Learn folk songs from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland all arranged for voice only. No experience needed – just a love of singing!
"Your sessions are fantastic and I encourage everyone I know to come along. The music is great, your enthusiasm is fantastic and you show all who come that they can sing."
My latest newsletter has just gone out to everyone on my mailing list. It makes pretty grim reading I'm afraid. I've cancelled all my singing events for the rest of 2020.
The pandemic has given me the opportunity to think about the future and how many singing events I want to run each year. I'm not getting any younger (!), so have decided to reduce the amount of work and travelling that I do. That means that I'll be letting some of my regular singing events go. Locally, Sing Out Saturdays in both Hadleigh and Wivenhoe will be no more, and I will no longer be contributing to the singing sessions in Hartest two or three times a year with immediate effect. I will also be cutting back on the number of one-off singing days that I run. I plan to continue with three or four residential weekends each year.
It's autumn now and six months since I ran my last singing workshop! We've slowly started getting used to the "new normal", people are wearing masks and social distancing has become second nature. The government guidance is even allowing singing groups to meet again, both indoors and outdoors.
Unfortunately, I'm not comfortable with either of these at present. We're probably heading for a second spike in cases over the autumn/ winter period, and many of the singers who come to my events are in the older/ more vulnerable category.
This means that I have cancelled ALL my singing events for the rest of 2020. I have some venues pre-booked for 2021, but I won't be announcing any dates until I'm absolutely sure that the events can take place safely. Fingers crossed!
Government advice during the COVID-19 pandemic is changing regularly. Given the current advice, it is unlikely that my monthly Sing Out Saturdays sessions in Hadleigh and Wivenhoe will be starting up again in September.
I have cancelled my Dartford singing day on Saturday 11 July and my Winchester singing day on Saturday 26 September
My other singing days from September onwards are still open, but this will almost certainly change so please keep an eye on this website. If you've already booked on a singing weekend or singing day, I will contact you directly by email to keep you informed.
You might find my recent blog post useful: How to sing together in times of isolation
Stay safe and let's hope we're back singing together soon!!
Many people are concerned about whether singing events such as choir rehearsals, concerts and singing workshops are going ahead. The current advice from the UK government is to carry on as normal for the moment. But please don't attend if you have any symptoms of a respiratory illness or 'flu. And definitely don't attend if you are returning from a country at high risk or have been in contact with someone who has.
You can find some very useful information about hand washing, shaking hands, etc. on the Making Music website which also has links to further government and NHS information.
And here's a great piece about the new coronavirus and social dancing (which applies equally well to singing events): Dance in the time of Corona: A primer and suggestions on the novel Coronavirus and social dancing.
I've created a fabulous new singing weekend where you will learn Western Classical pieces arranged especially for voices only. Not choral works, but pieces adapted for a cappella. All in a wonderful Lake District setting. I will be teaching all the songs by ear. There are still some places left, especially for MALE VOICES! To give you an idea of the kind of thing to expect, I've made a playlist of six of the songs that I plan to arrange. You can find them on my YouTube channel.
My latest newsletter is out today! It contain details of all my workshops from July to December 2020. Booking is now open on this website. If you didn't get your own copy, you can read the latest newsletter here. Make sure you're signed up to my mailing list to get my next newsletter in September. Weekends sell out very fast!
I'm off to Mexico for a month in January, which means that my newsletter will be slightly delayed. It comes out in mid-February and will contain details of all my workshops from July to December 2020. Booking will open on this website at the same time. Make sure you're signed up to my mailing list to get your own copy. Weekends sell out very fast!
Around 50 keen singers performed a set of Paul Simon songs to a capacity audience in Ipswich last Saturday. After just six rehearsals they had learnt eight songs in full 3- and 4-part harmony without an instrument or backing track in sight. Joining them on the night were local band Calling Birds. Their Paul Simon arrangements using guitar, melodeon, violin, bass and harmony singing complemented the choir perfectly. The audience even joined in with Cecilia at the end! You'll be able to see some of the highlights on my YouTube channel over the coming weeks.
Chris has put six new arrangements of well-known British Christmas carols on his sheet music page. They are all very simple, mostly three-part and have been successfully taught to audiences at the end of Christmas concerts. So if you've left things a bit late and are still looking for Christmas repertoire, you know where to find it!
The new arrangements can be found in a separate Christmas carols tab on the sheet music page. You can also find other Christmas songs in the main catalogue: Sans Day carol (Cornwall), O come Emmanuel, Silent night/Stille nacht and Away upon the mountain top/Da droben am berge.
Chris has created a pop-up choir from 50 local singers to learn acappella versions of some of Paul Simon's best-loved songs. They will be performing for one night only in Ipswich on Saturday 30 November. Sharing the bill will be local band Calling Birds with their unique take on their set of Paul Simon songs.
There are just two places for men and two places for women left on the Harmony singing retreat (level 2) – one voice to a part weekend next March. If you've tried singing with one voice to each harmony part before, and want to improve your harmony singing skills in a small group of just 16 singers, this is a great opportunity. Early bird deadline is 27 December, after which it will cost an extra £20 per person for the weekend.
The autumn edition of Chris's twice-yearly newsletter goes out today with details of all his singing weekends and other singing workshops from January to June 2020. They are all now on sale on this website. Click to read the newsletter online.
You can now find details of the six-week pop-up choir project to celebrate Paul Simon's long songwriting career. Starts in Ipswich on Tuesday 22 October leading to a one-off performance on Saturday 30 November.
Booking is now open for a Georgian and African singing day in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire on Saturday 5 October. Join me to share the delights of two of the world's oldest and most inspiring singing traditions.
Booking is now open for my in Hursley near Winchester on Saturday 9 November. But places are going fast (only 16 left as I write).
You can book on the Sing Winchester website.
All my remaining singing weekends for 2019 have now sold out. Do drop me a line if you want to go on the waiting list for any of them in case there are any cancellations.
I will be announcing all my singing weekends that take place between January 2020 and June 2020 in my next newsletter which goes out in mid-September. Do make sure you've signed up to my mailing list to be the first to know.
- Shortnin' bread (USA)
- Ah ya zein (Egypt)
- MacTavish is dead (Ireland)
- Sevivon (Jewish)
- He puru taitama (New Zealand Maori)
- Kalinka (Russia)
- Keep on the sunny side (USA)
- All around my hat (England)
- Morning has broken (Scotland/England).
Most of this year's remaining singing weekends are already sold out, and the rest have limited spaces. Plus we need more men on some of the weekends, especially the Beach Boys, American harmonies and Experienced singers weekends.
Here is the remaining availability:
- Beach Boys bonanza, Wye Valley, 3-5 May: only two superior twins/doubles remaining + men needed!
- American harmony singing traditions, near Peterborough, 14-16 June: one or two places left for men only; singles, twins or non-residential.
- Sacred songs to soothe the soul, Lake District, 26-28 July: only one superior room left, plenty of singles and standard twins/doubles. Early bird discount ends 26 April
- Experienced singers weekend, Cambridgeshire, 1-3 November: almost full for women, three men needed.
50 local singers will be joined by Scunsulata from Norfolk for an evening of songs from around the world at St. Mary's Church, Woodbridge on Saturday 23 March. An evening of song to stir the soul and warm the heart.
Tickets can be bought on the door. There will be a collection on the night for the charity WaterAid (improving access to safe water and sanitation).
The annual Woodbridge Singing Safari (create a choir from scratch in just six rehearsals) sets off on Thursday 14 February, ending in a concert on Saturday 23 March. It's still not too late to join us.
There are still some places on the Beach Boys weekend in the Wye Valley 3-5 May 2019. All single rooms have gone, but there are plenty of twins and doubles. Come with a friend. We also need more MEN! The early bird deadline is Friday 1 February, after which the weekend will cost an extra £20 per person.
I am slowly compiling a list of accessibility information for all the weekend and singing day venues that I use. It is a work in progress and I'd appreciate any feedback you can give. Most workshop pages now have a link to the accessibility information page. Let me know what you think.
I send a newsletter out to everyone on my mailing list twice a year: once in mid-September and once in mid-January. My next newsletter will be sent out on the afternoon of Wednesday 16 January and will contain news of all my forthcoming workshops – one-day and weekends – for the second half of 2019 (July onwards). The workshops will go on sale at the same time on my website.
I have just designed a brand new singing day: An introduction to mindful singing taking place in Woodbridge on Saturday 26 January 2019. Improve your harmony singing skills in a smaller group. Strictly limited to 20 singers (five places reserved for men). Advance booking essential.
I have been invited to St. Osyth near Clacton-on-Sea to run a Harmony singing day on Saturday 23 February. It's only just been announced and has generated a lot of interest already! Price includes a delicious lunch and lots of cakes.
There is still a place for ONE MAN on the Better harmony singing weekend 29-31 March 2019. The early bird deadline is Friday 28 December, after which the weekend will cost an extra £20.
There are also plenty of places on the Beach Boys weekend in the Wye Valley 3-5 May 2019. All single rooms have gone, but there are plenty of twins. Come with a friend. We also need more MEN! The early bird deadline is Friday 1 February, after which the weekend will cost an extra £20.
I visit London twice a year to run harmony singing days: once in May and once in October. I've just added next May's singing day to the website and booking is now open. You can find more information on the London singing day page.
I also make an annual visit to Kenilworth in Warwickshire in early June. I used to live in Coventry, so it's a bit like going home!
For those of you who don't know (yet), every month I publish a roundup of interesting snippets about music and singing that I've been collecting over the years on my Facebook page.
It comes out on the first of the month and contains eight music articles, a song of the month, and a blog post of mine that you might have missed. It's easy to sign up to get your own copy (and read archived copies). Just pop over here: tinyletter.com/chrisrowbury and put your email address in. You'll then get every issue arriving in your inbox on the first of each month. Simples!
In October 2018 an intrepid bunch of singers set off from Ipswich on an imaginary Singing Safari to collect songs from all over the world. Their journey ends in Ipswich in November where they will share the songs they've learnt at St. Peter's by the Waterfront.
This promises to be an evening of singing to stir the soul, warm the heart, and revive the spirits on a cold winter's night, all sung in glorious harmony. We are delighted to be joined for the first time by the Columbines folk trio.
For some reason men leave it until the last minute to book on my workshops. That means that many of the workshops end up with just one or two men and loads of women. But if I put a call out nearer the time, the men come flocking and happily book. Why is that?
So men: you are needed on my Better harmony singing: the small group challenge weekend near St. Neots in March 2019, my Beach Boys weekend in May 2019 in the Wye Valley and my American harmony singing traditions weekend near Peterborough in June 2019. Sign up now and bring your manly voices to the mix!
I have now heard back from the Wye Valley venue, Lindors Country House Hotel, with costs for 2019.
You can find full information, prices and booking form for the Beach Boys weekend there 3 - 5 May 2019 on the Beach Boys page.
On the first of each month I publish a roundup of articles, song clips, videos and other interesting snippets that I've collected on my Facebook page over the years.
This month's issue includes: What's behind stage fright? Examining the nature of silence; Alice Parker on a life lived in song; Do you have perfect pitch? 12 things you only know if you sing in a choir; Song of the month: the spiritual Keep your lamps trimmed and burning; and more!
Sign up here for your own copy and to read past issues: tinyletter.com/chrisrowbury
I send a newsletter out to everyone on my mailing list twice a year: once in mid-September and once in mid-January. This autumn newsletter contains news of all my forthcoming workshops – one-day and weekends – for the first half of 2019. The January newsletter will cover the rest of the year.
I now run three Singing Safaris each year (basically six weekly rehearsals to create a choir from scratch): a spring one in Woodbridge, a summer one in Colchester and an autumn one in Ipswich.
This year's autumn Safari will set off from Ipswich on Tuesday 16 October ending in an evening's concert at St Peter's by the Waterfront on Saturday 24 November. I am delighted to announce that this year we will be joined by the Columbines folk trio.
You can find full information on the singing workshops page. If you have no idea what a Singing Safari is, you can find out more on the workshop themes page.
I've just added 13 new songs to my set of song arrangements. Quite a few of them are British folk songs, and many are in English. There are also some tasty songs from Kenya and Tanzania as well as a cheeky vocal arrangement of the theme tune from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Songs are very cheap and you only need to buy one copy regardless of how many singers you have. Pop over to the song arrangements page and have a browse.
Sing Out Saturdays are monthly drop-in singing sessions which take place on the third Saturday of each month: mornings in Hadleigh and/ or afternoons in Wivenhoe. Ideal for those who love to sing, but don't like commitment! Just turn up when you can.
We always have a summer break in July and August, but will be back with new songs and new faces on Saturday 15 September. Full information on the Hadleigh or Wivenhoe pages or on the Sing Out Saturdays website.
I've been putting it off for ages, but have finally got round to updating my website design! Most importantly, the website is now fully responsive which means that it should be as easy to use on mobile phones and tablets as on your desktop. Do let me know what you think or if you find something that doesn't work or is a bit clunky. Enjoy!
Next singing workshop
Learn folk songs from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland all arranged for voice only. No experience needed – just a love of singing!
Be the first to hear about Chris's singing workshops. Fill in the form below and he will email you whenever there's a singing workshop in your area. You'll also receive two newsletters each year with details of Chris's UK singing weekends.