Children in Salisbury recently took part in a truly collaborative event when Regional Makaton tutor Sonia Sansom teamed up with Multitude of Voyces to orchestrate a signed and sung performance of some Christmas favourites in St Thomas’s church in the centre of the city.
Multitude of Voyces supports Inclusive Community through music by combining the skills of local musicians, teachers, priests, music therapists, writers and performers to draw together groups of the community who may not usually work together. They co-ordinate events, taking care to draw in those who may have special needs, or for whom participation in public events is not easily achievable.
Due to time being of the essence and the geography of the schools involved, Sonia and Louise (Multitude of Voyces) created a training package which enabled the schools to rehearse independently before the performance. The package consisted of video clips of Sonia signing (and lip-syncing!) along to Louise’s vocal recordings. The clips, which were accessible online, were backed-up by hand-outs of line-drawn signs to assist the staff who were supporting the children.
On the 5th December in the beautiful, twinkly surrounds of St Thomas’s Church’s Christmas Tree Festival, 48 children came together to deliver a magical signed performance of 5 well-loved carols and seasonal songs to an audience of family, friends and visitors to the church. You might be able to guess what the songs were from the photos!
It is hoped that the success of this project may well lead to further collaboration; facilitating the spread of inclusivity through performance. Perhaps on an even larger scale!
With thanks to: Louise Stewart - Multitude of Voyces, St Thomas’s Church, the children and staff of Wyndham Park Infants School, St Martin’s Primary School and Greentrees Primary School. Photo credits - Ash Mills Photography.