Sing for Ukraine

Sunday, 1 May 10.00am – 3.00pm, Warwick Hall

A FREE singing workshop and informal performance with donations to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. 

As we emerge from the dark of winter what better way to celebrate the Spring than with a sing?

Following on from the massive success of our ‘Massive Messiah’ in September, Warwick – A Singing Town is delighted to offer another opportunity for singers to come together and share the joy of singing. There will also be a retiring collection to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Once again we are in the magnificent surroundings of Warwick Hall and singers will be led by the Choral Entrepreneur Team at Warwick – A Singing Town – Cerys Purser, Mariana Rosas and Benjamin Hamilton, plus our special guest, Bruce Knight who directs the Songlines Community Choir. 

Sing for Ukraine Timetable

The Songs

Each of the four directors will teach a song in four parts which will include:

Blackbird by Paul McCartney

Arranged by Ruairi Edwards

Blackbird is a beautiful song which features on the 1968 double album “The Beatles” (also known as “The White Album”), which is written and performed as a solo piece by Paul McCartney, accompanied by acoustic guitar. McCartney explains the lyrics are “not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it’s a bit more symbolic.”  

 McCartney has said on writing it in Scotland, that it was a response to racial tensions escalating in the United States during the spring of 1968 and that he was inspired by the call of a blackbird one morning when the Beatles were studying Transcendental Meditation in India. Hopefully, we’ll reach the same levels of mindfulness as we perform it in this arrangement by Ruairi Edwards. 



“Shosholoza” is a Nguni song that was sung by the mixed tribes of gold miners in South Africa. The word Shosholoza or “tshotsholoza!” means go forward or make way for the next man, in Ndebele. It is used as a term of encouragement and hope for the workers as a sign of solidarity. The sound “sho sho” uses onomatopoeia and reminiscent of the sound made by the steam train (stimela).   

 The song is so popular in South African culture that it is often referred to as South Africa’s second national anthem. Some cultural researchers explain that Zulu workers took up the song to generate rhythm during group tasks and to alleviate boredom and stress. The late former South African President Nelson Mandela described how he sang Shosholoza as he worked during his imprisonment on Robben Island. He described it as “a song that compares the apartheid struggle to the motion of an oncoming train” and went on to explain that “the singing made the work lighter.” 

Follow the Heron

By Karine Polwart

Follow the Heron, by Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, was written in 2002, inspired by the beauty and wildlife of the Scottish Islands. Polwart was heading home by sea early in the morning after singing at an outlying island, as part of the Shetland folk festival and is said to have seen a heron rising in front of the boat and flying across the sea. The rich and descriptive words of the song represent a return to spring, of light after darkness and ultimately hope after grief. 

Our Song Leaders

Bruce Knight

Our special guest song leader, Bruce Knight has been leading acapella singing workshops in Warwickshire and beyond for over 20 years.  He runs the magnificent 100-strong Songlines Community Choir and the annual Warwick Folk Choir.  A member of the Natural Voice Network, Bruce is known for his relaxed and inclusive style.  He has a talent for enabling people of all backgrounds and abilities to sing with wild abandon, and teaches inspiring and uplifting harmony songs with humour and clarity. 

benjamin hamilton

Benjamin Hamilton

Ben studied maths at university and gained a PhD in Systems Biology before deciding that music and singing was his vocation.   A specialist in the development of boys’ voices, Ben directs the Warwickshire Youth Choirs and a number of other choirs in the area.

cerys purser

Cerys Purser

Cerys studied at the Royal Academy of Music and has taken lead operatic roles in productions in the UK and abroad. Cerys has a passion and talent for the therapeutic benefits of music and is taking a lead in developing our ‘singing for health’ activities. 

mariana rosas

Mariana Rosas

Mariana obtained a Bachelor in Choral Conducting in Buenos Aires in her native Argentina and more recently a Masters in choral conducting at the University of Birmingham.  In September 2021 Mariana was awarded the 2nd Prize at the prestigious Dima International Conducting Competition in Romania. 

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