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Singing Picnics 2023

Singing Picnics are back again this summer with dates, venues and registration now available. Surrey Arts has been hosting these informal singing events for primary schools across Surrey for the last few years giving young people the chance to sing and have fun together outdoors. 

Vocal Strategy Manager, Nancy Giulio-Terry says “I’m delighted to announce the dates and venues for our 2023 Singing Picnics, including a return to many of our old favourite venues and as well as exciting new locations. We’re all looking forward to some singing in the sunshine!”

Singing Picnics are a fun-filled and informal way for KS2 children (yrs 3-5) from your school to enjoy singing with others in a beautiful outdoor setting with other schools from your area. Children play singing games, perform songs to each other, sing together, and enjoy a picnic lunch followed by more singing games.  

Singing Picnics provide opportunities to: 

  • Perform a song to others in an informal setting 
  • Listen to the performances of others 
  • Sing a group song learned by call and response on the day 
  • Engage in singing games led by vocal tutors 
  • Engage in healthy outdoor activities. 

Children from schools prepare one song to share at the picnic and are taught other songs and singing games on the day by professional vocal leaders. 

The 2023 Singing Picnics will be held on  

Wednesday 28 June 2023 (Runnymede/Spelthorne) 

Thursday 29 June 2023 (Mole Valley) 

Tuesday 4 July 2023 (Woking) 

Thursday 6 July 2023 (Redhill/Reigate) 

Tuesday 11 July 2023 (Lingfield) 

The application deadline is Friday17 March 2023 and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Guildford Orchestra rebrands as Community Orchestra

The Guildford Sinfonia Orchestra which has been running for over 20 years, will be starting 2023 under a new name and relaunch evening!! The ensemble which is for adult musicians, will be known as ‘The Surrey Arts Community Orchestra’, to better reflect their friendly and welcoming atmosphere and community ethos.

The orchestra started out based in Godalming, and then Guildford and now Woking. Conducted by Tanya Charlesworth, rehearsals take place at Westfield School in Woking on Thursday evenings during term time with an informal concert at the end of each term. Past performances have included Summer Sounds at Woking Bandstand, and a joint concert with Woking Wind Orchestra at the HG Wells Centre.

The ensemble plays a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from Baroque to the modern day, including film music, show songs and music from around the world. 

The orchestra will be holding an open rehearsal on Thursday 12 January 2023 from 7.45 to 9.30pm at Westfield School, and players of any orchestral instruments are welcome, particularly trumpets, bassoons, trombones and strings. Players are recommended to be of grade 5 standard or above (although it is not necessary to have taken an exam). This is great opportunity for musicians who have not played for a while to get back playing and many of the current members dusted off their instruments after long breaks from playing and haven’t looked back!

To join please complete the registration form

Membership costs £77 per term, but the first rehearsal is free of charge and you won’t be invoiced until you have decided you would like to join.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Surrey Music Hub seeking to appoint an Independent Chair

Surrey Music Hub (the Music Hub for Surrey) is seeking to appoint an Independent Chair.

This is a voluntary position with an allowance of up to £3,000 for expenses.

You will be passionate about ensuring that all children and young people can access high quality music education opportunities that meet their needs. This role offers an opportunity for the right individual to make a difference to the lives of the children and young people of Surrey through music.                                             

You will chair the Hub’s Advisory Board, working alongside the Music Hub lead organisation, Surrey Arts, and partners to ensure and maintain the effective delivery of the new National Plan for Music Education (NPME) both in and out of school settings.   

The Independent Chair will need to have significant experience and expertise in partnership working and strategic thinking, business and budget monitoring and management. The chair will commit to developing a thorough knowledge and understanding of the needs of, and challenges for, children and young people, issues affecting Local Authorities and schools, Arts Council England/Department for Education policy relating to Music Education Hubs and the breadth of music providers working in Surrey. Experience in music/music education is not required as we are seeking to broaden the range of experience and skills to help drive our future development forward.        

The chair role will run for a term of 3 years with an opportunity to be reappointed.

Surrey Arts, the Arts Service for Surrey County Council, is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and would especially welcome applications from the ‘global majority’, the LGBTQ+ community and people who are disabled.

For further queries please contact Sarah Lee, Head of Service, Surrey Arts 

Commitment: Four board meetings plus preparation per year; at least one meeting per year will be in-person.  Other meetings as advised. 

Application is by letter and C.V. sent to   

For more information or an informal chat please email

Deadline for applications: 12th February 2023

Interviews: 28th February 2023

Context, Vision, Mission, Approach and Values

Context – Surrey Music Hub is a partnership led by Surrey Arts.  It serves the local authority area of Surrey County Council with a total school population of 158,000 children, in 392 state maintained, academy and free schools (221 state maintained, 165 academy, 6 free schools including 8 pupil referral units), through music making and the arts and cultural offer. The lead partner in Surrey Music Hub is Surrey Arts, which is part of Surrey County Council (SCC) Cultural Services.  The Hub is overseen by the Surrey Music Hub Steering Board, which is made up of partners and local stakeholders and is currently chaired by the Head of Surrey Arts.   

Vision – “Changing lives through world class arts”  Surrey Music Hub’s aim is to work in partnership to ensure that children and young people from all backgrounds receive music education that is high quality, wide ranging, sustainable and accessible to all and that there are clear routes for progression.   

Mission – “Work in partnership to ensure that everyone in our community has access to high quality and engaging arts and cultural opportunities”.   

Approach – We: advocate, celebrate, deliver, create, innovate, commission, educate, invest, nurture, support, connect, develop.  

Our Values  Surrey Arts is an ambitious and forward-thinking organisation that places young people at the centre of our work. We are committed to developing Surrey Arts as a genuinely inclusive organisation, fostering a culture of belonging where all are respected and valued and one that meets the needs of the whole diverse community of Surrey. Equality, diversity and inclusion is central to our organisation and we are committed to its development at all levels of the organisation as outlined in our EDI strategy.      

Surrey Music Hub is committed to delivering ‘The Power of Music to Change Lives’, the Government’s National Plan for Music Education, for all children and young people throughout Surrey.  Surrey Music Hub performs all the current Core and Extension roles as set out by Arts Council England. These roles underpin all planning and musical activity that we offer.   

Core roles of Surrey Music Hub: 

  1. Ensure that every child aged 5 to 18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through whole class ensemble teaching programmes. 
  1. Provide opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage. 
  1. Ensure that clear progression routes are available and affordable to all young people. 
  1. Develop a singing strategy to ensure that every pupil is singing regularly, and that choirs and other vocal ensembles are available in the area. 
Extension roles of Surrey Music Hub: 

Offer Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to school staff, particularly in supporting schools to deliver music in the curriculum. Provide an instrument loan service, with discounts or free provision for those on low incomes. Provide access to large scale and/or high-quality music experiences for pupils, working with professional musicians and/or venues. This may include undertaking work to publicise the opportunities available to schools, parents/carers and students. 

  1. Offer Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to school staff, particularly in supporting schools to deliver music in the curriculum. 
  2. Provide an instrument loan service, with discounts or free provision for those on low incomes. 
  3. Provide access to large scale and/or high-quality music experiences for pupils, working with professional musicians and/or venues. This may include undertaking work to publicise the opportunities available to schools, parents/carers and students. 

Successful bid creates exciting music opportunities for displaced children in Surrey

Surrey Arts has been successful in securing just under £100k of funding from Youth Music, for a 2-year programme of activity for displaced young people across Surrey. Youth Music is a national music charity that invest in music-making projects for young people and along with generous additional match funding from partners, Alliance for Better Care (NHS), Big Leaf Foundation and Arts Partnership Surrey, the funding will enable Surrey Arts to expand its current delivery programmes ensuring we are able to build on this worthwhile and much needed provision.  

The project, which is fully funded for the next 2 years will be called I Speak Music:Next generation with the aim to improve participants’ musical skills, improve participants’ wellbeing and develop participants’ engagement within their host communities. The programme will include a range of activities including music lessons and both online and  face to face music ensembles for children who have asylum-seeker or refugee status. 

Project lead Jim Pinchen said ‘We are absolutely delighted that Youth Music have awarded Surrey Arts with this grant. The funding will allow us to expand our music programmes for children who are living in Surrey after being internationally displaced due of war, persecution and/or climate change.’

Sarah Lee, Service Manager for Surrey Art said “We are so proud of our work with displaced communities across Surrey, and this funding will have a huge impact in helping us to build a programme that reaches more young people and is lasting. We are hugely grateful to Youth Music and our local partners for their support and for providing funding”.

National Youth Music Award Win for Surrey Arts Teacher

Surrey Arts inclusion music teacher Raghad Haddad has won the Inspirational Music Leader Award at the Youth Music Awards 2022. Raghad received her award last night in TroxyLondon in recognition of her work for Surrey Arts as a diverse leader of refugee background, supporting vulnerable children in Surrey.

Raghad Haddad is a viola player from Yabroud, a small town in the mountains north of Damascus. Since being granted asylum in the UK in 2018 she has performed at numerous charity events in London and Brighton and recently performed with Damon Albarn, The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.  

On behalf of Surrey Arts Raghad has worked on multiple projects supporting vulnerable children including SEND and refugee children and has been the executive producer of a major international music project involving the United Nations and 120 participants from around the world.

After finding out she was had won the award, Raghad said “I was speechless when they announced my name as the winner of the Inspirational Music Leader at the Youth Music Award 2022 this week! It’s such an honour to have received this award and I’m so grateful to my colleagues at Surrey Arts for the support they have given me since I arrived in the UK from Syria.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity, not only to rebuild my own life but also the privilege to help others affected by war, poverty, climate change and discrimination. Sadly, the need to support displaced communities is not getting smaller and I look forward to supporting more of your transformational projects in the months and years ahead.”

Kavyan Hajirostami has also been nominated for the Young Leader Award for their work with Big Leaf. Big Leaf support Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) across Surrey and work closely with Surrey Arts on a range of music and arts projects. You can find more information about Big Leaf here

Inclusion Manager Jim Pinchen said “I first met Raghad when she arrived in the UK from Syria 5 years ago and Kavyan through the I Speak Music Orchestra in 2019 shortly after his arrival from Iran.  Between them they have used their musical expertise, language and generosity to support hundreds of our most vulnerable children. This recognition on a national stage is well deserved”.  Surrey Arts Head of Service, Sarah Lee said “Surrey Arts is delighted to have played a part in supporting the development of these astounding music leaders. We would like to thank Youth Music for their continued support and for our most recent funding application success which will allow us to develop more project to support displaced communities and professional across the county”

Primary Music Festivals return in 2023!

The Primary Music Festivals are a highly regarded event in the school calendar with close to 100 schools taking part each year in celebration of children’s singing and music making!

The Festival concerts have been running for over 25 years and produce magical evenings for primary school children to come together and sing as one large choir in front of packed audiences in Surrey venues such as Dorking Halls.

Following the success of 2022’s wonderful programme of music including “My Planet, Your Planet”, by composer Teresa Jennings, the 2023 concerts will feature another new piece by Teresa Jennings entitled “Positive” about how we can all make positive contributions to our own lives and the lives of others around us with positive, thoughtful, and kind words and actions. 

Applications open soon and scores will be made available from mid-November. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay — join us at one of our 9 events for schools in the following areas:

Monday 24th AprilMole Valley Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Wednesday 26th AprilWoking & North Surrey Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Thursday 11th MaySouth East Surrey Dorking HallsAVAILABLE
Monday 15th MayEast Surrey Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Tuesday 16th MayElmbridge Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Thursday 25th MayWest Surrey  Princes HallFULLY BOOKED
Wednesday 14th JuneMid-Surrey Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Thursday 15th JuneEpsom & Ewell Dorking HallsFULLY BOOKED
Tuesday 20th JuneSurrey Borders Dorking HallsAVAILABLE

If your school would like to be part of a Primary Music Festival concert email: or

SMASH Activities 2022

The Surrey Music and Arts in the Summer Holidays (SMASH) activities programme is now available for registration. The activities are taking place in four locations across the county so there are more opportunities to experience DJing, brass and wind instruments, singing, ukulele and being part of a band. The activities are a great way to try different musical instruments and start your musical journey. All instruments and equipment are provided and no previous experience is required to join in and have fun.


26 July at Westfield School in Woking
27 July at Three Rivers School in Hersham, Walton-on-Thames
28 July at Hazelwood School in Oxted
29 July at Glebelands School in Cranleigh


The programme of activities is the same for each location with the exception of Discover Wind and Discover Brass.

The DJ Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
The DJ Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
Discover Wind (Woking and Walton-on-Thames only) for 8 to 11 years old. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Discover Brass (Oxted and Cranleigh only) for 8 to 11 years olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Ukulele Jam for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20
Singing the Musicals for 8 to 14 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20

Further details about the programme and how to register are available on the Surrey Arts website

Watch our Easter activities short film to see some of the activities.

Success for Surrey Students

It’s been a great year for four Surrey Arts’ students who are members of the Mid Surrey Wind Band. Lucian Green, Duncan McGee, Ryan Troop and Toby Ellwood-Gross have all been accepted into the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO). NCO is made up of young musicians aged 8-14, who come together in three National Symphony Orchestras for residential orchestral activity and in four regional Projects ensembles for non-residential orchestral weekends. 

Their tutor Ian Stott said ‘I’m so pleased to see so many brass students making such amazing progress in the Dorking area. These students have been learning for between 2 and 3 years. I am very proud, as their teacher, of their progress into the National Children’s Orchestra, especially as it is rare for state sector students to get to this level. To have 4 from the same town is wonderful! All 4 have learnt through Surrey Arts.

These successes are a testament to our tutors who dedicate their time to improve the skills of students and enable them to follow their musical ambitions. 

Easter Activities 2022

Surrey Arts Easter Activities Return in 2022 

The Surrey Arts Easter activities programme returns in April after a couple of years break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This year sees a significant change to the programme. For the first time the programme is split over two areas of the county, East Surrey (Redhill) and West Surrey (Woking). This exciting programme gives young people the chance to experience a variety of different activities including playing in an orchestra for the first time, trying a string instrument, producing their own music and DJing, being part of a rock band, learning dance routines and being creative in an art class. 

Programme coordinator Yvette Madden says ‘The Coronavirus made it difficult to run the residential programme which has been held for over 40 years. However, we have developed a diverse and exciting programme that will be accessible across more of the county giving young people more opportunities to participate in music, dance and art.’ 

The range of activities for 6 to 16 year olds will run on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 April at St. Bede’s School in Redhill and Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 April at Westfield School in Woking. 

Activities include: 

Discover Strings suitable for 6 – 11 year olds (Redhill only) – no experience needed 

Orchestra in a day for grades 1 – 4 and 4 – 8  or equivalent standard  

Music production and DJing suitable for 8 – 16 year olds – no experience needed 

The Band Experience suitable for 8 – 14 year olds – no experience needed 

Creative dance suitable for 8 – 15 year olds – no experience needed 

Art class suitable for 6 – 10 year olds – no experience needed 

The Snowman is coming to Cobham!

The Menuhin School is thrilled to present the classic Christmas film ‘The Snowman’ accompanied live by the world-class young musicians of The Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham.


The Menuhin School are on the hunt for two vocalists to perform the much-loved song ‘Walking in the Air’ for our two performances on 5 December.

Learn more and apply at:

Applications close on 30 September at noon.

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