Arts & Culture

New community singing workshop teaches how to sing jazz

By John Charlton

If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at singing jazz but thought you just weren’t cool enough, then this group workshop is for you. Choir director and singer Steph Pirrie and jazz pianist Tim Lapthorn will teach you how to create this unique sound – and show it off on stage in the evening! The workshop takes place in St Barnabas Church, Jericho, Oxford on Saturday 14 April.

Steph said: “We’ll be learning classic jazz songs together, learning more about jazz rhythms and harmonies and discovering how jazz musicians work together to create improvised music.”

Both Steph and Tim are accomplished teachers and communicators. Steph is an acclaimed singer, choir director and vocal coach. She runs the popular Jericho Singers choir and runs workshops and pop-up choir days for singers of all abilities. Tim is a leading jazz pianist who has recorded four albums and played at jazz venues all over the world, including London’s Ronnie Scott’s. He’s performed with some of the world’s best jazz musicians and also teaches and arranges for choirs.

The jazz workshop is a new venture for Steph, who said: “We think that by coming along to the workshop and actually being part of a performance in the evening, people will better understand jazz music and the musicians’ methods and techniques. The workshop will have particular appeal to those already in a choir – especially a community choir, with its emphasis on learning by ear. Whether or not you can read music, we’ll teach you new techniques in a relaxed and enjoyable environment, after some warm up games and activities.”

In the evening, St Barnabas Church will be transformed into a jazz club for a special evening concert, when Steph, Tim and the workshop singers will be joined by a top rhythm section (double bass and drums), who will also be performing their own numbers with Steph on vocals.

Steph aims to attract around 50-100 singers to her first workshop, which takes place at St Barnabas’ Church from 10-4.30pm on Saturday 14 April, followed by the concert at 7.30pm.

Cost of the workshop is £65 per person for the day, including two concert tickets. Additional tickets for the concert, which will be open to the public, cost £10.

Contact Steph Pirrie, for more information or to book a place. Email: steph@stephpirrie.com or phone 07974 917763. www.stephpirrie.com/jazzworkshop