Why the Kinks’ classic album is an oratorio for our times …

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The 120 voices of Vox Holloway are joining together this autumn to salute a musical legend and celebrate a seminal album that has become a huge influence on generations of pop musicians.

Ray Davies and the Kinks have left an indelible mark on the work of artists ranging from David Bowie to Blur and Lily Allen (just for starters).

Their 1968 album, The Village Green Preservation Society, is a unique musical fusion of vaudeville, oompah, music hall, palm court and the blues (an outrageous remodelling of Smokestack Lightnin’) – all bound together by the inimitable Kinksian rock with a tongue in its cheek.

Harvey has taken material from the album and session outtakes to create a modern Oratorio of Englishness, a collection of portraits of eccentricity, sometimes nostalgic or regretful, yet always leavened with wryness and humour.

The resulting choral work has a depth and an immediacy that is rare in the conventional choral repertoire.

Harvey says:

“Ray Davies is a composer whose range and versatility rivals, or surpasses, that of many classical composers. He also writes his own words with an insight and gift for truth to which many poets aspire. For me, he is a complete musician and composer, not just a pop artist.”

In the new oratorio we meet characters such as schoolfriend Walter (Do you remember Walter smoking cigarettes behind your garden gate?), Uncle Charlie (a-boozing with his friends in sunny Southend), Wicked Annabella, a temptress twisting minds, a Phenomenal Cat who eats his way around the world and Monica, who’ll do something wrong and prove to you she is right.

Coming at a time when we are questioning what it is to be British and what our relationship with Europe will be in the future,  the album’s 50th anniversary offers a poignant mirror image of the optimism of the late 60’s, when we were contemplating making a move in the opposite direction – joining the Common Market.

The album touches on themes that are more relevant than ever today. Along with friendship, growing up, old age and the passing of time, it deals with conservation, property development, deity, and the importance of connecting with nature.

As a community choir based a few miles from Ray Davies’s north London home, Vox Holloway is perfectly placed to carry his vision into a new era.


Posted in Choir, Community choir, Concert, London, Singing | 2 Comments

Don’t just take our word for it…

Video by the wonderful Hannah Barton about our first Stony Field concert in May

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one down, two fabulous concerts to go

We have 2 concerts next week – Thursday at St. James and Saturday at St. Mary’s.

Tickets are available here

link to online article


ooh, we are in the papers!

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Tickets, flyer and did I mention tickets?

stony field

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Helping out

A refreshment note…

We’ve noticed that recently a number of people who have volunteered or considered helping out with the refreshments at break-time have asked questions such as, ‘What do you have to do?’, ‘How long does it take?’, ‘What time do I have to be there?’, ‘Where’s everything kept…?’ and so on. We thought it might be helpful, particularly for new members, to say something about Vox H refreshments and direct you to information telling you what , volunteering or signing up for the rota involves. Here are the links for general information and refreshment task guidelines.

The refreshments at Vox are organised and carried out by Vox choir members. This means that we can offer teas or fresh coffee and biscuits for the suggested donation of £1.00. There is also decent wine/beer and crisps/nibbles available for the suggested donation of £2.00. All donations go back into VoxH running costs.

There are three main tasks. We need volunteers to help with preparing the kitchen, ‘set-up’,serving’ hot drinks etc., or ‘clearing up’ at the end of rehearsal. Three volunteers are needed for each task so nine volunteers are required each week. This sounds a lot but we are a big choir and having three volunteers for each task means you are likely to spend no more than around 20 minutes on any task and no single person is left with too much to do. This way, volunteering shouldn’t take up too much of your rehearsal time.

We realise that not everyone, for a variety of reasons (such as getting to rehearsal a bit earlier, long journey home, health/mobility issues etc.) is able to volunteer, this is fine. Overall, to cover all rehearsals we need as many people as possible to volunteer over the term by putting their name on the rota around twice a term. It’s helpful if you can put your name down in advance so we can see that all rehearsals are covered.

There are hard copies of Refreshment guidelines, ‘Set-up’, ‘Serve’, ‘Clear up’ kept in the Vox H Kitchen Box. This box is kept in the second cupboard from the end (window end) in The Green Room upstairs. If you are not able to carry the box there’s always someone who can help when asked.

Thanks for your help. Any questions feel free to ask Jan L.

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