From Shetland to Devon Big Big Sing will rouse flashmobs across the nation this Voluntary Arts Week

by Deborah Leggate -

Following a hugely successful Big Big Sing Day at London's Southbank Centre on Easter Sunday, Big Big Sing announces its nationwide plans for Voluntary Arts Week - an annual, week-long celebration of amateur arts and craft activities taking place across the UK and Republic of Ireland from 9th – 18th of May. This year, Big Big Sing is encouraging people to get involved in the festivities and give their community a singing surprise in the form of flashmob choirs. Big Big Sing has teamed up with Voluntary Arts to provide those who want to take part with all the information and resources they need to create their own flashmob choir.

To kick start the festivities and to show how fantastic flashmobs can be Big Big Sing has organised a very special flashmob choir to help one Glasgow romantic pop the big question in a very central location in the city on May 8th!

Director of Big Big Sing, Svend Brown said:

“From Shetland to Dartington, we are delighted to be involved in such a broad range of activity this Voluntary Arts Week, from flashmobs to our Big Big Sing Days there really is something for everyone to join in, and we hope they do! Big Big Sing is all about the good that singing can do you and getting involved. That's the spirit of Voluntary Arts Week also, so we couldn't be happier to be so greatly involved, and we can't wait to hear some inspirational singing”

Chief Executive of Voluntary Arts, Robin Simpson said:

“Tens of thousands of voluntary arts groups meet every week across the country, providing opportunities for millions of people to participate in creative cultural activity. Voluntary Arts Week is a great opportunity to highlight this activity and invite more people to discover the joy of taking part. It has been fantastic to work with the Big Big Sing to realise this year's flashmob theme and we can't wait to see choirs and singing groups popping up in public places throughout Voluntary Arts Week 2014 (9 - 18 May). Be part of the action and put a creative date in your diary this May: visit the Voluntary Arts Week website at www.voluntaryartsweek.org to see what's happening near you.”

During Voluntary Arts Week, Big Big Sing will also be hosting events in Warwick (Sat 10 May), Cromarty (Sun 11 May), London (Sun 11 May), Perth (Wed 14 May), Ballymena (Thu May 15) Dartington (Fri 16 May), Shetland (Sat 17 May) and Norwich (Sat 17 May) as well as leading workshops in Southampton, Merseyside, Kinlochbervie, Paisley, Abergele and Doncaster. During the hugely popular Big Big Sing Days, singers of all ages and abilities are invited to come along, learn songs from across the Commonwealth with Big Big Sing's inspirational choirmasters before performing the songs in a finale at the end of the session.

Big Big Sing Choirmaster, Eugene Skeef said:

“I've been away from my home South Africa for more years than I care to remember; but I have never felt more at home than when I am singing in a group with other people anywhere in the world. The Big Big Sing experience has brought this home to me with a massive bang like no other. I'm saying this from the bottom of my Big Big Heart with a bottomless capacity for expressing joy”

Big Big Sing will also join forces with Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Children's Classical Concerts this Voluntary Arts Week to support Going for Gold - an inspiring musical celebration of ambition, dedication and achievement in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Going for Gold will take place across two days in Dundee's Caird Hall (Sun 18th May) and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Sat 17th May) and will see 900 young performers across a variety of musical disciplines take to the stage to entertain the crowd.

For the chance to perform at the Big Big BIG Sing Day during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland's young musicians can enter Big Big Sing's Schools Songwriting Competition. The competition has two categories, P.1 – P.7 and S.1 – S.6 and one winner from each category will get the chance to perform in Glasgow at the Big Big BIG Sing Day and have a video of their song professionally recorded and promoted through Big Big Sing's online and social media channels.

Big Big Sing is the UK's big big singing project. It aims to get more people singing and to inspire thousands across the country to join in the Commonwealth Games through singing - because singing is fun, but also for its social, health and wellbeing benefits. Big Big Sing is an initiative of Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, Big Big Sing is set to be one of the highlights of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. The project is funded by Glasgow 2014, Creative Scotland, Glasgow UNESCO City of Music and the Spirit of 2012 Trust (Spirit) (set up by an endowment by the Big Lottery Fund.

Spirit of 2012 Trust (Spirit) is supporting both Big Big Sing and Voluntary Arts Week. Spirit was established by the Big Lottery Fund with an endowment of £40m to sustain the legacy of the London 2012 Games by investing in happiness and empowering people to get out, be involved and feel better.

Spirit's Chief Executive, Debbie Lye said:

"It is brilliant to see Big Big Sing bringing their infectious love for singing around the country. The event at the Southbank Centre was fantastic - the room was so full of energy, happiness and people learning new skills, having fun and meeting new people. It's exactly the kind of event and programme that we want to support; we cannot wait to see the flashmob choirs during Voluntary Arts Week."

BIG BIG SING – HOW TO GET INVOLVED

The Big Big Sing's online singing portal – www.bigbigsing.org – provides a wealth of materials and information for those wishing to organise a flashmob this Voluntary Arts Week or those just looking to take up singing. The site includes a searchable database of choirs, the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook with lots of learning and teaching resources, a guide on how to set up your own choir, and details on all Big Big Sing events. Further information is being added throughout the project, including more songs for the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook and details of specific opportunities and events.

For further details, visit www.bigbigsing.org and keep up-to-date with Big Big Sing on Facebook and Twitter.