Spring Term

We are now well back into the swing of Thursday evening sessions running through until Easter with a half-term break on 13th February. Some of us joined the wassail at the Granton Walled Garden on a Sunday afternoon in January. creating good vibes for the orchard trees there (especially the apple ones) as well as for the willing band of volunteers working hard to bring the garden back to life. Do check out this Community Garden if you weren’t already aware of it.

Christmas Break!

Wednesday 4th December was one of our rare performances – our ‘gig’ at the switching on of the Christmas lights at the Eric Liddell Centre to support their work here in Edinbugh.  There was a really good turnout- possibly the most we’ve ever had – and our singing (especially on the staircase inside) was much appreciated.

The other public activity that we sometimes engage in as a group is swelling the numbers at local Wassail events – for many years this has happened at community orchard’s in South Edinburgh, initially at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and more recently at the Community garden by Gracemount House.

On Sunday 26th January 2020, there will be a Wassail Sing at Granton Walled Garden ,  an amazing garden which is being reclaimed by the local community . The OCSG song-leader, Penny, will be leading the singing and anyone can come along to join in.  A Wassail is always a great event, when gratitude is sung to the trees for all their hard work, and  and often involves a bonfire and hot apple juice .  It’s a lovely thing to do on a dark Winter’s afternoon.  Anyone in Edinburgh, particularly those local to Granton should take the opportunity to come along and discover the garden and singing!

We’re now on Christmas break, so not meeting 19th and 26th December or 2nd January, reconvening on 9th January 2020…

Autumn Term – Supporting The Climate Strike!

Many of us gathered on Middle Meadow Walk on Friday 20th September to join in the singing, led by Protest in Harmony, and support local school children running the Edinburgh Climate Strike event.

It all went off in a very orderly and positive fashion with much banging of drums and waving of banners with many a pithy message.  It was a great experience to meet people from all areas and of all ages united in a common concern for the Climate emergency that we’re now in.   Whilst making our way down the Royal Mile and joining in chants, seeking to raise our voices together, we were heartened and cheers of applause went up as the bells were rung out at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in support of the marchers!

We’ll seek to continue to help in any way we can to try and bring about positive change and to persuade our government particularly to act with other governments in making meaningful changes and so try and secure a better future to enable people to adapt to the changes that are inevitably coming.

The singing group is now running through till just before Christmas with a break on the 17th October.  On Wednesday 4th December we will be singing for the switching on of the Christmas lights at the Eric Liddell Centre.  If you want to join in – try and get yourself along to some Thursday night sessions so you’ll know what we’re singing!

We’re running through now to the end of July

and are learning 6 songs being sung by a number of choirs at the Edinburgh Water-Aid event on 15th June in which some of us will be participants. We’ve also been covering some songs made famous by Pete Seager in anticipation of the Pete Seager Singathon organised by our song leader Penny Stone in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

We’re well into 2019 Sessions

Having started the year with a self-led session (which we are able to do now again when our song leader Penny Stone isn’t available) the Spring term is well underway running through to 4th April when we will have a two-week break for Easter and restart on 25th April. We’ve already tackled some new songs – we list the songs sung each week on the Latest Songs page where you can track back and see just how diverse a range we sing. One feature so far this year has been tackling the body percussion that accompanies Bring a Little Water, Silvy – Penny is helping us put it together very slowly but the challenge is well worth it giving the number another dimension. Because people can drop in at any time, Penny always recaps for those who are new or haven’t been for a while. To find out more details about the group do look at the About page.

Looking forward to 2019!

We’re now on our mid-winter break, time for hunkering down and eating good food to put on an  that healthy extra layer of fat to get us through the chill of winter…

Singing has been a heartening and encouraging experience in 2018 as new folks have joined us.   With lots of challenging times ahead, no doubt, in 2019 our signing group will keep finding new songs to share, as well as old favourites, to bolster our spirits and keep us in good company.   We look forward to creating interesting harmonies for whatever may come in the New Year!

Autumn Term has started!

We’re back into the swing of the Autumn term.  We won’t meet on Thurs 18th Oct, but will meet all other Thursdays up to a date in December yet to be confirmed, possibly 13th Dec…  On Wed 5th December we will have a short performance before the switching on of the Christmas Lights at the Eric Liddell Centre, followed by a few more songs inside the centre afterwards.

Newcomers welcome throughout the year – we learn by ear, so no need to read music to participate, just a willingness to explore your voice and have fun!

Anticipating Mandela’s Centenary & Easter Break

We’ve had an interesting first few months to the year – an unusually wintery spell, being snowed off for the first time ever in our history, as Edinburgh ground to a halt in an exciting white out.  Except for that we’ve met weekly 6.30pm every Thursday at the Eric Liddell Centre up to 29th March.  Now we are on a two week break resuming 19th April, when hopefully the snow that has returned may have given way again to spring.  The group enjoys songs from around the world, particularly those which build community spirit and support the development of more equal and participatory societies and so we not infrequently draw on the folk tradition of songs for human rights.  Within this tradition the struggle against Apartheid is significant and July 18th 2018 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rolihlahla Mandela in Mvezo S.Africa, maybe better known as Nelson Mandela.  In the run up to this anniversary we will  be covering some relevant songs, including a new composition specifically commissioned for the occasion – yes if you want to be involved in a World Premier, come and join us!  All this in preparation for a celebratory event at Portobello beach set for Saturday 21st July to which all are cordially invited.

To Easter and Beyond!

We’ve successfully kept ourselves warm through a chilly first couple of months to the year with a combination of Beatles love and folk harmonies from around the world.  Our weekly singing continues right up to and including March 29th 2018, then we’ll have a two week break and recommence on Thursday 19th April 2018.   This year being the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth we’ll be doing a few more S. African songs in preparation for a celebratory event (still in the planning, so no date fixed as yet) to take place on Portobello beach.  Possibly in May, details will be posted when available…  As ever new singers are welcome to come and try us any week and it’s been a pleasure to welcome a number of new folk in 2018 as well as some old hands returning after various pauses – the latest songs page gives you an idea of what we sing each week.

New Year 2018 – Wassail update!

Having had an enjoyable autumn term welcoming many newcomers who are now regular attenders we are looking forward to resuming on 11th January in the New Year.  In our final Penny led session of this term as well as learning some final parts of “I’m Gonna do it all” we had a wee practice with one of our wassail songs to begin preparation for the wassail scheduled for Sat 20th January at Gracemount Community Garden. Here’s a link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1550244865071628/ If you’d like to try singing come along and join us any Thurs evening from 11th Jan!

Autumn 2017

It’s been lovely to welcome many new people to the group during September who have injected energy, joy and more voices to build our harmonies. Please feel free to come along and try us any Thursday evening with our taster fee and we hope you’ll be inspired to continue to explore finding your voice.   It’s great to build our regular attender membership and increase the richness of our harmonies with a variety of voices and experiences.  Please note that we will NOT be meeting on Thurs 19th October as we are taking a short mid-term break :o)

Summer 2017

We’ve been enjoying our singing right up to 27th July, but as usual take a break during August – too many other things to do with the festival going on.  Come along and try out the fun and pleasure of singing and experimenting with all sorts of voice and different folk traditions from around the world any Thursday evening from 7th September 2017 which is when we re-start.   We welcome newcomers and all “I can’t Singer’s”!  The great joy is you’ll discover you can :o)

Spring 2017

We’ve started our Spring term with some great sessions – including a self-led one when Penny was off enjoying herself on a musical break.  That gave some of the more confident amongst us the opportunity to teach us some of their own songs and get a flavour of the joys and pitfalls of leading!  We’ve learnt a new round in German from one of our number and re-visited the improbable, but delightful, experience of singing three different songs simultaneously (Swing low sweet chariot, When the saints and I wanna sing).  A group of us were also able to join Penny in supporting the community Wassail event at Gracemount House Community Garden on 21st January – part of an all day community event to help develop the community resource at Gracemount House.  Why not come along to try out singing and join in the fun!

Christmas 2016 and into 2017

Thursday 15th Dec is our last meeting before Christmas and the New Year. We’ve had a busy term and are building up to recording a few of our favourite songs so that folks visiting will have a better feel of the kind of singing we do together – and of course will be encouraged to come along and join in!

Our first effort may well be a rendition of “Era Nato Poveretto” brought to us by an Italian member who has since returned to Italy and is apparently looking forward to us sending our recording so she can share it with her Italian singing group 🙂

We resume in the New Year on Thurs 12th January 2017 and look forward to welcoming new members – especially folks interested in the wassail tradition as we’ll be participating in wassails at community orchards in January.

Autumn 2016

We’re back singing together every Thursday except 20th OCT – when we’re NOT MEETING, then we expect to continue until whenever we get around to breaking for Christmas.  We had a great first session last week with a number of new songs, lots of fun messing around with “Rhythm & Syncopation” and a pretty decent effort at Barbara Ann, despite over half of us wanting the luxury of singing the tune, the backing singers did very well to hold their own!  No doubt lots more exciting new songs to be experimented with through the Autumn and maybe some harmony jamming sessions too…

Summer Songs 2016

We’ve had a full spring and summer, finally performing California Dreaming at the Eric Liddell Centre Spring Fling, now with midsummer and the festival rapidly approaching we will be having our final singing session at the Eric Liddell Centre before our summer break on Thurs 14 July 2016 and resuming on Thurs 8th September 2016. For the last two weeks in July we will join the Sangstream summer drop in workshops across the road at Christ Church Hall, 7-9pm, see here for latest info: http://sangstream.org.uk/summer-singing-workshops/

To see a list of songs we’ve covered during this year so far, check out our latest songs page where we note each week’s songs.

Welcoming Wassail in 2016!

Our weekly singing resumes on Thursday 14th January and we will be joining with the community in Gracemount this Saturday 16th Jan with a wassail event at the Gracemount Mansion Community Centre EH16 6FD where there is a fabulous walled garden and we can see how well the apple trees have done since our wassail to them last year. Event poster here

We had a full and busy time before Christmas, joining in with Protest in Harmony to sing at the Edinburgh Climate March in support of the climate conference in Paris and also performing a Yoik in support of indigenous peoples on Portobello beach on Sunday 6th Dec 2015 – link to video here!

Christmas 2015 and beyond!

Our last singing session for will be Thursday 17th December and our first of 2016 will the Thurs 14th January.  Recent highlights of the autumn term have included participating in the Climate March of 28th Nov and we anticipate contributing to a Yoik in solidarity with indigenous peoples around the world threatened by climate change to take place Sun 6th Dec on Portobello beach – a link to youtube video may follow!

Autumn 2015 Approaching

It’s time to join together and sing again :o)   The fringe and festival are past and the first touches of Autumn are in the trees.  It was lovely to have a number of new faces joining us in our first week back on 3rd Sept, so if you’re hesitating about coming and wondering if you’ll be the only new one, have no fear, you won’t be alone and any anxieties should soon drop away as you relax and begin to enjoy playing with sound and making noises with us!

Festival and Fringe August 2015

With random ridiculously heavy rain clouds it’s clearly July in Edinburgh and building up to a really wet welcome for all the festival visitors.  So we’ll be taking a break from singing during August to allow more time for exploring the fringe or escaping the town hustle and bustle.  Have fun, collect new music and song experiences and remember to bring them along to share with the group when we start up again on 3rd September 2015.

Summer 2015

As the apples and cherries are blossoming and the birds are chirping, we continue our weekly singing sessions on Thursday evenings at 6.30pm. We regularly add new songs to our repertoire and you can get a flavour of the range of material we sing on our “Latest Songs” page. We’re taking a one week break on 21st May 2015 and planning an outdoor session possibly in June – details will be posted. Do come along and join us at any session, we welcome new participants – learning to sing together is a joyful and uplifting experience 🙂

Spring 2015

After a short Christmas and New Year break, we re-grouped for our weekly sessions on 8 January when we started to learn, among other things, a few new wassails. This was in preparation for the Transition Edinburgh South (TES) Wassail at which we had been invited to sing and which took place at the Gracemount walled garden on 17 January 2015. Our singing group, although now independent, has roots in the Transition Edinburgh South community and it was great to re-connect with people there given that we have received a good number of new members over the last year. We had a bonfire, spiced apple juice and people (including little ones) joined us in singing around the fruit trees in the garden.
One of the wassails we sang:
Wassail! Wassail! May the coming year,
Peace and plenty bring, to all who wassail here.

Drink to the bud and the blossom, drink to the root of the tree,
Drink to the fruit of the summer, wassail, let cider run free.

Fire at the spirit of winter, fire at the spirit of night,
Fire at the spirit of darkness, wassail the bringer of light.

Wassail the silver shilling, wassail the silver moon,
Wassail the silver apple, drink, hail the sign of the sun!
 
Our singing group leader, singer, songwriter and activist, Penny Stone is holding a singathon to mark International Women’s Day on Saturday 7th March St. John’s Church Hall Princes Street, Edinburgh 15.00 to 23.59. This year is the centenary of the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the oldest international women’s peace organisation in the world. The story of the founding of WILPF is quite amazing, and you will hear about it if you come to the singathon where we will sing 100 songs to celebrate this. Penny will lead most of the singing, which will consist of singalong songs or choruses. The song choices have a range of themes such as: women, peace and freedom. This is a drop-in and out event ( you can come and return throughout the period), there will be cake and refreshments, no charge but donations are welcome.  Previous singathons have proved uplifting and fun events. For more information, please click here:
 
We continue to meet at the Eric Liddell Centre every Thursday from 6.30 to 8.30 p.m.  We have no auditions and anyone is welcome to join at any time.

Autumn 2014

We’re continuing to meet weekly at 6.30pm in the Eric Liddell Centre until sometime in December – the exact date yet to be specified… Many of us joined with Protest in Harmony to sing at the People’s Climate March on Sunday 21st September – I think it was a first experience of marching and singing in public for many of us and it was a very enjoyable experience. There was a lovely atmosphere with lots of folk joining in with us as interested bystanders and enjoying it, so I’m hoping that some of them may make it along to join us at the weekly sessions in the near future.

We’re missing Fergus’ contributions at the moment – he’s so good at getting us started on the walk-around harmonies and is particularly good at the ape warm up, so we trust he’ll return to aping around with us soon.

July 2014  

We’re back in the Eric Liddell Centre this week (3rd July onwards) after our trip up the road to join Songworks at the Columcille Centre last Thursday.   We started a couple of new songs for those who missed us – good fun with a four parter from South Africa and a rumour that the Japanese lullaby we learnt the other week might actually be a Yoruba song from Nigeria – to be continued…!

Change of venue & time on Thursday 28th Nov

On Thursday 28th Nov we won’t be meeting at Eric Liddell Centre, but instead we will be having a special joint session with SongWorks who meet down the road at The Columcille Centre at 2 Newbattle Terrace from 7 to 9 pm on Thursdays.

*Please note different venue and time for one week only. Sessions will resume as normal the following week – on Thurs 5th Dec – at the Eric Liddell Centre*

Our wonderful singing teacher, Penny, will be leading the session, and there will be 20-30 singers from Songworks and as many of us at OCSG that can come along as well. It will hopefully be an opportunity for us to sing with a bigger group and exchange songs. Their website is here: http://songworks.info/

A wonderful time singing @ the Botanics

This weekend on Sat & Sun the Open Community Singing Group had lots of fun singing a selection of African songs at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. It was for a Slow Food Edinburgh fundraising event called ‘A Thousand Gardens in Africa’ http://slowfoodedinburgh.com/1000-gardens/ . The vibrant songs were a wonderful start to the event and were warmly received, some of the crowd even joined in for a bit too!

Changes over Summer

11th & 18th July the singing group is still going ahead even though Penny will not be attending. It will be a peer led session and is a great opportunity to bring along a few songs you would like to sing or share with the group.

25th July Penny will be back and leading the session as usual.

The 1st & 8th August there will be no singing session at all. Many people are away so it will be a short break from singing until 15th August when sessions will resume as normal for the rest of the year.