £500 grant would fund:
• Event Publicity £60
• Event programmes £120
• PA and staging / gazebo hire £130
• Sheet music printing for the don’t sing choir taster workshops and performance £10
• Temporary events licence £20
• Sessional tutor fees (Taster workshops/Scratch choir performance) (@ £40/hr) £160

The outputs of the project would be:
• 100 participants of festival choirs
• 30 taster workshop /scratch choir participants
• 200 festival audiences
• 20 members of SSC Sound Cloud access pilot
Total 350 people
In addition up to 80 people will enquire about a choir through joining mailing lists.
We will help 430 people.

"“I've only joined the choir a few months ago but it's been a great experience. Everyone's been so friendly, helpful and supportive, and when we sing together it always sounds so much richer than the sum of its parts. I leave every session feeling uplifted and it's become a highlight of my week”

Cathy Harvey, recently joined Sing Streatham Choir member.

“Doesn't matter how rubbish or sluggish I feel
It’s always worth making the effort to come along.
Every time I come away feeling perkier than when I arrived.
It has something of the punk ethic about it I like.
It doesn't matter most of us are complete amateurs
Have a go, try your best, now and again magic happens”.

Simon Evans, Treasurer, Sing Streatham Choir.

“We listen. We cooperate. We practise. We have another go.
Then suddenly we all come together and hit a chord together - inspirational-wow.
We go home singing!”

Anne Morgan, Choir member, Sing Streatham Choir"

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