Sing Day on June 16th gives young and old a chance to try singing together

A Sing Day on June 16th is bringing together a rare combination of Oxfordshire’s musical talents for a day of singing and performance, which all members of the public with an interest in singing are invited to join.

Peter Hunt, one of Oxfordshire’s most popular choral conductors, and editor of the ‘Voiceworks’, a handbook of music created especially for choirs, published by OUP, will be leading the Sing Day. Taking place in Chipping Norton School on Saturday June 16th from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, it will conclude with an evening performance in St Mary’s Church Chipping Norton at 5.30 pm.

Elizabeth MacLeod interviewed Paul Cann who commissioned the piece by Bob Chilcott originally for Oxfordshire Age UK.

The music for the day includes Vivaldi’s Gloria which has been described as ‘a wonderfully sunny piece of music, and glorious fun to sing.’ Many people will be familiar with this short choral work and enjoy singing a well-known favourite, while a further treat on the day will be singing Bob Chilcott’s ‘The Voyage.’ This piece of music was specially commissioned from the composer Bob Chilcott who lives in Oxfordshire, by Paul Cann on behalf of Age UK Oxfordshire.

“It really will be a special day. It never ceases to delight and amaze me, the musical talent here in Oxfordshire. If you are a regular singer or want to discover your voice perhaps for the first time, or the first time in a long while, this is the perfect event for you,” said Peter Hunt.

“Our own Chipping Norton Choral Society will be there, plus we’ll be joined by a youth choir so it will be a fun and welcoming day,” he continued.

‘The Voyage’ describes the journey through life, with composer Bob Chilcott’s hall-mark luscious melodies and delightful harmonies, plus haunting, and occasionally humorous words written by the award-winning poet, Charles Bennett.

Divided into nine sections, or verses, these lines are taken from verse five, “The Shipping Forecast”:

“Dogger, Fisher, German Bight,
Steer me safely through the night.
Gale Force Nine and Storm Force Ten,
Let me see dry land again”…

The piece was originally commissioned to highlight the issue of loneliness in old age, an issue which is now formally recognised as affecting all age groups, with the government creating a Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, earlier this year. These lines are from the final verse nine of ‘The Voyage’ called Boatsong:

“I am the mast: a tree among the waves,
I hold the sail where once I held the leaves….”

The music is a great testimony to Paul Cann who commissioned it, as it is now performed by people of all ages, helping them to enjoy the camaraderie and community spirit which comes from singing together.

“The physical and emotional benefits of singing are now well known,” said Paul Cann, ‘so I hope lots of people will use this Sing Day as a chance to experience the thrill of singing together…Do come and join our Sing Day, consider it a little ‘work-out’ for body and soul!” he said.

Tickets for singers are £25 for the whole day including score hire and the performance with professional musicians including the highly regarded piano and organ recitalist, Bernard West. They can be bought online at:

Tickets for audience at the evening performance are £5 for adults, under 16s free.

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