Category Archives: Tower Hamlets

‘Tis the season for Christmas concert!


We’re performing a couple of times this December, and we’d love you to join us! (I mean, what’s a Christmas choir concert without the mandatory audience carol singing?!)

On Wednesday 10th December we are performing our concert Songs of Joy and Peace* at St Paul’s Shadwell as a fundraiser for the wonderful GrowTH night shelter in Tower Hamlets. Tickets are £8 (or £6 concessions) and can be booked in advance by emailing We have some excellent treats of Christmas songs to share with you!

Then on Sunday 21st December we will be leading the carols at the St Paul’s own carol service – all welcome!

Songs of Joy and Peace

* Bonus points if anyone can place the lyric reference!


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Spring Performances!

Spring 2014 Community Concert PosterSpring has sprung (hard to believe the difference from this time last year!), and we’re excited to be performing a couple of times over the next few weeks…

On Saturday 29th March, we are hosting a community concert at St Paul’s Shadwell, performing a range of new material, and welcoming a group of local children and adults for a special performance following on from the music workshops we helped run throughout March. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

The following week, we are performing at the Southbank Centre as part of the Chorus Festival: on Sunday 6th April we will be hosting a song sharing session at 11.30am in the St Paul’s Pavilion, and at 1.30pm we will be performing a 20 minute slot next to the Mandela statue (how cool a performance spot is that?!). We’d love you to come say hello! There are loads of brilliant singing events and activities taking place across the Southbank Centre that whole weekend, so why not make a day of it…?!

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One Year In: A 2013 Retrospective

This time last year, Sing Tower Hamlets was a mere twinkle in its mother’s eye.

At the end of 2012 I was doodling logo ideas, getting my knickers in a twist over what the poster ought to look like (“I want it to feel kind of homemade… approachable… professional but not too slick…!”), and trying to decide exactly what kind of choir we were going to be (“If I say we’ll be singing gospel will that put people off? Does the small number of African songs I know count as ‘world music’?! Just how niche a show tune can a community choir handle?!!”).

Fast forward a year, to 28th December 2013… I’m merrily browsing Facebook after one-too-many mince pies (’tis the season, after all), when I see this status update from a member, one of our basses, who’s been with us since the beginning. (I’m not going to lie, it may have brought a little tear to my eye.)

It’s fun to look back over the year and think of how things have developed. I remember so clearly, as 2012 turned into 2013 and the initial taster session approached, trying my best to focus on planning what we were actually going to sing without getting distracted by musings over how many people it takes to actually constitute a choir anyway. I was obviously thrilled when 20 people showed up that first evening (including a few friends drafted in as a rent-a-crowd, granted!). (And according to the internets, that was plenty, even by conservative estimates – hoorah!) And so, Sing Tower Hamlets was born.

At the end of that first term, we put on our debut concert at St Paul’s church in Shadwell, complete with an audience singalong, choir-baked goods, and freak weather. In the Summer, we joined other local acts to perform in Victoria Park as part of a local Our Big Gig event, and then in December 2013, we put on a joint fundraising concert with Victoria Park Singers, raising over £2000 for GrowTH. But these performances were really just the icing on the cake; the real fun happened week in week out, as a group of people from various walks of life – different ages, backgrounds, and experience of singing – gathered together to make music, and built a little community in the process.


Here at the end of 2013, I am proud to say that Sing Tower Hamlets is no longer just an idea in my head, but a living, breathing, real life CHOIR! (I have a choir! Seriously… it never gets old.) And they really are a great bunch you know: friendly, welcoming, great fun, brilliantly musical, and hailing from all over that most excellent part of London, Tower Hamlets (and beyond, no less!). Some have been with us since the beginning, others just for a term, but all are brought together through a shared love of singing to make up this fab little community choir.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out what our members are saying…

“Sing Tower Hamlets has been the perfect musical addition to my week! It’s a really fun mix of songs, I’ve made a load of great new friends, and every time I come home feeling energised and just plain happy from making music!”

“I felt welcome straight away, and have had great fun getting to know people. It’s been a joy singing together!”

“Singing together is a truly uplifting experience”

“It has been an absolute joy being part of Sing Tower Hamlets. Such a lively and friendly bunch of people all doing something we love once a week to fight the midweek blues. I couldn’t have done without it this Autumn, a real treat!”

…or better still, why not come along and give it a go yourself in 2014? We start back up again on Wednesday 29th January. If you’re stuck for a New Year’s Resolution, how about this one: must. sing. more!

It’s been a great first year… roll on 2014!

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – December 2013

SingTH_Christmas2013-7001462We had a fab evening on Wednesday 11th December performing alongside Victoria Park Singers at St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green. The concert was a fundraiser for the brilliant charity GrowTH which works not only to provide emergency meals and beds for homeless people in Tower Hamlets, but also in securing accommodation longer term for those in need. We are delighted to have raised a total of £1431.77 in ticket sales and donations on the night! And thanks to the generous offer of match funding from one of our member’s companies, we will be able to make a donation of over £2000 to GrowTH. Thank you to all who came, helped out, sang, and donated, to make that possible!

SingTH_Christmas2013-7001585The concert was attended by those staying at the shelter that evening, along with volunteer coordinator Ryan Lynch from the Good Shepherd Mission in Bethnal Green. Before we sang our final carols, Ryan shared how GrowTH exists not only to be Jesus’ hands and feet and meet an important practical need, but also to demonstrate Jesus’ heart of compassion, treating guests not just as clients, but as individuals made in the image of God. This approach was very evident to me when I visited the night shelter a number of times in the lead up to the concert, working with some of the guests to learn those final songs to sing with us on the night. GrowTH is more than just service provision; there is a tangible sense of the “Truly he taught us to love one another” we sang of that night. It was a real privilege to have been involved with GrowTH over the last few months, and we hope to be able to do more with them in the future!





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Christmas 2013 Fundraiser Concert

In just under a month we will be performing a Christmas concert with fellow East London community choir Victoria Park Singers! The concert is on Wednesday 11th December, 8pm, at St Peter’s Bethnal Green… and we’ve been getting well into the festive spirit in rehearsals the past few weeks!

The concert will feature seasonal music including Baby It’s Cold Outside, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and a selection of carols. Our two choirs will bring together 80 singers to perform several joint pieces, as well as our own repertoire, and we hope also to be joined on the night by some guests from the GrowTH night shelter, for which the concert will be raising money.

GrowTH is a great local charity working with Tower Hamlets churches to provide emergency beds and food for homeless people throughout the winter. Last year alone they brought together some 400 local volunteers to provide shelter for 169 people, and helped 54 of those into permanent accommodation. Through this concert we hope to raise as much as possible for this work supporting vulnerable people in our area.

Tickets (£8/£6 concessions) are available from, or on the door.

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Our Big Gig – July 2013

We had a great time performing in the sunshine at Our Big Gig in Victoria Park back in the summer! It was fab to join together with lots of other great local acts – a big YAY to community music in the east end! If you missed it (or didn’t, but want to reminisce!), here are some photos/videos from the day:

Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. Solos by Amy and Nathan!

Photos by Peter Anderson


More photos on our Facebook page!

Come Together by The Beatles. (Piano is a bit loud at the beginning, make sure your speakers aren’t up too loud!)

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Our Big Gig – just 2 weeks to go!

It’s less than two weeks until our performance in Victoria Park as part of a local Our Big Gig event – and we can’t wait!

Our Big Gig is a community music celebration taking place across the UK throughout the weekend of 11-14th July. The event in Victoria Park is on Sunday 14th July, and features various local artists, choirs, an orchestra, a dance group… and of course: Sing Tower Hamlets!

We will be performing at around 4pm on Sunday 14th July – do let us know you’re coming so we can look out for you! We’ve been working hard on a load of new material this term, so we would love to see you there 🙂

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Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the choir is so delightful…

Last Saturday afternoon I had the privilege of directing the debut performance of the Sing Tower Hamlets community choir.

was overwhelmed, honestly, by the sheer joy of it all: by the fact that 19 men and women who sang as a group for the first time less than two months ago gave such a great performance together; by the number of people who braved the ridiculous weather* to come along and support friends and family; by the beautiful sound a room full of people can make together when inflicted with a bit of impromptu audience participation; by the amazing spread of baked goods provided by the choir themselves (if the only thing better than singing is more singing, then the only thing better than more singing is more singing with CAKE).

I’ve spent many years dreaming about running my own choir, so it goes without saying that Saturday was a pretty cool milestone for me. There’s definitely something incredibly satisfying about taking a moment to step back and think: I made this happen. But it’s also very beautiful to see that thing you’ve created taking on a community-gathering, each-other-encouraging, joyful-noise-making life of its own.

To my brilliant choir: I know I’m biased, but you guys are great. Thank you for your hard work up to this point, for a great debut concert, and a super fun first term. Roll on next term!

* Oh yeah – about that, England.  It’s not funny any more.  My doctor’s giving me blood tests to check for vitamin D deficiency.  Blood tests for crying out loud.  We’re all ready for Spring now.  Seriously.  Make it happen.


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And we’re off…!

sth3Getting a group of people in a room together to sing never fails to fill me with joy, and last Wednesday evening (the first session of my new community choir venture) was no exception.  As someone used to doing this, you’d think the excitement might wear thin after a while, but on Wednesday I was excited afresh by the fact that you can gather a newly-formed group of people and within a few hours have them three-part-harmonying their way through Ghanaian folk songs, a funked-up Amazing Grace, and a Fleet Foxes classic.  (So excited, in fact, that I feel at liberty to make the phrase “three part harmony” into a verb.)

After the session, my friend and fellow singing-fanatic Liz wrote a (tiny) poem about it on her blog, and it made me smile so much I thought I’d share it here:

(here is a small

poem about


open your mouth

let out your voice.

stand in a circle

with twenty strangers


let the sound

ring over you.)

Indeed.  Roll on next Wednesday evening!

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Hello and WELCOME to the Sing Tower Hamlets website!

It’s exciting for me to say that for two reasons:

  1. Singing and Tower Hamlets are two of my favourite things.  Needless to say I’m REALLY EXCITED about launching Sing Tower Hamlets as a new community choir in this brilliant borough in a few weeks’ time!
  2. I have a website!  (This is it!  In real time!)  I know, I know: it’s 2013, everyone and his dog has a website.  But it’s my first… which I find exciting!

Sing Tower Hamlets_A4 poster_aHere you can find out all you need to know about Sing Tower Hamlets:

The main purpose of the website is to provide information on the choir both for existing members (watch out for members-only content – ooh!) and for those thinking of visiting/joining.

This blog on the other hand will be used not only to provide Sing Tower Hamlets updates, but also as a space for me to generally enthuse about all-things-singing/choirs, which if you know anything about me, you’ll know I love to do!

Until then… I’m really looking forward to getting the choir off the ground, and I hope to see you on Weds 30th Jan for the taster session!

Leanne x

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