Beginning in February as part of the Sun and Moon Festival, I am setting up a new choir project. Great Grimsby Community Choir goes from strength to strength and it is time to take some of the learning from that wonderful project and bring it over to the East Marsh.
The Peace Choir will focus on songs of solidarity, of peace, power and protest and will hopefully bring together those who wish to use their voices to affect social change. Singing is hugely powerful and important and when voices come together they can make change happen. I will look forward to welcoming all who wish to come but I am particularly hopeful that residents from the East Marsh will come along and join the choir; it is for them. The choir will run on Tuesday evenings for 11 weeks between 7.00 -8.00 pm at the courtyard on Freeman Street Market. Each session will cost £3 per person and that money will be allocated to a seed fund for further choir development. The choir will be accompanied by the brilliant Jo Townell on piano and Sue Baker on violin. Together we will arrange and teach wonderful, relevant songs to empower and inspire.
Singing is good for body and mind. It is proven to release endorphins and to help people with sadness and depression. Singing together is uplifting, positive and joyful. It creates positive energy that can be shared among people.
At the end of this project we will host a special concert to raise food and funds for the Rock Foundation food bank on the East Marsh.
Earlier this summer, La Luna secured a substantial Arts Council grant for the provision of a number of poetry and music projects for North East Lincolnshire. The Poetry Cafe is up and running under the leadership of poet and teacher Carolyn Doyley and the Emerging Voices project is now well underway with young writers engaged in a year-long project. Look out for their first event in December.
One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of the project was the commissioning of brand new music for the Great Grimsby Community Choir. The choir is constantly evolving and developing. It has great creative energy and enthusiasm and it was the choir’s willingness to try new things and be challenged that resulted in this project being possible.
The new music, which has been co-written with Pat McCarthy, Joanne Townell and myself is in rehearsal and will be performed at Grimsby Minster on November 17th. The music commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War and we hope it is a moving tribute to everyone who lost their lives in that terrible conflict.
Tickets for the concert are £8 full price, £6 students and unwaged. Accompanied children under 16 are welcome to attend free. Refreshments are available at the interval. Tickets can be purchased directly from me via email to email@example.com or from Cleethorpes Tourist Information office or the Grimsby Minster Coffee Shop. Doors open at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 start.
Here is the link to our Autumn Brochure listing all our events for Autumn 2018. The programme is packed full of poetry, workshops, fine art. talks and music and is the result of a collaboration between La Luna, Lincs Inspire, Riverhead Coffee and others. There are paper copies available of the brochure and these can be found in libraries and other public spaces locally.
I am delighted to announce that thanks to a substantial grant from Arts Council England, La Luna will be offering an extensive programme of events from the autumn of 2018 and into 2019. The Best Words programme will be announced in full shortly but here is a taster of what’s on offer.
The Poetry Cafe
Our poetry cafe will continue to take place at Riverhead Coffee, Victoria Street. Dates and times are subject to confirmation but we will continue to run the events on Thursday afternoons. We will be offering workshops and performances from special guests, all of which will be announced over the coming weeks.
Helen Mort at the Poetry Cafe
Guests at the Poetry Cafe
Poetry at Riverhead Coffee
Following the success of our Young Voices project in 2017 we are delighted that we will be offering up to ten young writers aged 18-25 a chance to work with editors, writers and personal productivity specialists to develop their writing for a publication in 2019. They will also be given performance opportunities. We will be inviting potential candidates to apply in July and a small bursary will be available for successful applicants.
Front cover of the Young Voices 2017 publication In Case of An Emergency. Available from Amazon.
Great Grimsby Community Choir
We are particularly thrilled that funding is available to write and perform new music with the Great Grimsby Community Choir. Professional musicians, writers and arrangers will work with the choir to produce two new suites of music, one to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One and another for Christmas. Concerts with special guests are currently being planned for the autumn and winter. There will also be a CD available in time for Christmas!
Poetry Thursdays at The Albert Room
In addition to this exciting programme of events La Luna is delighted to be working in partnership with Lincs Inspire to bring a year-long programme of poetry to The Albert Room in Cleethorpes Library. We are currently planning workshops and performances with writers from the local and national scenes and will announce the full programme soon. This programme will launch on National Poetry Day, October 4th.
Full details of all our events will be published shortly and updates will appear on the website as events are confirmed.
Thanks to everyone who continues to support La Luna activities.
There have been some gentle moments of joy this week, as fleeting as the imprints in the sand shown in the photograph above but captured in the psyche.
Teaching singing is a great joy, whether with the wonderful choir on Monday nights or in schools and workshops. On Wednesday three of my Year 6 girls took me totally by surprise with their entirely serious and thoughtful choreography to a song we were learning. They simply decided to do it and I didn’t interfere.
This afternoon at the poetry cafe, writers came together and all produced some new work out of a workshop exercise I presented. The words were funny, touching and profound and it was a privilege to share that experience.
Other gentle moments this week have occurred in connection with others; a lovely taxi driver who made me laugh; an overheard conversation on a bus between a young man and his carer looking forward to their tea; a chat in the pub with an earnest and beautiful woman shining with the love of her God; a hug from a friend; the blue eyes of my best human looking deep into me and knowing me truly.
Gentle moments in a world that can be everything but gentle. Precious indeed.
I was going to call this blog post Spirit of Jazz in recognition of the fantastic CD The Spirit of Trane by Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble because the band had me and the rest of the audience in rapture last night at Grimsby Jazz’s final gig of 2017. But actually it’s spirit I want to write about because it has been a week of feeling spirit in so many lovely ways and although last night was the apex there have been some fantastic moments of community and togetherness that I want to try to capture.
When we talk about spirit what do we mean? I think it’s a word that is myriad in its meaning and probably context specific. There was a spirit in the room last Friday when the community choir performed at Cambridge Court. There was a sense of shared purpose and fellowship which I think is captured in these pictures.
I know I talk a lot about the power and the value of singing together but it comes home when we go out into the community and perform. The choir’s spirit is immense; big-hearted, generous and welcoming. Monday evenings at St Mark’s should be available on prescription.
Last night’s gig at Grimsby Jazz was just spectacular. Gilad Atzmon is a genius and I would never use that term glibly. When Gilad plays Euterpe enters and something transcendent happens. The Orient House Ensemble is a stunning band. Each musician plays from the soul and inhabits the music so completely. It was an immeasurable joy to be lost in it. It was a poignant night as well because it was Gill Wilde’s swansong gig. But what a finish. My best human remarked that it was one of the best gigs he’d ever been to and I have to concur.
I woke up thinking about jazz this morning and its glorious defiance as a musical genre. It is so free and so revolutionary and it challenges you as a listener to really engage. I started going to the jazz in Grimsby years ago because I wanted to be excited by music and musicianship. I’ve had such an education and such revelations and have immersed myself in jazz as a writer and performer. I want more of it all the time.
Back to the ordinary world today and the second Riverhead Coffee Poetry Cafe. What a rich afternoon. The participants bring so much, not just writing but themselves. It’s evolving as a place to consider the nature of ourselves not just as writers but as beings, existing in a time and a place. Today there was such a wealth of shared narratives and everyone left with an uplift.
And spirit is the thing that unites this experience, the spirit of people coming together to do what they do; to talk, make art, share ideas, perform, give. It’s something spectacularly human and wonderful and the stuff of living. Long may it happen.
Looking at my calendar for December my hair begins to stand up in fright and then when I look back at November I wonder how I got everything done that needed doing – but of course I did, because we just do. November was a month and a half in terms of what I managed to do; not single-handedly of course, there are lots of people who deserve thanks, bottles of wine and much more besides.
I moved house in November, just over a week ago in fact. So far, so very good. Great place, loads of room and all boxes labelled in a sane way that I understand. They may not be unpacked for some time, we’ll see.
Last Thursday I finished the first phase of my ACE funded writing project with the launch of In Case of an Emergency, the anthology of writing from young people who either attend or have attended Franklin College and undertaken the now defunct Creative Writing A Level. There is a lot that I could say about the government’s decision to scrap the course and much has been said. It was a lumpen, brainless decision borne out of the ridiculous notion that education is about measuring and not much else. The anthology proves that real education is not something that can be measured. The learning, experience and production that went into the book is not something that can be weighed against a set of meaningless assessment objectives and performance indicators. The book is an expression of the souls and imagination of its young contributors. And it is a thing of beauty. It was very telling that amongst the audience for the launch on Thursday evening there was not one single measuring stick wielding individual present. Their absence was noted but not missed.
This Thursday (December 7th) is the second La Luna Poetry Cafe @ Riverhead Coffee. This is an opportunity for writers and those interested in writing to come together, share work and talk about what it means and what interests them about it. Last month we had a terrific afternoon and very diverse contributions. Everyone is welcome, it’s free to come along and the coffee is great.
December is very much about music and singing and the Great Grimsby Community Choir has a full and busy schedule. We are supporting community events and taking part in a very special Christmas concert at St Augustine’s on December 22nd. The weekly joy of getting together at St Mark’s and singing our hearts out cannot be underestimated. We are a very welcoming choir and we embrace new members. Everyone is welcome to come along and join us; no auditions!
It’s a lovely December afternoon. I’m looking forward to singing at Grimsby Minster later as part of the choir for the Advent Carol Service and then to settling down to watch Casablanca with my very best human. I love Advent, probably more than I love Christmas and I wish everyone a whole lot of love and peace.
Following on from our enjoyable National Poetry Day events La Luna is very pleased to announce that in partnership with Riverhead Coffee we will be hosting a regular Poetry Cafe event for poets, writers and audiences to enjoy an afternoon of readings and conversation about writing. The first Poetry Cafe will take place on Thursday 2nd November at Riverhead Coffee between 3.00 -5.00 pm and this first event is open to anyone to come along and read. We plan to run this event monthly and to have many poets and writers from our region joining us.
We were sorry to have to cancel the Poetry Tea today but even poets get poorly and we will reschedule this event as soon as we are able.
Great Grimsby Community Choir GGCC
Following our very happy and successful move to St Mark’s church where we are settling in very nicely GGCC now has a packed autumn schedule of events and performances. We are thrilled to be singing this Sunday as part of The Fisherman’s Memorial Service at Grimsby Minster. The service starts at 2.00 pm and all are welcome to come along. We have some lovely songs to sing including Jo Townell’s arrangements of You Know You’reHome and Cold Winds Blow both by McCarthy and Moon and written specifically about the Grimsby fishing heritage.
Thanks to our friend Ian Pickles at The Peoples Magazine we have a lovely new logo.
For regular information about what GGCC are up to why not like our new Facebook page
It’s a delight to announce the new beginning for the Great Grimsby Community Choir. We will be Singing for Life every Monday evening in our new base, St Mark’s Church, Laceby Road and we are already preparing for our first public performance of this exciting and busy term.
Our inclusive choir is open to anyone over the age of 14 regardless of singing ability or experience. We believe that every unique voice has a place in the choir and that everyone can develop their singing and gain enormous pleasure and satisfaction from the experience. We love singing together and we are constantly adding to our repertoire and trying out new material.
We operate a flexible membership as we understand that people are busy and have many commitments in their lives. Our members come when they can and commit to what they can manage. The weekly fee is just £4 and we also run a raffle and refreshments to add to our resources.
Everyone is welcome to come along and join us and we hope to see lots of new faces this term alongside our fabulous regular members.
I can smell autumn coming in and the damp mornings, busy garden spiders and darkening evenings all testify that the season is changing.
After a turbulent and painful summer here’s hoping that the autumn brings some peace, calm and gentleness for all souls on this great blue planet.
Among the things I am looking forward to is the return of the choir with a fresh start and an independent future which I am pleased to be guiding alongside the supremely talented Jo Townell. The choir has become a central focal point of my life and weekly routine. It is a place of joy and light and sustains me as much as it sustains its members.
I am thrilled that the Fish Tale tourbegins again in October with dates around the country. Being on the road with such consummate musicians and my great friend and jazz champion Gill Wilde is exciting and fun and I am chomping at the bit to get out there.
There are several beautiful, creative projects in the pipeline including two forthcoming La Luna publications and some poetry events and opportunities. I am always grateful that I have so many creative outlets. There have been some very dark days of late and the light that gets in always comes from places of creative energy.
Autumn is a good time to reflect and look for a bit of peace and quiet, if not externally then internally. The equinox on the 21st and the returning darkness open a space for that to happen and I will be taking advantage of this time for just that. We all need that quiet and for the noise of life to abate.