Come and enjoy a unique, not to be missed vocal music marathon featuring hundreds of singers from over 11 community choirs across nine City of London churches.
Marking the tercentenary of the death of Sir Christopher Wren the Wrenathon Vocal Marathon will feature gospel, a cappella, pop, immersive choral theatre, global and folk song, classical choral music and will include vocalists young and old. This very special, one-off vocal music marathon brings together singers of all styles to showcase the talent and breadth of community singing today.
Not just an audible joy but a visual spectacle too, the community choirs will perform in the stunning architectural surroundings of the Square Mile Churches, four of these City churches were designed by Sir Christopher Wren (*=Wren church).
The Wrenathon Vocal Marathon celebrates the joyful, healing and uplifting spirit of singing together in the City churches of Sir Christopher Wren. Highlights include a specially created site-specific improvisation by Filament Theatre Company, including music lamenting the climate crisis; a new collaboration between poet Adisa and Newham-based youth choir NewYVC exploring African forms of resistance and spirituality through song and spoken word; and the performance of a new co-created song in a collaboration between migrant City workers and Sing Tower Hamlets community choir.
All performances are 25 minutes long, allowing 20 minutes for audiences to journey on to their next church.
All performances and venues are relaxed environments. This means there is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement throughout the Wrenathon Vocal Marathon, and people are free to come-and-go as they choose.
Performances: 12noon, 12.45pm & 1.30pm
Singology Gospel Choir
All Hallows by the Tower
Byward Street, London EC3R 5BJ, https://www.ahbtt.org.uk/
Singology Gospel Choir is a community chorus performing uplifting, feel-good songs founded in 2004, with four choirs across London. Singology’s director, Mark De-Lisser, is known for his television work as vocal coach on The Voice; Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure; and as choir director for the King’s Coronation and Platinum Jubilee. His vocal arrangement of Stand by Me, for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has been enjoyed more than 22 million times on YouTube.
Sing Tower Hamlets
St Katharine Cree
86 Leadenhall St, London EC3A 2BJ, https://www.stkatharinecree.org/
Sing Tower Hamlets is a community choir based in East London directed by Leanne Sedin. For their performance at the Wrenathon Vocal Marathon, Sing Tower Hamlets have collaborated with the community of city workers and migrant women in workshops at St Katharine Cree, to co-create a new song which you will hear at this event. The rest of their musical program draws inspiration from Wren’s architecture, with songs relating to the theme of light.
NewYVC & Adisa: If words had wings
St Botolph without Aldgate
Aldgate High St, London EC3N 1AB, https://www.stbotolphs.org.uk/
NewYVC is a youth choir for young people aged 11-25 in Stratford, led by Musical Director Naveen Arles, and is part of the Spitalfields Music Family. For the Wrenathon Vocal Marathon, NewYVC have created the performance, If words had wings, through a series of workshops with poet, Adisa. Their collaboration is inspired by Adisa’s work at Fulham Palace exploring forms of resistance and African spirituality in enslavement. This powerful performance intertwines NewYVC’s unique vocal arrangements with spoken word performance from Adisa.
Performances 2.15pm, 3pm & 3.45pm
St Mary Abchurch*
Abchurch Yard, London EC4N 7BA, https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/15387/
SOUND is an a cappella group founded by Musical Director Liz Swain, with the aim to give talented singers from all musical backgrounds a chance to sing pop, soul, R&B and other contemporary music. SOUND take their cue from some absolutely awesome international groups and like to practise innovative new approaches.
Some Voices Borough
St Magnus the Martyr*
Lower Thames St, London EC3R 6DN, https://www.stmagnusmartyr.org.uk/
Some Voices started in 2010 with just seven choir members meeting up in London to sing and socialise and has grown to over 1,400 members meeting in rehearsal venues across the UK. Some Voices is known for their signature style of performing original arrangements of popular songs that range from Bowie to Björk, from Britpop to Hip Hop, and everything in between, all arranged by musical directors Laura Howe and Curtis Stansfield.
The Wrenathon Vocal Marathon performance features singers from Some Voices Borough choir, directed by Rebecca Baxter.
Finsbury Park Singers & Finsbury A Cappella
St Stephen Walbrook*
39 Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN, https://ststephenwalbrook.net/
Finsbury Park Singers is a mixed-voice community choir from North London, founded in 2018. They perform a range of music, from pop to folk to gospel and classical, with appearances including the BBC Proms and Barbican with LSO. This performance includes arrangements of Autumn Leaves, Over the Rainbow, and I Say a Little Prayer For You.
Finsbury A Cappella is a new upper voices choir, founded in January 2023. They sing complex and exciting a cappella arrangements, including Ola Gjeilo and Fleetwood Mac.
Both choirs are led by conductor, Hannah Brine.
This Wrenathon Vocal Marathon performance is in collaboration with Central London Samaritans, the founding branch of the wider Samaritans organisation, that began supporting people at St Stephen Walbrook 70 years ago. Our volunteers are here to listen every hour of every day and have provided this support without interruption since then. Learn more about the Samaritan’s here.
Performances: 4.30pm, 5.15pm & 6pm
Filament Theatre Company
Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DQ, https://hsl.church/
Filament Theatre Company explore the possibilities of dynamic choral singing and the relationship between voice, movement, harmony, body percussion and improvisation. For this performance, audiences will be immersed in sound as singers both physically and acoustically takes over the nave of Holy St Sepulchre. The program includes site-specific improvisation and songs from Filament’s archives, including lamentations on climate change from their work, Earth Makes No Sound, which will be performed in full at Southbank Centre on Saturday 15th July.
London Chinese Philharmonic Choir
St Michael’s Cornhill
St Michael’s Alley, London EC3V 9DS, https://www.st-michaels.org.uk/
London Chinese Philharmonic Choir is a city-based choir conducted by Bo Wang. The largest community Chinese arts organisation in the UK, the choir includes people across four generations from China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK. As music is the language without borders, London Chinese Philharmonic Choir use music to promote Chinese culture and exchange.
Performance 5.15pm-5.40pm only:
London Sea Shanty Collective
4 Foster Ln, London EC2V 6HH, https://www.vedast.org.uk/
London Sea Shanty Collective are a community choir based in Dalston who love singing together and keeping shanties and songs of the sea alive and relevant to today. Almost everything they sing has been arranged, sometimes with a contemporary twist, by our members. A collective committed to social justice and equality, they welcome everyone to sing with them! Hear them perform at St Vedast alias Foster before having the chance to sing-along with them at Ye Olde Watling pub from 6.45pm.
Singalong Finale: 6.45pm-7.15pm
London Sea Shanty Collective
Ye Olde Watling
29 Watling St, Greater, London EC4M 9BR
The Wrenathon Vocal Marathon culminates at Ye Olde Watling pub, burned down in the Great Fire of London, and rebuilt out of old ship’s timbers by Sir Christopher Wren in 1668 to house his workers. Grab a drink and join together to sing-along with shanties and maritime songs with the London Sea Shanty Collective to culminate the day of song!