Moving forward

Alton Sings is now trialling an afternoon slot at Heathmere School in Alton Road
As suspected it was a pretty crazy idea trying to combine choir practice within a working school full of children, crossing lunchtime and school pick up during the last week of term! However we all survived. I am incredibly grateful to the school staff and I hope somewhere in the school the sound of us singing gave a different soundscape to lessons for the children

Interestingly two of the mums who came to the taster session came back and sang with us, which was lovely. There was one other new face who had seen a flyer in the library and he had travelled from Southfields so was not local. EVERYONE else (and there was 14 of us in total) was already part of the evening choir
This is positive in that Alton Sings now has a ‘core’ but saddened me a little that the project couldn’t allow for more time and money for me to really do a further promotional push. More on this later but I am convinced that further promotional push was not going to come from more flyers, the Roehampton Voice newsletter, but from me walking the streets and talking and doing this over a sustained period of time. School pick up time would have been the most useful – to carve out an hour at each school to talk in the playground. Also to visit each and every Community Clubroom in turn as well as to get to talk to the participants at 166 and Eastwood, not just staff. To visit Regenerate when the young people were in. I did well with the older persons’ projects in Putney and Minstead Gardens, but that degree of sitting down and talking to everyone personally in all those settings would have taken the equivalent of a full week ie 35 hours – time that was simply not in the proposal. It would however, I am sure, been time well spent. When I worked at the Royal Brompton hospital leading singing there for those with lung conditions, it was the sitting by the bedside and talking to people that persuaded them to come, not flyers or staff mentioning it but the personal touch and the support of a small group of staff and patients who had attended and felt the benefits

It would have also been preferable to not have the project run across the school summer holidays as it was promoted as an adult choir, many parents will be looking after children, despite my welcome to young people, if accompanied
Today is midway report time. Will post when finished. For now you may be interested to read a larger monitoring and evaluation of a similar projects nationally run by Making Music. Excellent report written by Kathryn Deane, the CEO of SoundSense the community music organisation.