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Surrey Arts Impact Report 2019 – 2020

2019 to 2020 was a vibrant year as Surrey Arts continued to provide engaging, creative and inspiring cultural services across the county for our residents. Services delivered through Surrey Arts include Music activities, Surrey Arts Wardrobe Hire, Visual Arts events and Instrument Hire.  

Many new and exciting projects have evolved this year and Surrey Arts ongoing annual events have continued to grow in numbers. Some of the highlights this year include:

  • Our I Speak Music group has grown, both locally and internationally, achieving more ambitious and inspiring projects. One of the highlights at the beginning of the year was their superb festive single entitled “Whatever You Believe”. This was sung, performed and recorded by a mix of refugees, young people from the ACM and local community members, a collaboration of more than 80 people.
  • The Horley Project, established in 2018 to increase instrumental learning in schools in the area, entered into its second year, with many new members joining the project, further expanding the newly formed Horley Orchestra.
  • Just So Singers celebrated their 25th Anniversary in June 2019
  • UP! Orchestra received a boost from external funding as well as welcoming many new-comers to the Saturday Music Zone to meet, share and play music together.
  • A number of successful events and workshops, both old and new, reached sell out numbers including Piano Exam Performance; Summer Singing; Drum Line! Brass Masterclass; Orchestra Taster Day and DJ Music Production Workshops, as well as many more. 
  • The Primary Schools Music Festivals held events at venues across Surrey with over 2500 children participating.
  • Surrey Artists’ Open Studios 2019 was exceptional this year with over 297 artists participating, selling a combined worth of over £304k in artwork.

To learn more about the successes from the past year, please read the full Surrey Arts 2019-2020 Impact Report here.

LAUNCH OF THE IMAGINE:IMAGINE GLOBAL MUSIC VIDEO

Image to represent Imagine Imagine song release

Imagine:Imagine presents ‘Walk With Me’. A new music video started in Surrey, now international featuring over 120 performers from around the globe singing in solidarity with diverse and displaced communities everywhere.   

Premiering on International Day of Peace, Monday 21st September.

Surrey Arts is partnering with Together Productions and IOM UK (International Organization for Migration), joining the common mission to unite people from different backgrounds, combat xenophobia and showcase new music celebrating the strength and resilience of people from diverse communities.  

During the summer lockdown members of Surrey Arts’ I Speak Music Orchestra wrote a song to say thank you and to recognize the sacrifice and diversity of our front-line services. During UK’s Refugee Week in June 2020, Surrey Arts and Together Productions took that song and launched an online global music video project, with support from IOM UK. “The video holds a strong message of unity – says I Speak Music’s Raghad Haddad – “as it has a combination of lyrics, music, and images of the real people that are behind the project, and their many countries of origin and languages. There is a combination of Middle Eastern and Western tunes that make the artistic results of the project very special”.  

For UK-based Raghad Haddad, the project also offered the opportunity for her to collaborate again with her brother, Bassel Haddad, a musician in Syria who works on singing projects with homeless children through the Sada Choir they founded together back in 2013. Bassel describes that “being able to bring together the homeless children with other children was inspiring, because I witnessed them sharing this experience with joy, regardless of the fact that they were coming from very different walks of life.” 

Over 120 performers from the UK, Egypt, Syria, Iran, South Africa, El Salvador, Mexico, Jordan, Afghanistan, France, Gaza, US, Germany and Belgium sent in their contributions.Dabu (René Edenilson Rivas Aparicio), a rapper from El Salvador who works to use music to empower vulnerable people, says “the opportunity to collaborate on this project has really lifted my spirit up. It made me realise that I had my microphone and I could still use it to communicate and express myself… I love working with people from all over the world and contributing to international projects such as the Imagine:Imagine project.” 

Sue Wills, Acting Assistant Director Culture, Libraries & Registration at Surrey County Council said “Surrey County Council is proud to be part of the Imagine:Imagine project and I am delighted to see the contribution of Surrey’s residents at the heart of a song that has gone on to inspire so many across the globe.  

Through this film we meet participants who have been displaced as well as those who work relentlessly in their own communities to support those living in difficult circumstances. All of them united in a message of solidarity and gratitude to those who have travelled or stayed to enrich the community in which they call home.”  

The global submissions have been edited into a final music video by Academy and Emmy Award nominated producer Leslie Knott and acclaimed director, writer and producer Ben Gregor. The film shows the power of music to emphasize all we have in common, highlights the beauty of diversity, and honours the extraordinary contributions of displaced and migrant communities to our world. Masoud Danyiali , a percussionist from Iran, says “the fact that artists were joining in the project from different parts of the world, made me feel that we are part of the same community, and that through music we could raise our voices together. This project really shows that music has no borders. I strongly believe that music is the most powerful tool you can use to communicate.” The video will be premiered alongside an amazing line up of international performers in a concert hosted by soprano Nadine Benjamin on Youtube Premiere on the International Day of PeaceMonday 21st September, at 5pm BST (UK time). We’d love you to join us!  

Register for a free concert ticket here

Further Information

About IOM UK

“We welcome the commitment of this network of artists and people from all over the world who are using their talent to build a more peaceful and welcoming society for displaced and migrant communities” says Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission. 

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration. We work to support safer, orderly and regular migration, and to provide assistance and protection to vulnerable migrants and communities all around the world.

In the UK we help migrants to better integrate, and we assist receiving communities to recognize and support the positive contributions that migrants can make.

About Together Productions

“Covid 19 forces us to re-evaluate what is important, who the real change makers are, and how they make a difference to our lives”, say Holly Jones and Jeremy Haneman from Together Productions – Imagine: Imagine is providing a platform for a global community to come together and celebrate the talents of displaced people and diverse communities everywhere. In a locked down world making connections across personal, cultural and international divides is more important than ever, and music is the universal language that bonds us all”.

Together Productions is a ground-breaking social change organisation based in the UK. We produce innovative collaborative arts projects that connect people, organisations and audiences across social and cultural divides.

We run community projects including the Mixed Up Chorus and the Sing For Freedom Choir and the large-scale composition and performance project Singing Our Lives.

www.togetherproductions.co.uk

About I Speak Music

Raghad Haddad, Musical Director, I Speak Music, explains what has inspired the song Walk With Me: “We wrote this song during lock down to express gratitude to everyone, now and before, who have made their new home in foreign lands, to say forever welcome and thank you for enriching the experience and history of this complex, difficult, beautiful and ever evolving world. We feel honoured that people from so many countries have felt a connection with our message, which is ultimately one of unity, solidarity and connection through music”.

I Speak Music is a programme designed to promote empathy and celebrate the diversity of local communities. I Speak Music has three strands of work: training and events to bring together multiple agencies; a songwriting programme for displaced minors, and the I Speak Music Orchestra, bringing together an intergenerational group of people from diverse backgrounds to create new music and share their stories and cultural background.

The programme is managed by Surrey Arts and is currently receiving funding from Arts Council EnglandArts Partnership Surrey and The National Foundation for Youth Music.

I Speak music welcomes people ages 14+ from all backgrounds, but is particularly interested in hearing from refugees, unaccompanied minors, BAME communities and those who sing or play non-western musical instruments. Professional musicians are welcome to join the group as are those with no previous musical experience.

Further Partners

The project has also been supported and promoted by: Musicians Without Borders, The Human Hive, Surrey Arts, Art27 and Refugee Week.

Surrey Arts Virtual Open Day 2020

Surrey Arts are bringing the sound of instruments to you via a Virtual Open Day, on Saturday 12 September. As it is currently difficult to get around the county and demonstrate our amazing range of instruments, Surrey Arts have put together a day full of introductions to instrument families. Featuring Surrey Arts Tutors, these clips will be released throughout the day via the Surrey Arts social media channels and then available on the Surrey Arts YouTube channel. Head of Service, Sarah Lee, said “This is a great chance for people to see and hear a wide range of musical instruments. We hope the day will help them discover the instrument that is right for them and inspire them to learn.”

The Virtual Open Day will feature instruments from strings and percussion, brass and guitar, music tech and woodwind, and much more – including opportunities with the UP! Orchestra (an ensemble designed to be accessible for young people aged 13+ with special educational needs) and I Speak Music.

Virtual Open Day timetable

9.30 – Introduction from Sarah Lee, Head of Service
10.00 – The Sounds of Brass
10.30 – DJing and Music Tech
11.00 – The Sounds of the Guitar
11.30 – I Speak Music
12.00 – The Sounds of Percussion
12.30 – The Piano
13.00 – Singing
13.30 – The Sounds of Strings
14.00 – UP! Orchestra
14.30 – The Sounds of Woodwind
15.00 – Surrey Arts Ensembles

Times are subject to change and will be available on the Surrey Arts YouTube channel along with other instrument tutorials.

Lessons with Surrey Arts can be booked through www.surreyarts.com

Surrey Music and Arts Summer Holiday Activities 2020

Surrey Arts have put together their largest ever programme of summer holiday activities for art and music. There are fantastic opportunities to see instruments played for the first time, hear and play music from all over the world, join in percussion sessions with materials found around the home, have free taster sessions in piano and singing, join a guitar band, make a DJ mix on your computer, join in with the UP! Orchestra and much much more.

Have a look at the SMASH activities programme 2020

Celebrate the talents and contributions of displaced and diverse communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped everyone in their tracks. As a society, we have been learning to reassess how we connect with one another and the things that are important to us, as well as exploring new ways to be creative at home. Surrey based Community Orchestra, I Speak Music (ISM), normally meet regularly to provide a musical platform for people from diverse backgrounds to come together to make music. During the last few months, they have been unable to rehearse and, like countless arts organisations, have had to cancel events, including their concert as part of World Refugee Week. Thankfully, the ISM team have developed and implemented a digital music project to ensure their members are still able to connect and create music together.

Jim Pinchen, ISM Project Manager said “We met the ISM members online and who told us that they wanted to do something to say thank you and to recognize the hard work and sacrifice to those on the frontline for keeping things running and keeping us safe during the crisis.” 

Over a series of online workshops ISM were supported to contribute musical ideas and lyrics, which Jim, together with ISM music leaders Raghad Haddad and songwriter Liz Ikamba, developed into a new song.  The song places special attention on the dedication and sacrifice of BAME and migrant workers and was also inspired by the theme of this year’s World Refugee Week, IMAGINE.

 “The main thing we wanted to reflect in the music was the diversity of those involved” said Raghad, “it was important that the music showcased many styles, representing many areas and countries and included the different languages of the people performing it and who they were saying thank you to.” Raghad’s brother, who leads a children’s choir in Syria, was keen for their voices to join with his sister’s and the rest of ISM; giving them an opportunity to sing in Arabic alongside friends and family who are living in the UK and other parts of the world.

Participants were invited to join online rehearsals via Zoom where they discussed what they imagined our world would look like in the future and where they could offer lyrical ideas for the song. “We sent out links to the music, some technical parts for the more experienced musicians as well as simpler elements to ensure it was as accessible as possible” says Jim and adds “there was a lot of support given where needed from the ISM team to help guide participants on how to film themselves and upload their footage. We are thrilled that so many people took part; we have 36 clips from Syria alone that I’ve edited into a four-minute video.”


Feedback from ISM members has been incredibly positive, one member when asked what they liked most about being involved  said “Being creative and collaborative. It’s always a great experience working with ISM. There is such a variety of musical influences and camaraderie.”

So, what is next for the song Imagine, Imagine? I Speak Music Orchestra have joined forces with London based company Together Productions to deliver phase two of the project. Creative Producer, Holly Jones said “We’re a community interest company who produce arts projects with a positive social impact  so when Jim mentioned that ISM were doing this project we were keen to help take it to the next level. Working with our international partners, such as Musicians Without Borders and the International Organization for Migration, will help  people access the technology that they need.”


This ambitious next phase for the project has already attracted much interest and award-winning filmmaker and photographer, Leslie Knott, has joined the team along with Ben Gregor, acclaimed TV, Film and Music Video Director. The experienced team aim to create a powerful and engaging music video, unlike any seen during the lockdown, to be released later in the year.

Holly says “We’ve got this brilliant song that’s been composed and the idea is that on World Refugee Day we will send it out into the world and invite people, wherever they are, to film themselves joining in with the song, either singing the chorus or playing some of the percussion parts or dancing. Imagine: Imagine  will encourage audiences to look beyond their neighbourhoods to the global community, to collaborate creatively together and to consider the voices and lives of those forcibly displaced and seeking a home.”

The IMAGINE: IMAGINE project is going live on Saturday 20 June 2020, to get involved visit http://www.imagineimagine.org

I Speak Music Community Orchestra is supported by Surrey Arts and Surrey Music Hub and is funded by Arts Council England.

If you are interested in finding out more about the I Speak Music and related activities email mona4youthmusic@gmail.com

Making music safely in schools – Updated 8 September

Music is a fantastic way to bring our children together: it builds self-esteem and confidence, and these are now, even more than ever, important when we are in such strange times. We know that school staff are working incredibly hard to keep their schools and classrooms safe for everyone, so we have gathered together Health and Safety advice from Surrey County Council’s public health department and from Music Mark (the organisation that links Music Hubs together) that relates most to music making in schools, so that schools can keep making music safely. 

Surrey Arts have writen Risk Assessments for all areas of their work that follow the guidance of Music Mark and Surrey County Council’s health advisory team. These are being sent to schools who have Surrey Arts teaching.  Should you have not received this, and you would like access to a copy, please do contact us.  

Surrey Public Health team have picked up the following general points as being most relevant to music teaching:

The relevant guidance is “implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings” – updated 1 June – and key points relevant to music lessons are:

Practising self and household isolation for anyone symptomatic/living with someone who is unwell, respectively:

  • Hand hygiene – regular hand-washing for 20 seconds or more with soap and water
  • Respiratory hygiene – catch it, bin it, kill it
  • Regular environment cleaning, especially of frequently touched surfaces
  • Minimising contact and mixing by keeping groups of children together in “bubbles”
  • Maintaining 2m distance between people, wherever possible
  • Ventilating rooms, naturally where possible
  • Limiting the use of shared resources
  • Cleaning equipment between groups using it

Music Mark have given specific advice for singing:

For most singing activity, including class work and assemblies, normal social distancing will suffice. Whilst singing releases potentially hazardous bioaerosols in proportion to volume – the louder the singing, the more aerosols are released (this is also the case when talking loudly or breathing more heavily) – measurements taken with university-level students and professionals suggest that there is minimal air movement much over 0.5m from a singer.

There have been reports of choirs falling ill en masse but it is worth stating that these occurred before social distancing and entailed several hours of singing in close company. Assemblies, singing lessons and even lunchtime choirs do not last anything like as long.

  • Space: A well-ventilated room, large enough to maintain the usual 2m social distancing guideline, will usually suffice. Note that the area of the room is critical here: a higher ceiling does not mean singers are safe to stand closer together. 
  • Consider singing outdoors if you can. The risk of airborne transmission is thought to be significantly lower in the open air but be aware of wind direction for both the singers and the leader.
  • There are no safe face coverings for singing: all fabric masks leak air and bioaerosols around the sides and bottom.
  • The person leading the singing and the accompanist, if any, should be 3-5m from the front row as they will of course be facing the singers. They may want to consider a plexiglass screen.
  • Each singer should have their own music and should ideally keep it between rehearsals. If words or music are projected, that is ideal.

Music Mark have also developed specific guidance for schools:

More detailed responses with regards to singing and the usage and cleaning of instruments can be found in the following documents:

Surrey Arts launch Online Instrumental Lessons!

Surrey Arts is excited to launch a new Online Learning Programme offering high quality instrumental lessons from the comfort of your home! Over the past few weeks we have been busy trialling online teaching, and establishing safeguarding protocols and technical guidance to ensure we are able to offer the same high quality learning experience that our students receive through face-to-face lessons. 

We are pleased that we are also able to support our more vulnerable young people through our inclusion programme, offering free lessons to groups such as looked after children, young carers and unaccompanied refugees.

Sarah Lee, Head of Service, said ‘This has been an amazing effort by the Surrey Arts team. To be able to put together a programme at such an uncertain time and develop a programme that ensures high quality and a safe learning environment for students is fantastic. We all know the power that music can have on our lives, and engaging in creativity during this time can really help with health and well-being. We hope that our online learning programme will be a valuable service for the Surrey community encouraging people to continue making music and engaging in arts activities.’

At present the Surrey Arts Online Learning (SAOL) programme is only available for existing Surrey Artsstudents: however, we hope to grow this further in the coming weeks, providing more ways in which to support musical learning.

Together with our Online Learning Programme we have also created an extensive online resource page with lots of videos, activities, online music performances and much more!

Finally, the visual arts team have worked with Surrey Artists Open Studios and Surrey Hills Arts to provide a range of online art workshops for artists of all abilities and ages. SAOS artists have also provided online tours of their studios and have been part of the Sketchbook Challenge where they have shared their sketchbook works.

These are unique times and it is great to see so many talented people working together to ensure learning and creativity continues in Surrey!

Guildford Jazz Festival 2020

Guildford Jazz Festival 2020 Flyer

Guildford Jazz ‘s  three day music festival runs from March 20-22 at Guildford’s Electric Theatre and features a wide spectrum of jazz, funk and latin grooves. 

The festival opens on Friday 20th March with a celebration of local young jazz talent  and a concert by Surrey Young Jazz Musicians of the Year.  Tickets for this event are only £8 for adults and free for young people aged 16 or under.  

The festival is a first for Guildford Jazz,  which has been arranging regular sell out monthly jazz gigs since 2011 . Its founder,  local bass player Marianne Windham comments: ”The festival represents a celebration of all that Guildford Jazz is about: bringing the finest UK jazz musicians to Guildford to play a wide spectrum of accessible music in a friendly club  like atmosphere. There is something for everyone in the programme whether you are just looking for great live music or are a committed jazzer”.  

All profits from the festival go to local charity Guildford Philanthropy which helps local residents disadvantaged by disability, mental health issues, poor education or caring responsibilities. 

The festival represents an excellent opportunity to inspire young people to develop their musical talents by experiencing the finest live jazz.  

Headlining the festival will be ECM recording artist and internationally recognised saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy. 

Other major artists  appearing at JazzFest ’20 include: 

  • The renowned trombonist Dennis Rollins and his Velocity Trio: a  simmering jazz, funk and world music roller coaster 
  • The Mark Nightingale/Alan Barnes/Steve Waterman Sextet playing a tribute to the music of Henry Mancini including Clark Tracey on drums
  • Virtuoso guitarist Nicolas Meier World Group,  one of the rising stars in a vibrant British jazz scene and “an unconditional must for connoisseurs of Jazz-World Fusion” (Adam Baruch)
  • Latin Jazz Salsa band Heads South featuring Steve Waterman, combining Cuban and other Latin Rhythms   
  • Award winning pianist David Newton playing duos alongside jazz impresario Alan Barnes  
  • Renowned jazz vocalist and pianist Pete Churchill 
  • Gareth Williams, one of the country’s leading modern jazz pianists, featuring in both the Sextet and as a live accompanist to the 1929 Buster Keaton classic,  Steamboat Bill Jr.

Alongside sets from leading UK jazz artists,  the festival features: 

  • a talk organised in conjunction with West Surrey Arts Society on the early history of jazz by from broadcaster and bass player Sandy Burnett which might be of particular interest to those doing GCSE music 
  • A New Orleans Dixie Jazz lunch from clarinet maestro Duncan Batchelor and his quartet
  • a number of community events including a jazz vocal workshop 

More details about the festival can be found on the web at  https://guildfordjazz.org.uk/guildford-jazz-fest-20/ 

Booking for individual gigs and day and weekend festival passes  is now open through the Electric Theatre Box Office athttps://electric.theatre/

More information about Guildford Jazz , who run two regular gigs a month featuring national jazz artists at the Electric Theatre and Guildford Rugby Club at Broadwater, can be found at its web site at https://guildfordjazz.org.uk.

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