Events

​Grand Union's priority is live performance, and since 1982 we have toured regularly - and continue to tour - throughout the whole of the UK and to many parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

For Youth Orchestra events, see also GUYO performances and GUYO workshops pages, and Projects for other activities.
For more on opportunities for participation, see the pages for Grand Union Voices and Band Off The Wall;

WE INTEND TO RESUME LIVE PROJECTS IN SEPTEMBER; MEANWHILE, WE ARE STILL VERY BUSY WITH ONLINE ACTIVITIES AND LIVE STREAMING EVENTS. SEE ALSO OUR YOUTH ORCHESTRA PAGES FOR MORE DETAILS.

PROGRAMME FOR 2020 - RE:GENERATION

Throughout 2020, our projects are following the theme of Regeneration, bringing together a huge range of professional, community and student performers across three generations. Our broad vision was set out in our New Year Resolution! So far, we have been true to that promise...

The February/March programme focused on Bengali music and history, commemorating Martyrs' Day and International Mother Language Day. It also marked the start of Grand Union's contribution to the year of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, 'Father of the Nation' (described on our new Bangladesh-UK Programme page).

THEN CAME LOCKDOWN, SO...

Since the end of March, we have been publishing a 'bitesize' newsletter every fortnight, each covering a specific theme:

Tony Haynes has continued to post on his Blog as events have unfolded, including:

Every Friday night, Grand Union musicians have appeared on YouTube, talking informally about their music and experience. All 12 sessions can be accessed on Lockdown Live; here is a selection:

Finally, we have launched a new Library Channel on YouTube, as an online resource for professional or educational use. 

Featuring an unimaginable range of instruments and singing styles worldwide, it brings together essentially lyric or narrative pieces from the Grand Union canon, ranging from simple arrangements of traditional music to Tony Haynes’s compositions for large-scale shows, especially those involving young musicians.

This Playlist, The Isle is Full of Noises, gives a general overview.

More Playlists group the dramatic material under other subject headings – eg ‘rivers and seas’ ‘jobs and occupations’, ‘conflict’, ‘villains and victims’ and so on. They aim primarily to inspire musical interest and creativity, but for schools they also form an imaginative way in to a range of historical topics (the slave trade, wars of independence, the Silk Road), social issues (disease, migration, inequality), cultural and political debate, and even languages (widely represented in GUO repertoire). 

WHEN CONDITIONS ALLOW - AS WELL AS CREATING BRAND NEW WORK - WE SHALL FIND WAYS OF RESUMING PROJECTS POSTPONED  BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC:

The theme of freedom and independence continues with our new large-scale participatory show in St John's Church, Bethnal Green, in which local people are invited to take part.

Original planned for  Saturday May 2nd, 7.00pm - Independence Song
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA 
Admission: pay what you can afford 
Following the arrival of Empire Windrush in 1948, bringing Caribbean workers to help rebuild Britain after the War, many more migrants followed from what is now the Commonwealth – notably from South Asia, West Africa and Central America - and more recently from other parts of the world. Over the past seventy years, these countries have gained their independence; but along with the yearning for freedom goes an often bitter struggle, and those who suffer most are the ordinary families caught up in it. Independence Song gives voice to these important but easily forgotten stories. We are therefore asking local communities not only take part in the performance, but also to contribute their own memories, songs and music.

If you are interested in taking part and would like to know more about the project as it develops, please send your details, and any ideas, to mail@grandunion.org.uk   flyer here

GUO CONTRIBUTION TO MUJIB YEAR SO FAR...

Sunday February 16th, Rich Mix - Bengal to Bethnal Green
The much-loved series, directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, returned in a new guise for 2020, launched by the remarkable Bangladeshi singer Amith Dey with songs by the legendary poet/baul singer Lalon Shah.

Wednesday February 19th, Poplar Union - open workshops
Yousuf Ali Khan and musicians from the Re:Generation Band led a one-day workshop for young musicians who then joined them in a performance commemorating Language Day and Martyrs' Day, Friday 21st

Friday February 21st, Poplar Union - Grand Union Re:Generation Band 
Special programme for Language Day/Martyrs' Day featuring young musicians

Sunday March 1st, Rich Mi x - Bengal to Bethnal Green

   

Latest News

Reflections on Music Education...

...in the latest Bitesize Newsletter #7, including a surprising blast from the past!

The latest Bite-size - #6

Announcing an ambitious new commission for GUO, and roundup of current participatory work

Bite-size newsletter #5

What we are doing in June, covering Refugee Week, Windrush Day and the Black Lives Matter campaign

Black Lives Matter

Listen to Worksong - a powerful Grand Union chorus + big band classic in defence of freedom and justice.

Bite-size newsletter #4

The latest on our lockdown activities, focussing this week on our work with the younger generation of musicians

GUO in London Jazz News

Duncan Heining writes about the GUO in lockdown, its influence and cultural importance

Bite-size newsletter #3

All the latest from the GU's lockdown world - and some amazing b&w archive photos!

RIP John Cumming

Tony Haynes writes about his valued friend, colleague and co-founder of the Grand Union..

On-line events!

Every Friday at 8.00, a GU Orchestra or Re:Generation Band musician appears live on YouTube! .

Covid-19 'Playlist'

Three pieces from Song of Contagion which have an uncanny prescience for these challenging times...

Bite-size Newsletter #2

Packed with fascinating facts and marvellous music - a mid-May roundup

Letter to the Guardian

Tony Haynes argues the crucial role of creative artists during and after the pandemic - and a big thank-you!

Bite-size Newsletter #1

We are publishing a short fortnightly Newsletter to keep you up to date with GUO activity during the Covid-19 lockdown

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