July 16, 2012 by alunparry
Two Songs From The National Street Choir Festival in Bury
I had a great time in Bury over the weekend, damaged finger and all!
For those who don’t know, I fell out of bed (really!) on Thursday morning and fell somehow on my forefinger.
It is now black and blue and swollen but I soldiered on and played the gig on Friday evening nonetheless. Yes, you’re right I am brave!
I believe that my song I Want Rosa To Stay was sung by hundreds in the massed sing on the Saturday. I missed that. If anyone has any video footage, can you tell me where to see it. I’d love to watch that.
Sunday morning was better still though. I had the privilege of leading two songwriting workshops with 25 marvellous people who created two fabulous songs.
I’m really proud of what each group did.
The overwhelming majority are not songwriters but the songs they came up with collectively are of a really high standard, and I expect choirs up and down the country will pick them up and start singing them.
Let me know when this happens!
Each song, astonishingly, was written in less than an hour!
Workshop 1 – Didn’t We Do Well
The first group wanted to recount their feelings of being moved on from Barclays Bank when trying to sing there – you know Barclays, the ones who offer the best fixed rates.
They felt that there was a stark difference between the welcome they got from the people of Bury and the welcome they got from the corporate menace that is Barclays.
(Edit: as Angela writes in the comments, it wasn’t the corporate menace of Barclays after all this time, but the privately owned shopping centre The Rock. So same issue, different corporate villain.)
This song tells the story of how proud they felt to be singing to the people of Bury, and taking a stand against the greed of the banks.
It’s really rousing, and a great story. Here it is. And yes, they did do well.
The songwriters are Maxine Beahan, Ann Attwell, Kathleen Litherland, Fiona Gell, Eleanor Hill, Sarah Lasenby, Neil Devlin, Mike Cox, Cee Martin, Frank Friedmann, Kirsty Martin, Alun Parry.
Workshop 2 – Together We Are Free
This group were keen to explore the feeling of camaraderie and togetherness they had felt throughout the festival weekend.
They wanted to write about the inclusiveness of music, its power to bring people together, and how protest and unity is important, and the role music has to play in that.
One particularly lovely story was the choir who coincidentally began singing a Zimbabwean marriage ceremony song just as a Zimbabwean couple were walking past.
The couple did a double take and then joined in the festivities, singing along with the choir.
This is a lovely, symbolic moment about music’s power to bring people togther – and as the song says, together we are stronger, together we are free.
The songwriters are Julie Burgess, Mirjam Diamanti, Sheila McAnulty, Brian Butcher, Jane Dudman, Sue Bailey, Mary Cooper, Janet Swan, Malika Street, Don Ramage, Julie Burnage, Helen Everett, Sarah Westcott, Alun Parry.
If you would like to work with me helping you to create new songs then contact me on my contact page. I’d love to hear from you.