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 work with young  musicians, see also GUYO performances and GUYO workshops pages, and Projects for other activities.
For  opportunities for intergenerational participation, see the pages for Grand Union Voices and Band Off The Wall.
For our international work, go to Grand Union Abroad.

ROAD TO FREEDOM WEEK, JULY 23RD TO 31ST

We celebrate our return to live public performance after Lockdown with an intensive programme of work in our home neighbourhood of East London:

Friday 23rd, 6.30-8.00: Grand Union Re:Generation Band, Poplar Union
2 Cotall St, Poplar, London E14 6TL
Free, no booking required. Full details here

Saturday 24th, 10.00-12.00: open workshops
                         12.30-2.00: street band performances
Hoxton Trust Community Garden and Hoxton Street Market

Hoxton Street, London N1 6QN
Launch events in a brand new Grand Union Orchestra project, the
Hoxton and Shoreditch Community Orchestra
Open to adults and young people over 16
Free, just turn up with an instrument!
Flyer here, full details here

Monday 26th to Thursday 29th, 10.00am to 6.00pm each day
Grand Union Annual Summer School, 
Oxford House
Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HQ
The 7th edition of this unique, popular and well-established event
comes to East London for the first time!
Open to young musicians aged 12-21 with reasonable experience
Players of non-European instruments particularly welcome
Booking essential, £80 for the 4-day course. places may be limited.
Flyer here, full details here

Saturday 31st, 10.00-12.00: open workshops
                         12.30-2.00: street band performances
Hoxton Trust Community Garden and Hoxton Street Market
Hoxton Street, London N1 6QN

Second weekend of launch events in a brand new Grand Union Orchestra project, the
Hoxton and Shoreditch Community Orchestra
Open to adults and young people over 16
Free, just turn up with an instrument!
Flyer here, full details here

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE AUTUMN, WE intend TO PRODUCE...

…a new intergenerational participatory show commemorating anniversaries of famous events of protest and dissent in London’s East End, still relevant to the UK at the present time – the Poplar Rates Rebellion (100th), the Battle of Cable Street (85th) and the publication of Stepney Words (50th). This will involve Grand Union Voices, representing the whole demographic of East London, the Grand Union Youth Orchestra and the GUO Re:Generation Band. October 8th & 9th, St John on Bethnal Green.

…Call & Response: monthly workshops with the Grand Union Youth Orchestra, exploring similar historical and present-day issues with the Grand Union’s core team of musicians from all parts of the world, culminating in a Winter Concert. Second Sundays in September/October/November and December 5th, Rich Mix.

…jam sessions and performances by the GUORe:Generation Band, young musicians developing a portfolio career in music who have ‘graduated’ from GUYO, learning workshop and performance techniques from GUO professionals, and given opportunities to create, record and stream their own music. Monthly Thursdays and Fridays, Poplar Union.

Sounding Bethnal Green, weekly events combining performance, participation, story-telling, practical workshop and debate, highlighting the musical cultures flourishing in East London today, presented by artists from those communities, often first-generation migrants themselves. Fridays during October & November, St John on Bethnal Green.

…a commemoration of the Independence of Bangladesh: another, and the most important, anniversary we have to mark this autumn, the 50th of the.birth of Bangladesh as a separate nation on December 16th 1971. We began by producing a film Honouring Mujib to commemorate the anniversary of the original Declaration back in March; the topic has informed much of our work with young musicians during the last year; and the programme will culminate in a large-scale show on December 17th & 18th (venue to be announced).

…a community orchestra for Hoxton and Shoreditch, commissioned by the LB Hackney Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund. A series of workshops involving all sections of the local community – regardless of age or heritage – will be held throughout the autumn, drawing out their stories, songs and music. This will form the basis of an original repertoire for a unique ensemble rehearsed in the New Year, with a view to public performances at Easter and Summer Festivals. To follow developments, sign up at mail@grandunion.org.uk

…AS WELL AS CONTINUE TO DEVELOP PROJECTS ALREADY UNDER WAY:

While we have been unable to tour or work outside London now for about 18 months, East London is the ideal ‘crucible’ in which to develop new, radical and progressive work that can eventually be rolled out nationally once again. In the meantime, we have begun the process of creating a film and a book to celebrate our own anniversary, the 40th, in May 2022!

Meanwhile, you can still enjoy our Covid-defying 'promenade performance' around Brick Lane!


DURING LOCKDOWN, our major achievement - and a completely new departure - has been to produce a remarkable film, Honouring Mujib:

This launched an ongoing programme which will culminate in a large-scale event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the War, December 16th. See our dedicated Bangladesh-UK Programme page for more details and updates. We also...

...published a 'bitesize' newsletter every fortnight, each covering a specific theme:

...produced Lockdown Live sessions weekly on YouTube;

...devised a QR music trail From Cable Street to Bethnal Green

...launched a new Library Channel on YouTube, as an online resource for professional or educational use.
This Playlist, The Isle is Full of Noises, gives a general overview.

...continued its radical work with young musicians, including regular masterclasses for the Youth Orchestra, live-streamed open workshops, and developing the Re:Generation Band, now producing its own repertoire, podcasts and an animated film;

...created a comprehensive discography of the Orchestra's recorded material.
All our published CDs, and individual tracks from them, can now be accessed on Bandcamp.

...continued to develop our collaboration with the Bangladesh Government and High Commission in London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of Bangladesh as a separate nation in 2021 (full details on our dedicated Bangladesh-UK Programme page).

...and Tony Haynes has posted regularly on his Music Blog:


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