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Dartford Township Choir - History.


Dartford Township Choir (DTC) was created in February 2008 to promote
and organize local adult participation in world music singing workshops and
public performances.  The choir actively promotes extending the cultural and
ethnic diversity of participants.

DTC started with the help of a grant from Kent County Council after several
founding members had participated in “Mbawula” South African music
workshop projects.  These 6-week projects, led by Paul Bartholomew and
based at the Mick Jagger Centre, included children from several primary and
secondary schools in the Dartford area.  The grant, combined with the efforts
of the founding members, enabled DTC to continue adult involvement with
Mbawula projects and also explore other music genres.
The choir has participated in several Mbawula workshops and in May 2008 made a CD
recording of its repertoire that was used during “Black History Month” at three local primary
schools.  In October 2008, DTC joined a series of “Sing Mandela” concerts at Blackheath Halls:
a musical celebration of Mandela’s life, also involving South African vocalists, students from
Trinity College of Music, Junior Trinity and other local community township choirs coordinated
through Mbawula.  In May 2010 the choir participated in the European premiere of “Rewind” in
the Royal Festival Hall, a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission in South Africa.
Every year since 2009, DTC has organized popular programs of Gospel workshops with
internationally renowned musician Ken Burton.  In 2010, we ran a series of Jazz workshops
with arranger and performer Laura Zakian, which attracted 80 participants.  In 2011, the choir
enjoyed its first experience of Soul music, led by the enthusiastic and inspirational Mike King.
The choir also arranges occasional “Find Your Voice” workshops, which help people to develop
their singing technique and lose their inhibitions.
Paul
Bartholomew