A day of gospel music at Lewisham Music

On Saturday 25 March 2023 we hosted a gospel music workshop for young musicians in Lewisham. Delivered in partnership with the Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) and Lewisham Music, the workshop served as an introduction to the genre, exploring its techniques, history and themes.

The sessions were facilitated by musicians from The Spirituals Choir. Renowned for their reimagined classics and colourful harmonies, they worked with young musicians accessing AYM and Lewisham Music’s programmes. The choir was made up of young musicians, some of whom are on our Furthering Talent programme, whilst the backing band comprised musicians supported by our Awards programme.

They spent the day rehearsing “(Something Inside) So Strong” a song written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre. Inspired by a television documentary on apartheid in South Africa, they looked at the song’s themes of freedom, hope and defiance and used the song’s powerful message to inform their performance.

The workshop had inclusion at its heart, central to all partners’ work and supporting GMIA’s ambition to engage musicians of all ages. The young musicians, some of whom met for the first time at the event, worked together to deliver a stirring final performance for friends and family.

Keith Sykes, Lewisham Music’s Community Music Manager says:

“Working with Awards for Young Musicians, the Gospel Music Industry Alliance and The Spirituals on this workshop felt really special. The amazing team of musicians from The Spirituals shared some gems about gospel music and their craft. They also taught a really wide range of vocal techniques. But most importantly they shared their passion for singing and for music. What the young people achieved in such a short space of time was absolutely incredible.”

Neil Phillips, AYM’s Furthering Talent Programme Manager says:

“The day was just a huge success. When we first started discussions with the Gospel Music Industry Alliance we realised we needed another partner and we had no hesitation in approaching Lewisham Music. Their approach is so proactive and positive and there’s a great team there. This workshop demonstrated brilliantly what great partnership work looks like.”

Like Keith, Neil was blown away by all of the musicians involved:

“The Spirituals were absolutely incredible – wonderful musicians and just so passionate about what they do. For example they really challenged the young people who were playing in the band, but in a positive way, really stretching them musically and bringing out the most from them. And the young people singing were so amazing – I really think that the end result was something particularly special.”

Thank you again to Lewisham Music, the Gospel Music Industry Alliance, The Spirituals and all of the young musicians for an unforgettable day.

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