Update for everyone, Singers, Members, Friends and Supporters

Dear Vox Members
Hackney Empire sent out emails yesterday informing people that all their shows, including Freedom Song, have been postponed until further notice. Although it is incredibly sad, it was inevitable. As the threat of C-19 increases by the day, we are all having to take steps we could never have imagined in order to combat the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, the committee met (at arms length!) to work out how to handle the implications for our lovely choir. We want to share our thinking with you and to get your feedback and suggestions.

  • Freedom Song will happen – but not until next year. Our plan is to reschedule for Easter 2021, at Hackney Empire. It is likely that people will be able to carry forward their tickets, but HE will confirm the options asap. So please hang onto your scores.
  • Meanwhile we will press ahead and get the CD ready by the 29th (or thereabouts) so that you, your friends and everyone who hoped to come to the concert, can hear the recording from last year. We need to set up a sales and distribution system and will let you know asap how to purchase the CDs.
  • We are also cancelling the May concert – this virus is not going to go away quickly – and we may need to cancel the June concert as well. But we will monitor the situation and if things are easier by then, we could decide to hold a simple concert in June at St Luke’s – possibly with Liane. We will make a decision at the right time and let you know.
  • There will be no rehearsals for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we will be able to start again in September, and our plans for the Autumn term remain unchanged – but again, we will need to monitor the situation over the coming months.
  • We are very keen to keep our choir together and to support one another during this very difficult time, so here are some ideas – and if you have any thoughts, please get back to us:
  • Maintain contact with each other via the Vox email – we want to know how people are coping and how we can support each other
  • If it is deemed safe to do things out of doors, we may convene a ‘flash choir’ event in a park or garden, where we can sing together (while keeping our distance) just for the fun of it. Singing is so important at a time like this – and we need to think of ways to keep our spirits up…….and stay sane!
  • Maintain a virtual choir: Harvey is thinking about how we might continue to sing together, learn new music and even rehearse for a June concert via live streaming. We will email about this, once we have figured out how to do it! Let us know what you think.
  • Our other concern is how to support Harvey over this period, since he, like many artists, is totally dependent on the income generated by activities and events that can no longer happen. We are committed to paying him for this term, even though we have had to stop work abruptly. And with this in mind, we hope that you will allow us to keep the subscriptions you have paid to date. However, we know that many people will face hardship over the coming months, so if this is difficult for you, please get in touch.
  • Finally, we would have been planning an AGM in May, but this will have to be put back to later in the year – I know that will be devastating news!!

Please keep your eyes on the Vox email – there will be more news and some practical things we need to sort with members.

Vox means so much to all of us, and we will feel bereft without our Tuesday rehearsals. But the main thing is for everyone to stay safe, stay in touch and find other ways to keep our singing community vibrant until we can start to meet together again.

With much love from all the committee
Tricia, Jonathan, Sheena, Polly, Caroline, Marion, Harvey and Justin

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Freedom Song video

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Arthur and Village Green Preservation Society – in pictures

We are the Village Green Preservation Society . . .

. . . God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety

We are the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium

Everyone knows the future’s coming . . .

… except for those Old-fashioned Steam-powered Trains

When we were young and the world was free . . .

There lived a cat, a phenomenal cat . . .

Sat by the fireside a-pondering on . . .

Wicked Annabella mixes a brew

We go on drifting on, dreaming dreams, telling lies. . .

And it’s over the audience . . . Lo lo lo lo Lola

With special thanks to Harvey Brough, Arthur and the Emigrants, the David Le Page Ensemble, CamJam Voices, and the one and only Ray Davies. Photographs by Nick Rutter. Shoreditch Town Hall, 15 February 2020.

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Freedom Song returns to the Hackney Empire

In a triumphant new oratorio, composer Harvey Brough and librettist Justin Butcher tell the inspiring story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of freed slaves who took to the road in 1871 to raise money for their university. Their aim was not only to build the first university for black students set up after Emancipation, but to fight for the right of all African American students to be educated. In doing so, they introduced Plantation Spirituals to the world.

‘An exquisite project’ – Emma Thompson

Arriving in the UK, the Singers performed in palaces and parish halls. They introduced Queen Victoria to ‘Steal Away’ and inspired the Hackney Poor School to set up the UK’s first gospel choir. They went on to become heroes of the civil rights movement with a message that speaks as urgently to us today as it did 150 years ago.

Vox Holloway joins forces with the Hackney Empire Community Choir and Stoke Newington school singers, for a return of the soulful hit

Starring: Greg Wise as Prime Minister Gladstone and Justin Butcher as George White

Soloists: Emily Dankworth, Christina Gill, Mike Henry and Wills Morgan

Band: Liam Dunachie, Mike Outram, Finn Peters, Nic France

Where: Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ

When: Sunday 29 March, 6pm. Buy your tickets here

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Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur

Vox sings the Kinks at Shoreditch Town Hall

In the late 1960s, the Kinks released two albums that countered the optimism of the decade with a bittersweet evocation of what had been lost. 1968’s charismatic Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, was followed in 1969 by Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), about a carpet-layer forced to emigrate to Australia to find work.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these albums Ray Davies has commissioned composer Harvey Brough to rearrange songs from Arthur, to accompany his triumphant choral version of The Village Green Preservation Society, premiered in 2018.


Voiceovers by Ray Davies

Soloists Clara Sanabras and Rick Leigh

Plus a new doo-wop super group:  Naomi Hammerton, Mike Henry, Wills Morgan and Harvey Brough

And the David le Page Ensemble

Shoreditch Town Hall, London, February 15. Book your tickets here


Posted in Choir, Clara Sanabras, Concert, London, Shoreditch Town Hall