Building Bridges: The Trowbridge Song Project…
…was a 2 year Arts Council funded project based in Trowbridge Wiltshire. The project aimed to increase intercultural understanding and strengthen ties between different ethnic communities in Trowbridge, including the white British, through collecting, sharing and celebrating traditional songs and stories. In a series of events, the project shared the collected songs and stories of how and why people came to Trowbridge, culminating in a high profile concert and exhibition at the Wiltshire Music Centre in November 2015.
The vision for this project evolved out of the work of community choir director Candy Verney and the Sounding It Out community choir which meets weekly in Trowbridge.
Between 2014 and November 2015 there were 3 major concerts, the formation of several ‘Scratch Choirs’ (people who came together to sing for a number of weeks and to perform in a one off concert) and over 40 recordings were made documenting people’s journey to Trowbridge from all over the World.
There are many intriguing and wonderful migrational stories online on our Soundcloud page, videos of our activities on our Youtube page and recordings of new arrangements of songs which have been shared by people who have participated in the project. These are resources, available to anyone who would like to use them.
There were 4 stages to Building Bridges:
1. Building relationships, researching and collecting songs and stories
From key ethnic groups and cultures in Trowbridge, including white British communities.
2. A series of Events – large and small, informal and formal – over 2 years
Where participating groups and individuals came together to share their songs and stories. At the larger events, participants were joined by the Sounding It Out choir
3. Finale Concert and Town Centre Exhibition
The project culminated with an finale concert at the Wiltshire Music Centre featuring over 100 singers on stage, as well as dancers, musicians and story tellers. There was an international food cafe run by the West Wiltshire Multi Faith Forum and a photographic exhibition of the portraits taken by local photographer Penney Ellis.
4. Community Choir Leadership Training
A group of eight people were trained as community choir leaders with the aim of bringing singing to a range of organisations as well as work places, schools, nursing homes and clubs in and around Trowbridge, taking with them the core repertoire of songs collected through this project.
Building Bridges created:
- A unique archive
…of the current cultural and social heritage of Trowbridge and a community resource of oral history and traditional multicultural song, archived at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.
- A New Repertoire Resource for Community Choirs
….Some of the songs have been transformed into new contemporary community choir arrangements, by Candy Verney. These are regularly performed at Trowbridge Song Project events and are available online, as MP3 recordings and as written scores. They are also part of the core repertoire for the newly formed community choirs.
- A Global Impact
……An on-line archive of world music arrangements for choirs can reach audiences across the world, spreading the word from Trowbridge that singing bonds people together and makes us feel happy!
Funders and Partners
Building Bridges was funded by:
Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts)
Bridge House Community Trust
Trowbridge Town Trust
The project also received support from: