Jesus College Choir returns from inspiring trip to work with under-privileged children in India

Following the end of the Lent Term, the College Choir travelled to Mumbai to take part in a pioneering collaboration with the charity Songbound, which aims to change the lives of deprived children through music. As part of the project, the Choir visited a number of schools and centres run by charities, running singing workshops with over 200 children. At the end of the project, a number of children joined the Choir on the stage of blueFROG in central Mumbai for a concert celebrating the achievements of the previous week. The Choir's visit coincided with the Hindu festival of Holi and so together the singers worked on songs about colour, including Lavender's Blue and I can sing a rainbow as well as Indian songs including Vande mataram and Sawalee (a song written by the children in one of the centres visited). Members of the Choir led the children in playful warm-ups and breathing exercises and, whilst attention was paid to singing technique, the focus was on sharing the joy of music between people of different ages and cultures. Joe Walters, Founder and CEO of Songbound, described the project as 'utterly inspiring and mind-blowing' and members of the Choir would all agree that the experience was one which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Through their own fundraising efforts, the Choir has also raised enough money to ensure that each of the centres and schools visited during the trip will be able to run a choir for at least the next three years. Videos of the workshops and blueFROG concert may be seen here, cuttings from the press may be seen here and here, and further photos may be viewed on the Choir's Facebook page. The Choir also performed for members of the Cambridge Society of Bombay at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club before travelling to Goa where they gave a concert of Sacred Choral Music for Holy Week to a capacity audience in the Basilica Bom Jesus.

The Choir's collaboration with Songbound is an ongoing one which seeks to establish a regular programme of cultural exchange between the UK and India. To support this exciting project please visit the JustGiving page.

Posted on 3 April 2013

Jesus College Choir raise money to bring music to India's poorest children

In March, Jesus College Choir will be travelling to India to perform for and work with slum children as part of an ongoing project with the charity Songbound, which aims to change the lives of deprived children through music. As part of their commitment to this worthy cause, the Choir are currently raising funds for the charity in strange and wonderful ways: sponsored beard-growing, a fun-run wearing choir robes, cake sales and a fundraising concert in Jesus College Chapel on 1st March to name but a few. The Choir is aiming to raise £10,000 as a donation to the work of Songbound to ensure that their visit might have a legacy for the children they will meet. It costs just £400 to establish and run a choir in a Mumbai slum for one year and every penny raised will go directly towards helping to lift impoverished children out of the slums through giving them confidence, aspirations and an eagerness to learn.

Mark Williams, Director of Music, observes: "This is a unique opportunity for Cambridge students to make a difference through their music-making. We can forget what an enormous privilege it is to live and work in this beautiful city, enjoying all its cultural riches, as we strive for academic and musical perfection, but for the children of the Mumbai slums, the opportunity to sing and work together towards a performance is something that is far from ordinary, and I have every hope that the experience will be a profoundly important and moving one for both them and the students involved." During this tour the Choir will travel into some of the most deprived areas of Mumbai and perform for the children before leading workshops and teaching the children songs and singing techniques that the group hopes they will remember for the rest of their lives. The ultimate goal of the project is to build up a relationship between the College and the choirs run by Songbound, with the hope that, one day, some of the children will be able to come to the UK to perform alongside Jesus College Choir, raising the profile of an important worthwhile charity, which does extremely valuable work with children who have very little in their lives to give them hope. If you wish to sponsor the members of the choir in their fundraising activities for this trip please visit our Just Giving page and to find out more about the fundraising concert on 1st March please click here.

Posted on 18 February 2013

Five-star reviews for 'Journey into Light'

The latest CD from the Choirs of Jesus College Cambridge, Journey into Light, recently released on the Signum label, has been warmly received. Critics have hailed the programme – with music following the liturgical year from Advent to Candlemas – as a “bold collection of modern classics” with “a lot of wonderful rarities”; and the performances have been variously described as “spine-tingling”, “persuasively shaped”, and “magnificently sung”. Indeed, the December 2012 edition of BBC Music magazine awarded the CD five stars. The reviews in full may be read here, while the CDs remain on sale here.

Posted on 5 January 2013

The Choirs return from a wonderful tour of the USA

The Choirs of Jesus College Cambridge have returned from their successful tour of the west coast of the United States of America. Performances in Seattle, Portland, Oakland and San Francisco were met with warm applause and standing ovations; while one review hailed the "exceptional voices" and the "warm, even tone" of Choristers and Choral Scholars alike (see here for more details). Further, the group much enjoyed opportunities to explore the sights of the west coast, and the extremely generous hospitality of its residents. A more detailed report of the tour may be found here.

Posted on 21 December 2012

"A spectacular occasion" - Evensong with London's Inner Voices raises the roof of Jesus College Chapel

The ground-breaking chamber choir, Inner Voices, formed of young people from a number of inner London state schools, visited Cambridge for a residential weekend between 9th and 11th November, seeing the sights, rehearsing in Trinity and Queens' Colleges, and singing Evensong with the College Choir at Jesus College. Mark Williams, Director of Music at Jesus College, who conducted the service, commented on the musicianship, enthusiasm and professionalism of the group: "It was extremely impressive to see youngsters for whom Evensong is not at all a familiar concept embracing the experience with such willingness and dedication. Many of the Choir sang most of the pieces for the service from memory, never once looking at their copies and singing with 100% commitment to the music and to the occasion." One visitor described the experience of being in the College's ancient candlelit Chapel for the service as "absolutely awesome", and the student members of Jesus College Choir were delighted to have the opportunity to make music with such a talented group of young singers. After the service, members of Inner Voices were able to chat to current Choral Scholars about their musical and academic lives over supper in the College's Upper Hall. It was, in the words of Ed Watkins, the founder of Inner Voices, "a great experience".

Inner Voices rehearse with Jesus Choir

Posted on 23 November 2012

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