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Kaleidoscope Community Music - Let's PartyKaleidoscope Community Music has been busy making music in Derby for over 10-years! Below is some of it’s history and news.


1997 – 2008

The seeds of Kaleidoscope Community Music were sown in April 1997 when a group of people got together and decided to form a community choir in Derby. This idea evolved from some singing classes that Vivien Ellis ran at St. Helen’s House for Derby City Adult Education. Deborah Allitt was the first musical director of Kaleidoscope Choir and the group met every week at the Multicultural Centre in Normanton. In the Autumn of 1998, Deb decided to stop conducting the choir, and a small group of choir members took on leading the weekly sessions. These were Pili Arauho, Nell Connell and Beth de Lange. Pili moved to Belper and started up a new choir called Rough Truffles, and Beth ended up as the musical director of Kaleidoscope Choir. In 2001, we moved our weekly sessions to the newly opened VoiceBox. At that time we had an average of 12 people attending the weekly sessions, but the group has gradually grown and now we get around 30 every week. The choir has recorded two cds of our favourite songs, and regularly performs at community events.

Beth had the idea of formally constituting the group, so that we could provide more opportunities for people to take part in music in Derby, so Kaleidoscope Community Music became an organisation in October 2002. Our first project was called Derby_Sings, which ran during 2003 and was funded by Awards for All. We invited some of the UK’s favourite community singing leaders to Derby, and also ran Bulgarian, Georgian and Southern African singing workshops. The project was very successful, attracting lots of people to the workshops, and we still run these workshops now.

Our next project was World Song Derby which ran from April 2004 to April 2006, which brought people from many different cultures together to share songs with each other and the wider singing community. This project was funded by Arts Council England, Awards for All and Small Change. The project culminated in a showcase day with performances and workshops, and a songbook and double cd were produced.

We ran a song writing project for young people aged 11 to 16 during 2006. We worked with three groups – one at Noel Baker School, one at Mandela Centre and one at Murray Park School. Each group produced a cd of their songs, recorded at Amp Studios, Madeley Centre.

2008 – 2012

Drumming Group looking for a venue (18.12.08)

Kaleidoscope Community Music has now secured funding to buy a set of Afro-Brazilian drums, set up a regular drumming group, and run six one day workshops during 2009. We are now looking for a venue that can store our drums as well as host noisy drumming sessions without annoying neighbours. Ideally the venue will be easily accessible to people from around Derby, and
have a nice accoustic for drumming. If you know anywhere suitable, please get in touch.

Kaleidoscope Community Choir to perform in January (18.12.08)

Kaleidoscope Community Choir will take part in Derby’s Holocaust Memorial Day event on Tuesday 27th January 2009. We will sing two songs that relate to the theme for this year “Stand Up to Hatred”, alongside other music, drama, dance and spoken word acts. For more information about the event visit the Holocaust Memorial Day website.

New Mailing List system – make sure you get the emails that you want (18.12.08)

Kaleidoscope Community Music has just signed up to a new email service so that you can get the news that you want about our workshops, groups and events. You should have received one email from this system already. Click through from that email to change your preferences and get the information that you want from us. If you are not already on our list you can sign up afresh. Join Our Mailing List!

Drumming Group Launches (19.01.09)

Our new carnival drumming group will start meeting on February 7th 2009. The group will meet every week on Saturday mornings from 10am to 12noon. The venue for February will be Derbyshire House, Sherwin Street, Derby. The venue for March and April will be Derby West Indian Community Association, Carrington Street. We have also booked our first whole day workshop with Holly Prest – a specialist in north Eastern Brazilian percussion. This will take place at The Waterfall, opposite Derby Train Station on 28th March from 10 til 5pm.

Calidoscopio starts with a bang! (07.02.09)

Calidoscopio, our new drumming group got off to a fantastic start. With 28 people attending, we had learnt to play a samba reggae with an intro by the end of the session. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. There is is still room for more people to join us, but please contact us to let us know you are coming so we can make sure there are enough drums!

Calidoscopio’s first gig (19.04.09)

Calidoscopio played their first gig at Derby’s 10K run on Sunday 19th April. We played Samba Reggae and Samba Funk for the runners as they passed. Loads of the runners waved, clapped and gave us the thumbs up, making us feel much appreciated. We were located opposite Quad, and runners could hear us from the bottom of Saddlergate. You can see photos of the event here.

Kaleidoscope Community Choir sing for Derby city Partnership event (23.06.09)

Kaleidoscope Community Choir sang for Derby City Partnership’s visioning event. Delegates enjoyed hearing the choir sing as they entered the event.

Calidoscopio’s first parade (04.07.09)

Calidoscopio played their first parade on 4th July for Derby Goes Pink. We were unexpectedly asked to perform on the stage when we arrived, because the electricity was not up and running yet, and we were the only group who could play an accoustic set. Jane Flewitt led the group for the first time, and the compere got us to play samba reggae while he sang Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us”.

Calidoscopio to perform at Melbourne and Derby carnivals (09.07.09)

Calidoscopio are now booked to perform at two local carnivals, Melbourne and Derby.

Calidoscopio perform for Derby County Football Club (19.08.09)

Calidoscopio played while Derby County supporters walked from Derby Market Place to Pride Park for the first match of the season.

Calidoscopio perform with Cordao de Ouro capoeiristas (15.12.09)

Calidoscopio carnival drummers performed for the first time together with Derby’s local capoeira group, on Derby Market Place on Saturday 12th December. Capoeira is a Brazilian artform which combines dance, combat, play, music and “energie”. This was the first time that the Brazilian style drumming, played by Calidoscopio and capoeria had performed together in Derby.

New Funding for Choirs Project (15.12.09)

Kaleidoscope Community Music has been awarded a grant from the BBC’s Choral Ambition fund. The grant will enable us to offer a series of shape note singing workshops during spring 2010, leading to a concert showcasing the songs. The workshops will be led by local shape note enthusiasts Deb Allitt and Richard Talaska and will be open to anyone who would like to join in. The concert will also showcase Kaleidoscope Community Choir, our weekly singing group, which is also open to all. We are delighted to have won this grant, especially because only about a quarter or choirs that applied won an award. to find out which other choirs were awarded a Choral Ambition grant, visit The BBC’s website.

Calidoscopio is 1 year old! (7.2.2010)

Calidoscopio celebrated its 1st Anniversary on 6th February 2010. We had a drumming workshop with Leon Patel which was brilliant. We learnt an afro-block inspired groove and a candomble inspired groove called congo. the surdo players particularly enjoyed lifting their surdos above their head to play. Our party at Derby West African Community Association was attended by over 100 people, including Nottingham School of Samba, Samba Cultura, Capoeira Art Brasil and Derby Cordao de Ouro capoeiristas. There were performances, and jamming sessions and plenty of dancing, including samba and maculele.

Calidoscopio Sing for Richard and Anna’s Wedding (26.6.2010)

Two members of Calidoscopio tied the knot on Satruday 26th June, and the band were delighted to paly a couple of tunes and also sing a wedding samba song we’d written specially for them both. We hope Anna’s tears were of joy – we thought the song was pretty good! It was composed during two workshops that were held secretly, and we rehearsed it in the morning of the wedding.

Kaleidoscope Choir’s first concert is a success (19.6.2010)

Kaleidoscope Community Choir sang at our first concert to an appreciative audience on Satruday 19th June. The Derby Shape Note Singers opened the concert with a set of American shape note songs. The people singing in the choir had attende six shape note workshops to learn the songs, and this was also their first public performance. We also enjoyed a set of traditional Georgian songs from Leeds based Samzeo. Video of the concert will be posted on YouTube in a few weeks time.

Our 10th Anniversary Party was Fabulous! (27.10.2012)

To celebrate 10 years since Kaleidoscope Community Music formed, we had a party on Saturday 27 October at The Polish Club. We enjoyed food, drink (the Polish beer was rather good!), dancing, singing and drumming. The fantastic JigJaw sang an acapella folk song set, and then got us dancing to their beautiful songs from English, Swedish, Breton and Celtic traditions. Three of KCM’s groups performed; Kaleidoscope Community choir, Derby Georgian Choir and Calidosocpio. It was the Georgian Choir’s first time singing to an audience. At the end of the evening we invited everyone to pick up a drum and let rip! A good time was had by all.

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