Clapham Community Choir
Clapham Community Choir is a friendly and enthusiastic choir of diverse voices, open to everybody, whatever their musical ability or experience.
Clapham Community Choir was started by Jessie Maryon Davies, a Clapham-born professional pianist and musical organiser, to provide an opportunity for people in and around Clapham to sing in a choir. Jessie was the choir’s leader until 2015; since then the choir has been led by Adam Saunders.
The choir currently has about 40 active participating members. It is a secular choir, but rehearses at St Paul’s Church Clapham, which in recent years has been very supportive of local music making. The choir enjoys good support from the local community, and puts on concerts at St Paul’s and also at the theatre/arts venue Omnibus Clapham and in local pubs. The choir is always looking for ways to get involved with the community, and highlights in 2017 have included a concert to launch a book about childhood experiences in Clapham in WWII (“Dangerous Skies”), with the participation of three local primary schools, and a performance in the Clapham Common Summer Bandstand Concerts series.
Membership of the choir is quite diverse, particularly in the age range represented. Members come from Clapham and from other parts of Lambeth and from neighbouring boroughs. The choir welcomes anyone who wants to sing in a choir, whatever their ability and experience. Some members come with years of experience, and well developed musical skills. Others are at the other end of the spectrum. The repertoire ranges from classical through to folk to jazz and contemporary pop.
The choir is run by a small group of choir members, acting as a committee, who meet every two-three months. One member acts as Treasurer, dealing with receipts, expenditure and banking, and produces regular financial information. Other members take responsibility for publicity (website, Facebook, Twitter) etc.
The choir will always seek to encourage and facilitate activities where it can, to widen the musical experience of its members. Over the years choir members have been able to take part in musical events such as a multi-choir performance of the Mozart Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall, a performance of Tippett’s A Child Of Our Time at the Festival Hall, The Events, at the Young Vic Theatre, and a performance of Echoes, by Pete Churchill, with two choirs from other London boroughs. In 2014 the choir “adopted” composer Mak Murtic under a national scheme sponsored by BBC Radio 3 and Making Music.
It is a happy choir, as is evident week by week at rehearsals and at the choir’s public performances. Personal enjoyment, and achievement with others in a common purpose, go hand in hand. The benefits of being in a choir are many, and the more people who can take part the better
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We aim to make a valuable contribution to music and the arts in Clapham and in Lambeth more widely. As part of this we want to give something to the community that will vividly demonstrate the satisfactions of being involved in a choir, and promote participation.
The funding would enable us to bring together the choir with a string quartet in a memorable concert event. The concert would provide the opportunity to “showcase” singing in a choir, with space to interact with audience members, answer questions etc. We would explore the possibility of involving a school or schools, as we did earlier this year (see above).
The immediate beneficiaries would, of course, be the choir members, who would be taking part in an enhanced musical experience.
The reason for applying for this funding, however, is the greater aim of showcasing, promoting and encouraging community choir participation.
We would follow up on the anticipated publicity and growth in membership to further the aims of Clapham Community Choir in the widest sense.
The funding would enable the project to go ahead. The special costs would be principally in publicity and payment to the string quartet, estimated as:
Quartet £800 (fees for rehearsal and performance)
In addition to normal audience ticket sales the choir would contribute towards the special costs of this concert.
"'I moved to Clapham over ten years ago but, until I joined the choir, I barely knew anyone in the area. Now I have met many friends through choir and really feel like I am part of the local community.' Stuart James, committee member.
"It's the highlight of my week - friendly, inclusive, stimulating, challenging and above all fun." Andrew Hindle, new member.
“I joined 4.5 years ago and come from a neighbouring borough. It is the highlight of my week and a great help to my self care as part of unwinding after work. I have met many people who i would not have otherwise and made many friends too. Singing with the choir has improved my confidence and self esteem and have enriched my life...and I was able to participated to many interesting and fun events.” Gabriella Andronico, committee member.
[The highlight of the year] “The bandstand performance - it was challenging but fun, and really felt like we were part of the community.” Choir member in choir survey, July 2017."