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Songfest 2024

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Songfest takes place over the weekend of 2nd to 4th February 2024. It follows the same format as previously: a kick-off Friday evening concert, Saturday and Sunday all day workshops and a headline evening concert on Saturday evening. Come and enjoy a wide variety of singing workshops on both Saturday and Sunday - try something new: you just need your voice and your ears - all generations welcome!

Only £20 for a weekend pass (Saturday and Sunday daytime) to take part in 15 workshops. We have excellent local musicians running very varied sessions for all generations and experience, through Saturday  and Sunday.
For an even better deal, buy a £25 weekend pass which includes a ticket for North8 on Sunday 11 Feb 3pm (costing you only £5 instead of the full price of £16).

Friday 2nd February

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Howay the Lasses with Yvonne Lyon

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Workshops - Saturday 3rd February

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 For families with children

All ages (no music reading ability needed)

Need ability to read music

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Workshops - Sunday 4th February

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 For families with children

All ages (no music reading ability needed)

Need ability to read music

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Circle Peace Songs for families

Mindfulness with Song - an introduction to basic mindfulness practice

Both led by Joe Holtaway (singer songwriter)

Those of you who benefitted from Joe’s wonderful calming sessions last time will no doubt be back to see him and enjoy more.

Joe is a singer/songwriter and community singer from Cornwall. Growing up with folk musician parents, who also ran a local folk club, Joe was soaking up songs from an early age. Moving to London in his 20s and becoming involved with peace and social justice movements as a singer and songwriter, Joe's passion for the power of community singing grew.

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He currently helps to run a choir and gardening group, for people in the asylum system living in London, works on social change projects with the Quakers and looks after Peace Sounds, a record label speaking for and about peace - alongside making his own recordings.

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Come and Sing Choral Music - led by Dave Pisaro

(Ability to read music required)

A Transatlantic programme of British, Icelandic and American choral repertoire.

We are thrilled to offer this very popular session again covering old and new choral music, led by Dave, who is a lay clerk at Ripon Cathedral.

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NEW: Songwriting Workshop “The Full Stop, The Football, The Story and The Song” 

- how lockdown sparked a creative adventure via the centre circle at St James Park and beyond!” led by Howay the Lasses with Yvonne Lyon.
 

Come and hear how the lives and times of women heroes of the North East became an exciting new collaboration for four musicians from different genres and backgrounds. Hear some ideas about how you might begin to take characters that interest you and tell their story through original song.

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Community Singing World Music

Led by Emily Smith
Lots of rounds, African part songs etc that are easy to learn and very satisfying to sing. A very empowering session each Songfest, so come again and bring your friends.

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"Make an Opera” (HMS Pinafore)
Emily Smith & Dave Pisaro
Emily and Dave lead this hugely popular fun workshop each Songfest, so we welcome them back. If you missed it, come and join us. Their infectious enthusiasm and passion brings their musicianship and love of singing to everyone.

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Mix It Up Music for Children
Led by Emma Bensley
Little ones aged 0-5 and their grown-ups are welcome to come along and enjoy a live music making and movement session with Emma from Mix It Up. In these special, musician-led family sessions, we will sing, move, dance and have fun together through the use of real instruments, engaging puppets and exciting props!
Emma is a qualified primary school teacher, community musician and former children’s presenter, who runs
weekly music and movement sessions for under 5s and musical events for families in Egglescliffe and Stockton-on-Tees.

Image by Eric Nopanen
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Family Ceilidh

Led by the Haigh family and friends
We try to make this as fun as Naomi made it! She is missed, but with us in spirit. Oliver will play Naomi’s accordion

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Come & Sing Madrigals
Led by Julia Haigh
(ability to read music required)

A popular session each year, so come back and sing some more!

There are sessions on both days with Sunday focusing specifically on madrigals written in three parts for SSA (Soprano, Soprano and Alto) voices.

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Image by Eric Nopanen
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Music Therapy  – an introductory presentation
Presented by Gemma Elysee
Gemma is a qualified music therapist and an experienced teacher in Special needs schools.  She offers a half hour introductory presentation about the value and applications of music therapy for children and adults with special needs.

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Listen over Lunch

(sandwiches, cakes, drinks available both days)

Saturday Listen over Lunch

Joe Holtaway

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Rosie Metcalfe

Stokesley Strummers (Ukeleles) led by Ken Broad

Sunday Listen over Lunch

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'OneAchord' (guitars) led by Barry Warrington

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Stokesley Primary School Singers with Elaine Palmer

Elaine Palmer will be leading and performing with the choir. Elaine returned from California in September 2023 where she worked with
producer and engineer Mike 
Butler (whose credits include Norah Jones, Ray LaMontagne, Phoebe Bridgers and The Pretenders) on a mostly live album, HALF MOON RISING (release due in 2024), with big country guitars, warm, rich and classic textures and Elaine’s vocals and songcraft shining through.

Follow Elaine on Facebook: @elainepalmerpage or instagram:  @elainepalmermusic

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NORTH EAST OPERA/MAP
Following on from their performance at SongFest 2022 by the Middlesbrough Asylum Project (MAP) choir we are thrilled to be welcoming them back to kick start the festival. This time they will be joining the newly formed group NORTH EAST OPERA . Led by Song Fest regulars Emily Smith and Dave Pisaro, this charity gives people a sense of empowerment and a voice to those who might otherwise not be heard in their community. Based at Middlesbrough Town Hall they run weekly workshops, singing all styles of music from 80s power ballads to musical theatre, folk songs, world music and opera. They welcome everyone to their sessions. Their aim is to give people a voice who are otherwise marginalised in society. Be it people who have experienced homelessness or asylum seekers and refugees. “We stand proud as a company no matter the music or the venue, inside or outside - if there’s a roof – we’ll raise it!'
www.northeastopera.com
www.davidpisaro.com

North East Opera / MAP Singers

Joe Holtaway with Christa Awad

Friday 2nd February 2024 7pm - 8.30pm

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Joe Holtaway is a singer/songwriter and community singer from Cornwall. Growing up with folk musician parents, who also ran a local folk club, Joe was soaking up songs from an early age. Moving to London in his 20s and becoming involved with peace and social justice movements as a singer and songwriter, Joe's passion for the power of community singing grew. He currently helps to run a choir and gardening group, for people in the asylum system living in London, works on social change projects with the Quakers and looks after Peace Sounds, a record label speaking for and about peace - alongside making his own recordings.


Joe will be joined by friend, Christa Awad, an artist from Syria, the two of them are currently working together on a recording project to raise money for Christa's sister, who is supporting families in Damascus. 

'One of my favourite artists I've played on my show over the years' - Tom Robinson BBC 6 Music

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Howay the Lasses with Yvonne Lyon

Saturday 3rd Feb 2024 7pm

Howay The Lasses - celebrating women heroes of the North East of England through original songs and stories.

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Yvonne Lyon

Howay The Lasses’ are a vibrant new collaborative that celebrate the lives of notable women heroes of the
North East of England through original songs and arrangements. Singer and accordionist Annie Ball, father and daughter singer-songwriter combination Gareth and Bronwen Davies-Jones, and cellist Katie Tertell began working together during the lockdown of 2021. The result is an engaging and original canon of material in tribute to the lives of historical characters such as engineer Rachel Parsons and mathematician

Janet Taylor as well as contemporary figures like artist Sheila Graber and even the Newcastle United  Women’s Football team.

Yvonne Lyon, who many of you will remember from SongFest 2020, will be appearing with Howay the Lasses


Press Quotes
“...a moving paean to the lives of women from the North-East of England, from the fêted to the altogether more obscure.. ear-catching three-part vocal harmonies.. an uplifting foot-tapping delight.”
Songlines Magazine (4 Stars)


“Blows struck and awareness raised, Howay The Lasses adds another keystone to the North East musical
legacy.”
At The Barrier


“Howay the Lasses gives a new life to these sometimes unsung heroines, scientists, artists and social reformers who have reshaped our society by their example. An intriguing concept album to savour”
Bright Young Folk


“A testament to true stories of female empowerment set amid the stereotypically patriarchal landscape of the North East, this is a terrific and highly listenable album, the fact that it is just Howay The Lasses Vol 1 fuelling anticipation of what other unsung heroines they have to illuminate.”
Folking.com

Photos from previous Songfests in 2020 and 2022:

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