Blog: Parker’s Piece and Sing & Swim, Saturday 5th July 2014

One of the busiest days for the Cycle of Songs Choir took place on Saturday 5thJuly 2014. The Cycle of Songs Choir were scheduled to perform at Big Weekend, an event that is held annually on the well-loved area of common ground known as Parker’s Piece.

After getting the sound system and the monitors that were showing the Cycle of Songs short film set-up, Helen and Rowena gave introductions and called the choirs on stage. From 3pm until 4pm. the Cycle of Songs Pop-Up Choir, led by Rowena Whitehead,  especially convened for the project, sang many of the now familiar numbers such as “Allez les Velos”, “Vela Vela”, and “Why We Ride”, to a full Main Stage Marquee.

The children from ‘The Spinney Singers’ also led the choir in a rendition of “Hobson’s Horses”, a round that has been written byHorrible Histories song writer Dave Cohen, for the project, easy for younger singers to learn by ear. Following the Spinney Singers were  ‘Good Vibrations’ who led the choir and the audience in a collective singing of “Umojaho”. There was a wonderful energy and atmosphere generated in the marquee, and this was continued after the choir had finished their set, as many of the choir, the children, and the public took the opportunity to view the Cycle of Songs Film, learn about the app, and see the Cycle of Songs map artwork by Tess Ainley that was also on display.

In addition to the performance by the Cycle of Songs Choir, ‘The Dowsing Sound Collective’ were taking to the Main Stage at 4pm for their set which included the song “Reality Checkpoint – Parker’s Piece”. This song has been written, arranged, and composed by Andrea Cockerton, Choral Leader of ‘The Dowsing Sound Collective’ guided and commissioned by Helen Weinstein for the Cycle of Songs project.

It tells the history of Parker’s Piece from its purchase in 1587 to the modern day as a place of community and public gatherings. The vibrant singers and musicians drew in the crowds and the second part of the day went brilliantly as families, friends, and strangers all gathered to hear them perform.


Helen Weinstein and Marcus Romer introduced the app map to the audience from the Main stage and thanked the crowds for engaging with this important Arts project, then spent the next hour circulating in the crowds, giving out the app maps and showing families the app, entertaining youngsters with the logo non-sticky stickers!


Whilst this took place some members of the Cycle of Songs team, led by Sam Johnson and Ben Pugh,  were in the main Stage Marquee sharing information about the app and the film. The film was praised by everyone that viewed it: the children, choir leaders, and singers were excited to see themselves and friends in it.

The public enjoyed it too and there was even a question from one woman about how she could join one of the choirs. You can find out more from our listing of the choirs involved in Cycle of Songs here:

It was a great event, full of positivity and shared enthusiasm for the Cycle of Songs project’s ability to bring people together and celebrate shared histories and interests.

Later on that evening, between 6pm and 8:30pm, the Cycle of Songs team were invited to join the 10thannual ‘Talking in Tune Sing and Swim’ event in support of Water Aid. This took place at the Jesus Green Open Air Swimming Pool.

The day’s good weather continued into the evening, providing a pleasant atmosphere for community swimming, singing, and picnicking, as the Cycle of Songs team made a quick trip from Parker’s Piece across town to Chesterton Road, to find singers by the pool.  Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein attended along with cameraman Henri Ward, from the Cycle of Songs project, encouraging singers and their families to engage with the app and test it out!  It was a great atmosphere and easy place to sit with people to show them the app on our phones and leave them with leaflets to take home.

Our arrival coincided with the enthusiastic Milton Road Primary School pupils and their Choir Leader Anna-Louise Lawrence, who would be singing later on.

The Cycle of Songs team set up a table with app leaflets and our logo banner, and began what was a great evening of shared songs, food and drink. ‘The Andy Bowie Jazz Quartet ‘played mellow music upon arrival as people swam and picnicked. They were also joined by Pete Towers and his Amazing and Unique Kitchen Sink Guitar, Phil Rose and Tom Ling and Jon Betmead.

Inflatable crocodiles accompanied the children and adults in the pool as the singing and music provided a wonderful soundtrack to the evening.

After the bands the local choirs started their set. These included many of our Cycle of Songs Choirs: ‘ReSound’, ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘Milton Road Primary’ and ‘Arbury Primary School Choirs’, and singers from the ‘Cycle of Songs Choir ‘who had also made the journey across Cambridge to the second venue. Songsheets were available and the people watching were able to sing along too.

It was a relaxed and welcoming event with everybody sharing songs and home-made food: the perfect way to end a busy day.

Blog: Parker’s Piece and Sing & Swim, Saturday 5th July 2014


In this section