The main focus of the project will be the Littlemore Oratorio which will be performed on Sunday 24th June at 3 pm at the church (with a repeat performance druing the Cowley Road Carnival on 1st July) . This will include the voices of local people and the cultural mix that makes Littlemore the vibrant area that it is. There will be Sufi song, poetry form all over the world, dance and traditional song. There will also be specially composed pieces for all singers interested to join in with. These have been written so they can be learned quickly.
A rehearsal schedule, plan for the oratorio and scores and recordings are all available
In the past two years of the music residency there has been a focus each year as a stimulus to an end of year concert. The first year was gathering sounds and songs from all communities and the second was hopes and dreams – with a focus on songs as a collective manifestation of our cultural convergence.
This year we are considering the idea of a tapestry that reflects the area. This can bring together the work of the past two years but also serve as a metaphor for the weaving of lines of different community groups into a representational knot that reflects the state of our community and all the members and groups we can involve.
In this metaphor we are inspired by the theories of a social anthropologist Tim Ingold who argues that we should see human society in this intersectional dynamic way – rather than in the stasis of much traditional analysis of community. While Ingold talks about lines and threads in a non-metaphorical way, as the actual form of relations, we adopt these images as a starting point for community engagement. As such we can assess those ideas in practice.
In creating a tapestry that reflects our shared identity we plan to weave together a piece of music that reflects different threads of music in the community. We will create a composite piece where different people compose or arrange sections which are then put together into a whole piece. The finished piece will be an oratorio for the people of Littlemore as it will reflect the story of the lives of ordinary people in Littlemore along with their hopes and aspirations. Some of the songs that we plan to use are already recorded and are at Tapestry Songs.
It will also include some music that contextualises the area in terms of the church as the initiator of this project and Newman as the founder of the church. But primarily it will reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the area.
In addition to weaving together sound the musical work will also bring together dance, visual art, anthropology and literature and attempt to share ideas between these disciplines.
The visual art work will be led by Alex Singleton and Ben Sad who plan to create an aerial tapestry in the church during the four weeks that precede the final concert when the oratorio will be performed. For some examples of his ideas please look at Tapestry Images.
Music will be created and performed by the Jubilate group and also include musicians Bruno Guastalla, Dejan Azdajic, Tom Bower, Roshan Patel-Hall, Nini Sakhri, Andrew Smith, Alison Beek and Lizzy Spight amongst others.
Dance will be led by Lizzy Spight and Michelle Azdajic. Some choreographic ideas are at and Choreographic Images.
We are also grateful to have the participation of anthropologists who are connected to the University of Aberdeen and will be helping develop our creative collaboration. Their ideas are explained in Tapestry Background – which also includes links to other ideas that inform our work.
Some of the scores that will be used are already available on the scores site (where we share everything free for non-commercial use).
Some texts that we will be using – including a poem by Mr Song are at Tapestry Texts.