VATW New Song Project for 2018/19 

 

We have had many enquiries asking ‘What is happening?’ ….’When is the next VATW song going to be launched?’ I have to say at times this year we were asking ourselves the same questions! Last year, friend of the VATW and pop legend Howard Jones offered a new one of his songs to VATW. We were especially delighted because the song had been written for a blockbuster film due to be released. However, the film release was substantially delayed and, as I write, has still to be released. The agreement with film director was that we could not have access to the song UNTIL the film is released. Finally, after waiting and witing and waiting ……at the beginning of February, we decided to sadly abandon Howard’s song for now, and work on a new song/theme. Hopefully, Howard’s song will surface for us to use next year. 
 

Everything came together very well with the new song and the VATW team think it is definitely the best song we have produced so far (mind you we probably say this every year!!!!). It’s called ‘What Kind Of World Are We Trying To Make?’ In the news recently, have been some incredible pollution stories associated with plastics and we decided to make saving the planet at the core of the new song. Over the next few weeks we will be laying down the vocal tracks to provide you with the mp3 choir guide vocals for the different choir parts. One big difference this year is that we are also producing some very good quality teaching modules to support the themes in the song, so if you are looking at promoting environmental education more strongly, the resources will be especially high value not just for the choir but to the wider school community. So the eventual project release will include the following: 

 

Full demo version of the song – Choir part guide vocal tracks - Backing track with no vocals – Full sheet music of vocal and instrumental parts – Full instructions for teaching the singing, recording the vocals and even to help you with a video shoot – Environmental/conservation teaching modules – A full cartoon/video karaoke video version of the song to help your choir word learning sessions and for use with the teaching modules. 

 

 

Yes but WHEN??….I hear you shouting. After consulting with a few schools with whom we work closely, we decided to hold off the project launch until September 2018, which is the start of the new academic year for many schools around the world. Rather than rush things we thought it best to lay in some planning time for schools, as we know how hard it can be with scheduling activities across the year. Having said this …it is possible we will start uploading resources as they become ready for you so that schools and youth organisations who wish can start work ahead of the September release date. 

Running up to the launch in September and thereafter, we will be sending you regular newsletters about the song, with tips on singing and recording and, news of any extra resources that are made available so DO watch out for these. We will also be producing some instructional videos this year to save a lot of reading and speed up the information coming to you. 

As always, the VATW song lends itself to any dance and movement work and we would love to see this for any schools that especially enjoy these areas.

 

 

The team here think that this year’s song lends itself especially towards dramatic production with the hard-hitting themes in the song.

 

 

 

It is going to be tremendously exciting as ever to see what amazing things all of the schools and youth organisations we work with get up to with the Voices Around The World project - we can't wait to get started! It will be AMAZING.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the VATW team please don't hesitate to contact us - usually we will respond within 24h. Just email us at info@voicesaround.com

 

 

 

2017/18 - VATW support in Njombe 

Our aim in Njombe is to help the children, including all of those orphaned by HIV, get a proper education that will give them the chance to succeed in the future. Money from VATW fund-raising and other associated fund-raising is now making a real impact. Here are a few key milestones 

 

Two groups of teachers have been to the school to help train the teachers 

New classrooms have been built 

School gardens have been constructed including a small avocado trees plantation 

Educational consultants now regularly visit to support the school leadership 

A new all-weather sports ground is currently under construction 

The school is now being provided with a broadband Internet connection and computers have been repaired. 

We are investing in providing text books at the school. 

 

To help keep all interested parties informed we have created www.njombeedtrust.com website which we are busy loading with latest photos and information. This is a really good resource for you to let your students and/or parents know about the impact of VATW fund-raising. Watch this particular space to see ongoing developments. 

VIP Partner Schools. We are especially grateful to a few schools who have decided to make the Njombe Project the main focus for all of their charity fund-raising in the future. We would obviously welcome any other schools that would like to join us in this way. This will help us not only improve St Mary’s School but help us more widely with educational development in the town of Njombe. Write to me laurie@voicesaround the world if you want to work with us in this way and we will throw all possible support behind your efforts. 

In answer to a few queries that have come in – Yes! We ensure every single penny of funds received go straight to the school development work. For example, all those who have gone to Njombe on our behalf – teachers and consultants – have paid their own flights and expenses!

News about last year’s fantastic song/video release - ‘Sunshine’ 

Last year’s song ‘Sunshine’ ended up with nearly 7000 voices on the recording from 64 different countries. We were totally amazed at the quality of the music. Not only was the singing so good but we had schools staging all kinds of incredible routines for the video production. The song has had radio plays all around the world and become our ‘hottest’ song in terms of downloads. All funds raised have gone straight to help the children in our Njombe Project in Tanzania.

Sunshine and wacky videos! 

Thank you for some amazing recordings! Wacky Video/Photo Time! 

Thanks to all of those of you who have sent in some great vocal recordings, pics and videos. The quality of singing is incredibly high this year!! 

The 'Sunshine' theme definitely seems to have evoked lots of fun and good times judging by the photos and video clips sent in. We have seen some hilarious poses, really creative dance moves and lively singing actions. There is a distinctly 'wacky' sense to some of the clips and pics and lots of laughter going on. We think this is great! If it's not too late to say, and if you haven't yet taken your pictures and videos...please please please make them as much fun as possible. LET'S MAKE A VIDEO TOGETHER THIS YEAR that will brighten up the lives of everyone that watches it. 

We like to think that enjoyment is what the VATW project is all about! Look forward to receiving all of the great work from your students! 

Laurie and the VATW team 

Impact of your support to help children in Tanzania - listen to the Njombe children singing! 

Money raised from your VATW downloads and events last year are now being injected into creating outdoor sports areas for the children at St Mary's School in Njombe. It will also be used to help buy sports equipment. This is a very exciting for the school and we are looking to build substantially on this over 2017. Many VATW schools are running 'Live Aid For Tanzania' music concerts this year to help further with the fund-raising. If you would like to join in the fun please let us know and we will arrange for you to have access to lots of free music/choir resources to
help you!

Here are the children of St Mary's School in Njombe, working with Rachel, Tom and Lauren - three teachers from Bengeworth Academy in Evesham, UK who went over last October to support the teaching staff at the school. The children were very excited to learn last year's VATW song 'Lighting Up The Flame'


 

Getting in on the act! The staff have got talent too! Staff choir here we go!! 

Can the staff sing too?
Well this was not a direction we thought we would go in. But never say never.......
We have had requests from schools that would like to submit recordings from staff members for this year's project. We thought about this long and hard (about two minutes actually) and thought YES WHY NOT!

SO now we are officially inviting you to send in staff vocal recordings and video clips/photos. If we get enough submissions we will release a separate song/video adult version of 'Sunshine' in early July alongside the students' version. 

Danger! Danger! Rehearsals in progress - interesting report from a VATW school in the The Middle East 

Sunshine rehearsals in progress
It’s amazing to think that thousands of students around the world are currently busy learning this year’s Voices Around The World song ‘Sunshine!’ We know from the feedback received that students of all ages are thoroughly enjoying the song and it looks set to be another Voices Around The World ‘smash hit’ when we release the Sunshine song/video at the beginning of July. The song has clearly had wide appeal, with very young children finding the tune easy to master and older students taking on the challenge of mastering some of the intricacies of the harmony lines. We thought you might like to read about an example of one school in action with this year’s song project.

The 'Sunshine' effect in Bahrain
Here is a report from Kristina Bourner who is a secondary school music teacher at a school in Bahrain in the Middle East: 

Our students at St Christopher’s School have been busy learning the song “Sunshine” for the Voices Around The World 2017 project. Pupils across the Infant, Junior and Senior Schools are enjoying rehearsing the song for their upcoming concerts as well as getting very excited about the prospects of recording the song in April! 

The song has a very catchy tune and It has been amazing to see how rapidly our secondary school students learned it. After just a short time into rehearsals the students had picked up the song’s lyrics and melodies. A few of them also joined in with the backing track on their own instruments whilst singing, with one or two on guitar, and a few others on cajòn box drums and percussion. They are really enjoying learning the song and have been particularly interested in finding out more about the band members behind the writing as featured on the voicesaround.com website. 

The Head of Music at the Junior School, is also delighted with the progress that the Junior School singers have made with the song so far. The song has been such a success in choir rehearsals that the Music teachers at the Infant and Junior Schools have been including the piece in curriculum lessons involving 800 students! The HOM mentioned that ‘The pupils are really loving the song. Many of them asked me to share it with them, so I’ve shared it with the whole school on Google Drive. One of the Year 5 classes created their own accompaniment using classroom percussion and accompanied the whole Junior School singing it in an assembly. The Year 4 Lahan choir members are excited and looking forward to the upcoming recording session.” 

Google Drive and Google Classroom have proved to be particularly useful resources to share the various backing tracks, lyrics and sheet music with the school community. Senior students mentioned that they have been enjoying listening to the song on their way into school whilst on the bus. Students also commented that the song is catchy and easy to learn, and said that it had often been stuck in their heads after rehearsals. 

Thank you to the Voices Around The World team for the production of this year’s song!

Join in the fund-raising and produce your own 'Live Aid' Concert 

  
 Fundraising To help our charity work in Tanzania 
So far, over the last two years, VATW has contributed to the work of helping the development of St Mary’s School in Tanzania. Here are some of things that have happened: 

  • Steering group (including VATW) formed to support the school’s development 
  • Two new classrooms built 
  • Avocado trees extensively planted – to help agriculture and sustainability in the project by linking up with the people in Njombe 


Three Teachers 
From Bengeworth School, UK 
Visiting Njombe to work with staff 
 

  • Three UK teachers went over to the school in October 2016 and spent two weeks providing training for the teachers there, helping with current development planning. While there, they recorded last year’s song ‘Lighting Up The Flame’ with the children. VATW provided 20 MP3/4 players for the school to help the process of learning this and other songs. 
  • £3,000 raised by VATW downloads and activities since last September – now being directed at building sports areas outside the school and providing sports equipment (very little in existence currently) 
Njombe Children learning to sing Lighting Up The Flame, which they went on to record for us! 






Join us with boosting the fund-raising for St Mary’s School in Njombe. Help these children – many of whom have been orphaned by the HIV virus which is rife in this part of Africa. 
Many amazing VATW schools have agreed to run a fund-raising ‘Live Aid For Tanzania’ music concert during 2017, join this exclusive club of fantastic schools and run your own fund-raising concert. 
We hope that you will feel like joining in this very worthwhile cause. How amazing is it for our students to sing their hearts out at the same time as raising funds to help these very needy young people in Njombe. If you wish to join in with us on this please drop a line to info@voicesaround.com and in return we will provide you with lots of extra free choir and display resources. Let’s all make 2017 an AMAZING YEAR for the Njombe children!

VATW Goes Percussion and Dance Crazy in 2017 

Percussion Crazy!
This year's project Sunshine - as you already know has a fairly high powered rhythm and backing. You will also have notice - because you are such astute musical-minded people, that there is an instrumental break section during the song - this is no accident! This year we wanted to lay down a challenge to all of those participating in the project to come up with your own percussion work for this section! If you get something you are pleased with - please send us a recording along with the vocal and video recordings. IF IT IS SUITABLE....we will look at including some of your percussion recordings onto the final mix - wow ...this could be amazing! And maybe maybe maybe ...if there is enough material we could look at producing a separate percussion and backing track  recording ...we can't wait to see what you get up to!

 

Dance Crazy!
Sunshine is one of those songs where it is very difficult to keep still when the music is playing - In fact we strongly recommend that you don't! Short story: A couple of years back VATW was over in Africa busy recording some African folk songs at a school. We suddenly noticed that the singing had 'gone off' and was becoming rather tuneless and out of rhythmn ...African youngsters often have naturally great singing and dancing ability. After a while we discovered that an inexperienced teacher working with them had told all of them to 'STAND STILL WHILE YOU SING!' We quickly got them dancing and moving around again and the tuneful singing AND the smiles returned almost immediately! So the lesson - YES let them move!!


Over the years, we have had some great video dance clips sent to us for the project and last year, even though it was not requested we still got schools sending in some great dance work videos. WELL this year we ARE requesting some dance videos! Let's see what happens when they start busting some moves in Botswana, showing us their shimmies in Shanghai, showing the Harlem Shuffle in New York or rocking the World up in Reykjavik ....OK I'll stop... I think you've got the idea! Please rise to the challenge and send us your dancing solos, group dances etc. Whatever happens....make sure there is plenty of smiling. A sunshine song without smiling is unlikely to be a good thing!  Let the challenge commence!

 

Don't Get Left Behind - Make your students famous! Join the 2017 Sunshine Project  

The VATW project for 2017 has got off to an amazingly fast start. Many schools have already regiistered and signed onto our email list to make sure they receive all breaking news, advice and tips about working with us this year!

Important change for 2017.
This year we have decided to make joining our email list and registering to be part of the project MUST DO areas for you all! Oh dear....that sounds a bit fierce doesn't it! We have decided to only accept song and video submissions this year from schools that have registered and are on our mailing list. The reason for being a bit strict with this is that in 2016, we received a lot of unexpected submissions of video and vocal recordings (some at the last minute) which created a lot of problems in the studio with much more work than we had planned for.....So really this is a shout for HELP to you all ....please , please please make sure you register and join the mailing list and you will be our best friends forever! 
THANK YOU to all of our VATW best friends!