Feedback from Audience, Choir Leaders and Singers

Following the launch of Cycle of Songs on Sunday 11th May at Great St Mary’s Church we asked people who had experienced the event what they thought of the afternoon and what their relationship to singing is. These are some of their answers:


“I enjoyed the mood of all the singers, the audience, the beautiful church, and the fact that all the songs are so different - the different cultures: Indian, Georgian, South African and even some pop songs. Everybody is enjoying themselves. And for me it’s also meant meeting old friends that I haven’t met for two or three years. It’s lovely for choirs to see other choirs. That’s what I really liked about it today…It was so, so Cambridge.”

Bruce from Good Vibrations

“I’ve always sung, it’s a fantastic way of communicating. It’s a lovely thing to share with other people and for me it lifts my spirits hugely… to have so many people singing to one another is absolutely fantastic, really wonderful. So many different groups coming together sharing songs together and learning songs together. To be able to sing in a space like this is very special – lovely, lovely resonant places. I think the potential with the pop-up choir that’s going to rehearse in lots of different spaces is really exciting.”

Sylvia from ReSound

“It was terrific to see so many people in the church. The church was full to overflowing with a tremendous atmosphere of celebration and joy. There was a great variety of music – everybody enjoying the different styles. It was lovely to have some music by choirs who don’t read music and so drawing in a whole lot of people who love to sing for the joy of it but maybe don’t have a musical background. That was a great thrill to see. There was such a wide range of people participating in the event and clearly enjoying it – it was wonderful at the end when we all sang together. I thought it was just a great afternoon and lovely that you were all here…Memorable in every way, a great joy. These are great events to join, come along and have the joy of singing, be part of it.

Here at Great St Mary’s Church we’re very much gearing up for the Tour de France day as we’re right in the centre – lots going on. A big tea party is planned and we’re going to welcome everybody to come and join and celebrate this tremendous epic day when the Tour de France comes here.”

Margaret Johnston, Great St Mary’s Church

“It was a very inspiring event, extremely well organised and a lot of fun. I came here with my mother who is disabled and she enjoyed it. It was great to see people from all ages and backgrounds having fun…I love singing, it’s part of my life.”

Audience Member

“It was really lovely. The children really enjoyed performing and they were really active – going around the whole place and the audience were connecting to them. It was nice for them to increase their confidence to be with people and to perform in front of such a big audience.

The reason why we set up this Indian Music and Dance School was to give the children a little bit of their own culture because we are so far from India but at the same time we are looking for them to be a little bit more cosmopolitan. Participating in events like this means they get the best of both so it was really, really nice for us today.”

Swati Ogale, Sur Taal Indian Music and Dance

“[Singing] is just wonderful, it really is lovely singing with everybody. I love performing and making music with everybody else. It’s very uplifting and it’s an essential part of life…The event was great fun. It was really lovely singing with everybody and taking part in something. Hopefully it will encourage people to join in and sing with one another because it’s a very basic and wonderful human thing. Dancing and singing, we don’t do enough of it.

We were singing to one another and we were singing to people who had just wandered in off the street and I thought that was lovely. It was a way of connecting with people. I just loved that there were all types of age groups and types of choirs… I intend to join in at any other events like it.”

Audience Member

“Singing means freedom to me and bringing people together to create more than what you could do by yourself. Dowsing is a really interesting concept because it brings together people from all walks of life and levels of experience in singing. We’re all stretched beyond what we thought we were capable of doing…We wanted to join in the Cycle of Songs project because it’s all about community singing and it brings lots and lots of different groups together. It’s a great opportunity for Cambridge to learn what else is out there. They might know of one group but they may not know of all the other people out there singing and how they can get involved…It was great fun. It was a packed church with lots of people singing. It was a really good and exciting atmosphere.

Andrea Cockerton, Dowsing Sound Collective

“The event was inspiring. I hope it inspired lots of other people to sing. I felt really great just listening to the other choirs and feeling a sense of heart. A lot of what we do at Dowsing is about heart and it was really good to hear other choirs with that same kind of heart and spirit. It was lovely.

What singing means to me is about being myself and the freedom to be anyone I want - I can try all sorts of different emotions and expressions of different cultures. Singing in something like this is like being part of being the bigger whole. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how bad you are as everybody is supporting each other and it’s a great feeling.”

Nina Lucking, Dowsing Sound Collective

“Today’s event was uplifting, certainly inspiring, and I got a massive buzz afterwards. I’m quite excitable anyway so after a singing session I get a great big buzz. Inspiring is the word I’d use. It’s nice to be part of a group as you get to talk to people beforehand and afterwards. It’s community and you always feel welcome - which for someone who is new to it or interested in it you want to feel like you’re welcome. It’s great to be part of it…We have our normal group on Tuesdays but on Wednesdays we’re going to hopefully sing at the Cycle of Songs Choir rehearsals.

If singing is something you like to do but are apprehensive just come along and try it and you’ll be hooked, as I was.”

Mac, ReSound

“Well this afternoon was a wonderful gathering of people in Cambridge who like to sing. We’ve had about seven choirs and lots of people came in who don’t sing in choirs but were interested in finding out about what we do. I think it was a lovely celebration of the fact that when you get people together who like singing and you give them the opportunity to sing together you get something that is far greater than the sum of all the parts. There is a sense of real connectedness and community. In my work as a singing leader that is what I seek to create when I sing with people – that sense that everybody has got a voice and if we share our voices we listen to each other and we connect. It’s good for individuals and it’s good for communities.

The Cycle of Songs Pop-up Choir is going to meet for three sessions in June – Wednesday 4th, 11thand 18th– from 7pm to 8:30pm, and I’m going to be leading it. It’s open to anybody who wants to come along who likes the idea of singing, even if they don’t do much singing. We’re going to sing a selection of songs that have been commissioned for the Cycle of Songs project. There is one particular song that is about cycling and the different parts of Cambridge that the Tour de France is going to pass through. All we need is people who are keen to sing and keen to meet other people. We’ll be meeting in three different venues – Kettle’s Yard, the Cambridge Junction, and West Road Concert Hall – so we’ll be singing in three wonderful locations which people can cycle to. The idea is to create a community of singers and raise the profile of singing in Cambridge because as we’ve seen this afternoon there’s so many different sorts of singing groups that are going on, we’ve only seen a small selection of them today. The Pop-up Choir is going to sing on the 21stJune with an impromptu choir performance outside the Guildhall. We’re also going to be singing on The Big Weekend on the 5thJuly and also there’ll be the opportunity for people who can come along to sing on the steps of the Fitzwilliam Museum when the Tour de France is starting off on the 7thJuly. Lots of opportunities to sing and record the songs we’re singing as well.

I was lucky enough to be up in the balcony conducting a song at the end of the afternoon and it’s just fantastic seeing a few hundred people really enjoying singing together – I’ve been working in Cambridge for around twenty years now and a lot of my work is about reminding people that they are singers even if they think they can’t sing. There’s a real sense that there is a strong community of people who like to sing now which is good news.”

Rowena Whitehead, Choral Leader for Cycle of Song

"Our launch event for Cycle of Songs was not only great fun it was truly inspirational! I was wowed by the joy and enthusiasm from our performers. It was wonderful to have over 350 singers from so many different ages and places to come together. We festooned Great St Mary’s with balloons and bunting to make it into a festival atmosphere – and with live bands and wonderful community choirs it was a very happy celebration to mark our project funded by Arts Council England for the visit of the Tour de France to the City.

Members of the public wandered in too and were moved by the performances and stayed with us for a couple of hours – standing about 60 deep behind the pews.

The best bit for me was when our Cycle of Songs choir leader, Rowena Whitehead taught everyone there to sing ”Vela Sigabone”, a South African Song. We practiced it together and then performed it at the end of the event. It means “we come together in harmony” – and that is what we did - celebrate as a community with one voice. 

I’m hoping that tons of people in Cambridge will be moved to join in our next part of the journey for Cycle of Songs, and sign up to sing or volunteer or photograph the project – all are welcome – find us via

Helen Weinstein, Producer for Cycle of Songs


If you would like to join the Cycle of Songs Choir you can find out more information on our events page and you can sign-up here




Feedback from Audience, Choir Leaders and Singers


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