The Sun Does Shine

As well as getting ready for our fabulous Christmas Concert, Vox are starting to work on The Sun Does Shine, which we are hoping to perform in Spring 2022.

The Sun Does Shine, is a new musical work, created by Harvey Brough and Justin Butcher and inspired by Anthony Ray Hinton’s autobiography. At the age of 28, Ray Hinton was wrongly convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to death by a racist Alabama court. He spent the next 30 years on Death Row, fighting to prove his innocence, before finally being released in 2015. His remarkable story shows how the human spirit can rise above unimaginable hardship. He did not leave prison broken and embittered. Instead, his faith, compassion, sense of humour and love, gave him the capacity to forgive and to embrace life. His relationships saved him – his mother and best friend never doubted him, other prisoners became his friends (many of them were executed), and the prison guards grew to respect and believe him. His flights of imagination and love of reading kept him sane. He brought hope and humanity to a place of death and despair. His message has a universal relevance.

Ray Hinton now works with his lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, to help others on Death Row and to campaign against capital punishment in the States. He has given his blessing to this project.

But what relevance does Ray’s story have for us, here in the UK? Though set a world away, in Alabama, we think his story touches on wider concerns about criminal justice and offers an inspiring message of courage and hope to anyone involved in the prison system.  Working with our partners, the Prison Reform Trust, we have linked up with prisoners in the UK, who are serving long-term or life sentences, and we hope to weave their experiences into a documentary film that we are making to complement the oratorio. Eventually we hope to take the music and the film into prisons around the country.

The film itself will explore how a community choir like Vox embraces and internalises a story that is far removed from our own experiences. It will follow our creative journey as we learn to convey that story through music, with a power and integrity that makes for something beautiful and also challenging. It will show how, through art, a story of redemption can be celebrated in a way that is also disruptive, asking uncomfortable questions about our own assumptions/stereotypes and it will put a spotlight on how, as a society, we deal with crime and punishment, and those tagged as ‘criminals’, here in the UK. We don’t have to answer those questions – raising them is enough.

The Arts Council England are supporting this project. We are working closely with the Prison Reform Trust. We have raised additional funding, but we need to raise another £6,000 in order to complete the project. If you would like to sponsor TSDS, please get in touch……………..

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Join our Free Open Rehearsal of Freedom Song, at St Mary’s Church N16 on Tuesday 31 August 7.30pm to 9.30pm  – All welcome

Your chance to join friendly local community choir Vox Holloway for our performance of Freedom Song live on stage at Hackney Empire on Saturday 25 September. Come along to our free sing-through with composer/musical director Harvey Brough, pick up a CD of the show, have some cake and refreshments and find out more how you can get involved for Freedom Song and beyond.

Just come along or email us at to talk to us.

Tickets for the concert on Saturday 25th September here

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Requiem in Blue – this Saturday evening

Vox Holloway/Virtual Vox will be performing at 19.00 on Saturday 24th at St. Luke’s Holloway. Doors at 6.30. It will be wonderful

We will also be livestreaming the concert, so if you can’t make it to St. Lukes. you can still be part of the evening.

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Summer Term Requiem in Blue

We will be rehearsing and performing Requiem in Blue, written by Harvey in memory of his brother. Some of you will know this piece, it’s a profound and joyously uplifting work about love and remembrance, which feels celebratory and wholly appropriate as we emerge from these difficult times.

The piece reminds us that many have suffered great loss or difficulty during the last 14 months and that we must live our lives to the full to honour that knowledge.

The last movement is a setting of words from Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall (writer of Billy Elliot)
And the old people long time ago they saw the sparks – and people met and the sparks jumped right up into the air from the place where they were hiding and they leaped up through the firmament and through the clouds and past the sun and they shone over the whole universe – and when people kissed there were sparks and when people held each other there were sparks and when they waved as they were going away there were sparks – and they would all be prayers.
THE WHOLE PROJECT WILL BE ACCESSIBLE ONLINE – we will hold 6 weekly rehearsals from Tuesday June 8th at 7 pm with a Zoom meeting afterwards at 8 15 pm. Then a concert on Sunday 18th July.

Sign up for the Summer Term here

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Concert link

Concert link live until Friday 2nd April here

and if you feel able to donate in these very difficult times for musicians, please go to our JustGiving page

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