London Singers are a group of choirs run by Brendan Dowse.
We’re open to new singers this April.
SOUL SINGERS: The sound of a gospel choir, but secular songs. From Aretha Franklin to Beyonce, Motown to nusoul. Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Marvin Gaye, Mary J Blige.
POP SINGERS: Repertoire from the last 50 years of popular music. Carole King, Take That, Queen, Paul Simon, Sting, David Bowie, a million other things. Good for those with wide musical tastes.
JAZZ SINGERS: Close jazz harmony. Inspired by Lambert Hendricks and Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Take Six, New York Voices. Great American Songbook songs by Gershwin, Cole Porter etc, jazz classics, Count Basie, bossa nova, Ray Charles, rearranged pop songs, sometimes a little funky.
ABOUT THE CHOIRS
All arrangements are written specifically for the group. Usually the music is in 3 or 4 part harmony. While the arrangements are sometimes more involved than some similar groups, I find singers always rise to the challenge, and the results are worth the effort.
The music is taught by ear (no need to read music).
It’s important to make rehearsals regularly (although we know people get ill, have important unavoidable conflicts etc)
We make available online recordings of each part, for practice in the week.
While the focus is on the ensemble, there are many opportunities for soloists.
There will be regular live performances in real music venues.
As important as making music is making friends, and choirs can become communities.
Below are a few videos of Soul Singers performing at the jazz café Camden, and our first gig (this was after 3 months singing together).
WHO CAN JOIN?
Anyone aged 16 or over and who’s passionate about the music is welcome. The suggested repertoire should help you decide if this is for you.
There’s no formal audition, but you will be expected to be able to sing at pitch. A good voice, and a sense of pitch and rhythm are pretty essential: if you can sing back what you hear, you’re capable. Previous experience of harmony singing is not essential. Nor is reading music: everything will be taught by ear.
WHEN IS IT?
We roughly follow school term times, with breaks at Christmas, Easter and summer.
Currently, there are Sunday daytime sessions in Pimlico, SW1.
10.00-12.00 jazz singers
12.00-2.00 soul singers
I’m planning a pop session (probably with a bit of soul too) on Wednesday evenings in Camden, starting very soon.
I’m planning to resume a soul session on Tuesday evenings in Stratford (or maybe central) in September, and possibly various sessions on Saturday daytime. Get in touch if you want to be notified.
Our showcase gig last summer, with live band
WHERE IS IT?
On Sundays, Pimlico Academy, 3 minutes walk from Pimlico Tube (3 stops from Oxford Circus on the Victoria line) or 10 minutes walk from Victoria station.
WHAT’LL IT COST ME?
The first session is free.
After that, we collect subs termly, based on £7 per week.
If you want to sing in two sessions, the second will cost £5 a week.
WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE?
I’m Brendan Dowse. I studied for a Masters degree in jazz at the Guildhall, and now I’m an active pianist, singer, arranger, composer etc. I’m a founder member of respected contemporary choir, the London Vocal Project (www.londonvocalproject.com). I’ve taught vocal groups in schools, colleges and universities, and have led East London Soul Singers for 3 years.
I’M INTERESTED. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and come along to try us out.