Rehearsals and planning for the premiere of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! are well under way, and the evening promises to be great. The monk's outfits are ready for their first fitting this evening, and the lion mask has got its mane.
If you'd like to help us promote the evening, e.g. by handing out flyers to friends, hang posters at school, local shops and cafes, or promote it on social media, you can find a printable poster here.
Also check out James Olsen's latest vlog, featuring a couple of clips from the rehearsals last week!
Welcome back to the summer term at BJC/BYV. Here's a short update on what is going on:
Opera: One of Our Brothers is a Lion!
We are close to havng raised the total funds for our very own commissioned opera. We'd like to say a huge Thank You to everyone - individuals and businesses - for their support with this project. If you'd like to donate, there's still time to raise those last pounds to reach our target. Please contact Niamh for more details.
Bring a Friend to Choir
It's time for the Bring a Friend to Choir rehearsal! You are invited to bring a friend to the reherasal on Wednesday May 24th for a free taster session. On this date we will take a break from our usual songs so that everyone can join in. It's usually a well appreciated event, so do ask your friends if they'd like to come along.
Fees are now due for the summer term. We appreciate payment by bank transfer or cheque. Please contact Niamh if you require a fee slip, which includes details of fees and how to pay. We also appreciate if you fill out the Gift Aid form for donations, if you haven't done so already.
A big thank you to parents who helped out at rehearsals in the spring time, and to those who have so far volunteered to cover this term. We rely on parent support during rehearsals to ensure they run smoothly and so that John can focus on leading the rehearsals. It's also a lovely way to gain insight into all the hard work the children and John put in and how concerts come together. There are still plenty of spaces open, so please let Niamh know if there is a Wednesday you can help out.
Please check the events diary for important dates.
Grace has set up a new Instagram account for BJC & BYV.
Make sure to follow and like us here: https://www.instagram.com/beckenhamjunior/
You can tell when musicians have worked together for some time - and with Beckenham Youth Voices it sounds and looks like a group of friends working happily together. We had a typically varied concert in St. George's Church on thr morning of April 1st: music from “South Pacific”, folks songs, pop songs from the 1960s and 1970s, a number from “H M S Pinafore”.
There was also a stunning performance of Bach on the ’cello from Anna. Miriam accompanied one song on the flute and we had a solo song from Salvador (a new member to the Choir this season) and a trio singing in the Gilbert and Sullivan piece. There was a consistently high standard of performance and an appreciative audience. At this concert we were able to promote the James Olsen’s opera, including lion-looking cakes to eat and a selection of masks to see. The Church kindly gave us a donation of £30 (gift aided!), even though they had invited us.
Yvonne Adebola, former BYV member and now aged 24 and living in Barnehurst, especially wanted to return to sing an item. It is rewarding to see how one-time singers with us have moved on so well in their lives. Oliver and Joe, also former members, came to hear the concert.
You can see some photographs by Nick Charles here - remember to enter your password - ask us if you need it as we don't send it out by the website!
Well done to Youth Voices - you are going from strength to strength!
Chloe has set up an Instagram account for BJC & BYV photos. Follow the account, and see photos and videos from the concert here: https://www.instagram.com/beckenhamjunior/
Rehearsals for our opera One of our Brothers is a Lion! have started. The composer James Olsen has put together a video of the first rehearsals which is available on YouTube.
The spring edition of our twice-yearly newsletter, Singalong, is now out. Please read it here.
Singalong is also distributed as a paper version to our choir members and Friends of the Choirs. If you would like to become a Friend of the Choirs, or subscribe to the paper version, please contact John.
Message to Beckenham Junior Choir families:
Next term we start back on April 19th. (not the week after, as we may have said at one point). The opera is progressing well and it is all very exciting!
Please remember to
Have a good holiday!
On Saturday 11 March, Beckenham Junior Choir descended on the church of St. Michael and All Angels in Penge to start of the concert season of 2017. It was a lovely, much appreciated tribute to Spring by the children.
The composer James Olsen talked a little about our upcoming opera, One of our Brothers is a Lion, and showed off the beautiful lion and donkey masks for the opera created by our talented parent, Michaela.
Michaela has asked for scrap materials to create the lion mane with and to make it a personal mask with contributions from everyone in the choir - so if you have any remnants of materials, ribbons, etc. in orange, yellows or browns that can be used for a lion's mane, please bring them along to choir practice!
Jenny raised much-appreciated additional funds for the opera through her cupcake sales, so a big thank you to everyone who contributed by baking or eating cake!
If you have pictures from the concert that can go on the web site, please contact me.
Our next concert is on April 1st, when BYV return to St. George's Church on Beckenham High Street for a morning of song and music.
If you have the possibility, we would much appreciate if you could print out a few posters and hang e.g. in your local shop, cafe or school. Please click on the image below for a printable version of the poster.
We have some exciting news!
BJC and BYV are about to sing in an opera entitled One of our Brothers is a Lion! that is being written especially for them.
Composer and former BJC pianist, James Olsen is writing an children’s opera for BJC/BYV to be premiered at our concert on Saturday 20th May. The story is based on the medieval legend(from the Legenda Aurae by Voragine) of Saint Jerome who removes a thorn from a lion’s paw; the lion becomes his companion and makes a home inthe monastery, only then to get into trouble when the brothers think he has eaten the monastery’s donkey…
And... we need your help to make this amazing opportunity for our children happen!
We need to raise a total of £5,500 to cover the opera commission and staging expenses. Although timescales are short, we believe that this is such an amazing opportunity that between us all we can do it! Thanks to the generosity of our friends and supporters, we have already exceeded our initial goal of raising £2,000 by the end of February!
Please contact us if you would like to contribute, or if you have any fundraising ideas.
For more information, see the brochure containing all the information about the project.
Save the dates
- Saturday, May 20: first performance of the opera for BJC and BYV (please note that this is a new date for BYV).
- Saturday, July 1: second performance in Broadstairs.
A concert to celebrate the history of Clock House on May 7th 2016, performed by BJC and BYV
Among the 100-strong audience at this celebratory concert were Mary Blyton and guest composer Gary Higginson, a student of Carey Blyton. The concert premiered a piano piece "Inventions on a theme of Carey Blyton" by Gary - played by John Webber. The choirs sang a wide range of music from David Bowie's "Starman" and the Carpenters' "Top of the world" to the James Horner theme for the film "Titanic." Both choirs (and some parents) sang "A La Cart," a tribute to Mozart's inventive music.
Here are some words by Cliff Watkins - originator of the Clock House festival and enthusiastic promotor of local Beckenham history.
Cliff Watkins - Historian and Local co-organiser of the Clock House Festival 2016
The concert raised over £260 for the restoration fund for the organ at the Beckenham Baptist Church at Elm Road in a retiring collection, and we are continually grateful for the support we receive from the Rev. Neil Drasey and the Church community in staging our concert here and the weekly practice in the room where Enid Blyton attended Sunday school as a young child living in Beckenham!
There are some photographs taken by Nick Charles to see here - enter your password when on the gallery page, If you need a password please contact Niamh here.
Spring concert March 19th, performed by BJC and BYV
And it was a fantastic concert too.
We had excellent solos, well-prepared group singing, fabulous musicians and it was lovely to have Yvonne back with us to perform (along with Fernando on the piano).
Thank you to Amanda Glynn for her work behind the scenes getting the concert organised, to Ant for fetching, carrying and setting up the sound system, and to all the other parents that helped out in various ways. We couldn't have done it without you."
There are some photographs taken by Mary Davies to see here ( please enter your choir password on the Photobox album page.)
Father's Day celebration of Bowie's Bandstand - a summer concert performed by BJC and BYV
The weather stayed dry and the songs kept coming!
Forty choir children aged 6 to 16 from Beckenham Junior Choir (BJC) and Beckenham Youth Voices (BYV) entertained over 200 people at the Croydon Road Recreation Ground in Beckenham on Sunday 19th June. We gave a free open air concert and the choirs sang a medley of songs with huge enthusiasm, including ‘Mums and Dads’ by Lionel Bart from the 1962 musical Blitz chosen specially for Father’s Day.
The elegant late Victorian bandstand has a long tradition of hosting singers, although sadly its state of disrepair means that its time may soon be up. Perhaps the most famous of the bandstand’s artists was David Bowie who performed there in 1969 at the Beckenham Arts Lab Growth Summer Festival. The Beckenham-based pop star also wrote his top hit Life of Mars on the steps of the bandstand. Fittingly Beckenham Youth Voices gave an inspiring rendition of Bowie’s song Starman, which they were asked to sing again as an encore to close the concert.
A fan of the bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Roger Bahari, who has started a facebook page entitled Beckenham Bowie, attended the concert with his family. He commented afterwards:
There are some lovely photographs taken on the day to see here from Ali Holder
The Bowie Bandstand restoration appeal
aims to raise much needed funds for the repair of this important community musical venue.
A fundraising concert Bowie's Beckenham Oddity will take place on August 13th.
Tickets can be purchased here: wegottickets.com/event/363779.
There is a bandstand donation page online bromley.gov.uk/info/200073/
Thanks to the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground for hosting us and for the seating for our audience!
Sketch of the concert by Emiline Beroud
Photograph by Cliff Watkins
On Saturday 2nd July, the church of St. Michael and All Angels in Sydenham hosted Beckenham Junior Choir;the junior choir of St. John's East Dulwich; Beckenham Youth Voices and some choir parents - in a varied programme of singing and instrumentals. (The adults were quite well-behaved!)
This from John Webber:
This is the end of a term in which the Junior Choir has gained eight new members. We look forward to a much needed holiday period and the chance to start back in September with the songs still ringing in our ears!
Best wishes for the Summer holidays ahead and new members are welcome to join us in September"
Our final BJC/YV meeting of the academic year will be this Wednesday, July 6th, when we meet for a picnic at Croydon Road Recreation ground (near the bandstand) from 6pm. Please bring food and a picnic blanket. If the weather looks bad I will send out an email late afternoon with possible alternative arrangements.
If you have not already handed in your named folder, please bring it on Wednesday and hand to John.
Also, if anyone has photos from Saturday's concert that they would be happy to share on our website (password protected) please let me know.
Choir resumes on Wednesday September 14th , 6.00pm for BJC and 7.20pm for BYV.
There will be details of autumn/winter concert dates shortly before the new term resumes.
BJC parents, if you have not already added your names to our Doodle rota for September, please do so ASAP. Let me know if you need the link again. I will be sending out the final dates next week.
Many thanks, and have a glorious summer.
Oh, and one final request from John: