Mr Mondialisation Runs With the Story

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Romain emails me on Christmas Day to say that the Mr Mondialisation alternative news website has shared the video and publicised the recording both here and on their Facebook page. Again, way to go. 🙂

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Aftenposten Front Page

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The refugee chorus recording of Happy Xmas the War is Over makes it to the front page of Norway’s Leading Newspaper Aftenposten today, December 24th.

This is one of a number of big hits that the recording has recorded on social media. Way to go, guys. You did a great job. Once again, many thanks to recording team of Luke and pals. Producer Kate Bond. Chorus leader Romain Malan and the singers from every corner of London.


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Happy Xmas Teaser

Hi Folks

Kate and Luke have turned round the full video, the recording and this teaser in great record time. Thanks to them. Please spread the word – and download the track on iTunes so that money goes to the organisations involved.

It is now live here. Please share as much as you can. You can pre-order the track here and it will be available to download on Friday December 18th.

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Happy Christmas The War is Over


Got an email, late on Monday – a week ago today – from Kate Bond, a journalist who works a lot with Unicef and Unesco, saying she and music producer Luke Smith of Flesh and Bone Studios were trying to put together, at short notice, a version of John Lennon’s 1971 song Happy Christmas the War is Over – to be sung by a chorus of refugees and asylum seekers.

Of course, with a studio date less than five days away, the task seemed impossible, but with the help, support and encouragement of the the Sanctuary Voices regs, Tori Longdon, Isabella Fletcher and Nav Arles, not to mention Chris and Andy at the Islington Centre, Bethan and Emma at Praxis and Simin and Jasmina at Refugee Women’s Association, we got a choir together and recorded the piece on Saturday December 12th on the nail.

RomainNeither Tori, Isabella, Nav or Grace could lead the choir at such short notice but step into the breach with style and professionalism: Romain Malan, colleague of Isabella and ex-student of Chrissie Tiller on the Goldsmiths MA.

And it wasn’t only Romain; everybody did a fabulous job. Luke was great in studio, calm and encouraging, food was provided, travel expenses covered,  a great film crew assembled and everyone left on a high.

A storyboard is now being finalised and, on Friday December 18th, hopefully, we release.

The most special mention has to go to the singers, though. It was they who found the time and the voice and the love to make this happen. In that we are the most blessed.

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Good Chance Calais – January


Rachel Griffiths and Steve Tiller have been liaising with the Young Vic Theatre team and the Good Chance Calais space to visit in January. We intend to spend a few days there recce-ing before we make a regular monthly visit of drama and music workshops.

The end goal, hopefully in Refugee Week June 2016, is a concert with singers from the Jungle Camp in Calais and professional opera singers, together on stage in a production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul. An opera written in the late 1940’s it examines the refugee crisis following World War 2 and the reluctance of the US, Britain and other allies to welcome those who had been displaced by the conflict.

However, The Consul is no dry political tract. It’s a piece of dark and lush music theatre with a moving and powerful story of one woman’s struggle to escape repression and persecution.

Good Chance CalaisSanctuary Voices, along with OperaMachine has already made two versions of the piece since 2011 but, sadly, its themes become more relevant as the years go by.

The need to do it, more urgent.

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Tori Longdon

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Conductor, Singer And Arranger, Tori currently studies at the Royal Academy of Music under Patrick Russill. She graduated with first class honours from the University of Durham and, apart from her work with Sanctuary Voices, now directs a variety of ensembles including the Templar Scholars, Hertfordshire youth choir and the High Wycombe Youth Choir in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, St. Martin in the fields, Southwark cathedral and Wembley arena.

Tori is also assistant conductor of the London Youth Choir Choral Scholars and a section leader for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Not to mention on the judging panel of Gareth Malone’s BBC The Naked Choir.

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Isabella Fletcher

Isabella FletcherWe’re delighted to welcome Isabella Fletcher to the team as a workshop facilitator and chorus leader. Isabella is an accomplished musician and performer in her own right who studied clarinet at the renowned Guildhall School of Music. She also plays a number of other instruments including piano. She has extensive experience of working both in the UK and abroad within challenging contexts, including performances in IDP camps in Georgia in association with the British Council and the EUMM, and with the charity Bridges Across Borders, which works with communities in the former Yugoslavia. She is currently completing her MA in Participatory and Community Arts at Goldsmiths University. Isabella also performs as the clarinettist and exuberant bandleader par excellence of the 13 piece Trans-Siberian March Band whose repertoire ranges from Klezmer to Turkish, Russian and Latin tunes. Time Out recently said this about TSMB:

“Balkan Ska meets Ottoman Battle-Punk in The Trans-Siberian’s obscenely infectious brass blow-out”

The Band has played at Glastonbury, WOMAD, The Royal Festival Hall, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Kensington Palace, The Thames Festival, Union Chapel, HMV Kentish Town Forum, Henley Festival, The Barbican Centre, The National Theatre, Rich Mix, as well as recently with renowned hip-hop turntable master DJ Yoda at the Roundhouse.

TSMB Henley

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National Lottery Awards 2013

Lottery Awards

Some exciting news. We got a phone call on Friday Feb 22nd 2013.

National Lottery have been in touch with Arts Council England (ACE) with requests for outstanding arts projects to be included in their 2013 National Lottery Awards Ceremony, to be held in October. The Awards come in eight categories with ‘The Arts’ as one category.

And ACE put forward The Wedding Collective’s 2011 project, The Consul. Yay.

So, we’re on their radar … Watch this space.

A big thanks, then, to everyone who was involved in the work, singers, chorus, tech team, design, direction, FOH, press/marketing! Please follow this blog – for updates on the situation – and kindly tell your friends to follow us as well.

We’ll also put stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

Steve T 🙂

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