Official Web Page
This is the home of the Black Lives Matter Commissioning project (UK/US). This page is hosted by carolshortis.com. If you'd like to participate in one of Carol's workshops or projects, please click on the link below, or select from the main menu for this site.
Project Update May 2022
Dear lovers of song and racial and social justice.
We are delighted to tell you all that as of now we have raised a hugely abundant amount for the first round of the BLM Commissioning Project, AND there are still a few donations to come in! We are now ready to commission all eight songs from our chosen composers - Diane White Clayton, Lea Morris, Melanie Demore, Arnae Batson, Brenda Rattray, Mike Henry, Una Olomolaiye, and Jennifer John.
It has been so touching to feel all of your support in email responses, and through the sheer effort you put into raising such generous amounts. To feel the donations coming from singing groups and practitioners from all over the UK, and other parts of the world too, is just hugely inspiring.
We are even able to fund a residential CPD weekend for song leaders, which is planned for the autumn, as well as having some funds in the pot to make this project sustainable for the long term. We aim to repeat the project again in three years’ time.
We will be in touch again soon with more details about the residential, and when the songs will be ready to begin teaching. We are still looking like we will be able to roll out the songs in the autumn term.
About this project
Fran André (UK choir leader and project co-ordinator), Kathy Bullock (US African American Music Specialist) and Siân Croose (UK choir leader and project consultant) are the steering group for this innovative song-commissioning project.
The idea for this project has come out of discussions that are taking place within the singing leading community as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Individual singers and whole choirs are invited to support this project. Our plan is to commission 8 black composers, 4 UK-based/4 US-based, to write 1 song each for choirs/singing groups in the NVN. We will work with the composers to ensure that the songs written are learnable by ear, so they will be designed to be perfect for community choirs to sing.
Here's our Why
As you may well know, so much black music has been appropriated, bought and sold with composers and performing artists not receiving proper remuneration and credit over the centuries. By asking singers and supportive patrons to make a direct contribution to creating these songs our aim to highlight this issue, and do something practical and creative that raises our awareness of these transactions, and that they are long overdue. A big element of this project is that funds come from normal people, like you! You may be a choir singer past or present, or simply someone wanting to support black music and culture creation. It's so important to us that this is a grassroots project with the songs being commissioned from donations from members of the public like yourself. A big part of the focus of this project is economic, acknowledging and attempting to engage in a small but hopefully meaningful way with the economics of racism and inequality in music.
Please support this project as generously as you can - and pay both back and forward to support black culture creation through song.
How to get involved
Please do support this project generously, and feel the warm glow of being part of creating beautiful songs, and doing your part to support black artists be fully respected and honoured for their work.
If you are a song leader or choir administrator who would like to sign up your whole choir for this project, please contact the co-ordinator using the button below.
If you are a musician, workshop facilitator or independent practitioner who would like to support the project in order to have teaching rights to the songs, please also contact the co-ordinator.
If you are a choir member or other good sort who would like to support the project on an individual basis, you can donate on our Go Fund Me page, link below.