Vox Holloway (Latin: “the voice of Holloway”) was started in autumn 2009 as a community choral society for all – no auditions, no professions of faith required, no previous experience of choral singing required – with St Luke’s as its home, welcomed and supported by St Luke’s, but to include participants from far and wide who would not necessarily consider attending a church of any kind.
At its first concert. ‘The Messiah’ in December 2009, the choir raised £6,000 for the Umthombo Street Children project in Durban South Africa. At its second, ‘Requiem in Blue’ by Harvey Brough, performed on Palm Sunday, we raised £14,000 for the DEC Haiti appeal. Both were performed to a packed house.
Its director, Justin Butcher, Organist and Choirmaster at St Luke’s, says: ‘I think my key inspiration is my conviction that singing, perhaps more than any other art form, connects us most profoundly to the mystery of who and what we are – body, mind and spirit – at the same time as connecting us to each other. It’s a crime that so many people grow up thinking they can’t sing and miss out on something that should be both fun, creative and sociable but also a primal encounter with the Divine in the midst of life.’
Our next concert, ‘The Year of Jubilee’ is on Monday April 1st at 7.30pm.
This is a programme of African-American spirituals and gospel music, based on the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a choir of emancipated slaves which set out in the 1860s to raise money for their university in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the only American university to admit black students at that time. They toured the United States and Europe and astounded audiences everywhere with the power and beauty of their music, the plantation spirituals and ‘songs of sorrow’ that had never been heard before on a public stage. In London, they performed before Queen Victoria and the Prime Minister and the great and the good of the land to universal acclaim, but they also performed at one of the ‘Ragged Schools’ in Hackney (a series of schools across the country founded for orphaned and poor children), where the pupils were so impressed that they started their own choir to sing the same kind of music. This, as far as anyone can tell, was the first ‘white gospel’ choir anywhere in the world.
2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States (which precipitated the American Civil War), and so our musical retelling of the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers will also be our annual charity fund-raising concert, for the Not For Sale Campaign, a remarkable US-based organisation which campaigns against modern-day slavery. There is more slavery in the world today – literal bonded slavery, child slavery, economic slavery and sex trafficking – than there was in 1863, and slavery of all kinds is alive and well here in the UK, so this is an urgent matter for our energy and attention.
Tickets £12 and £5 concessions
Donate on Just Giving – http://www.justgiving.com/VoxHolloway-TheYearOfJubilee
Or text VOXH13 £5 to 70070
Rehearsals are every Tuesday at 7.30pm at the church. Further info: 07970 785641 firstname.lastname@example.org