Latest News

Bristol Reggae Orchestra plans to create a newsletter periodically to keep our friends, supporters and followers up-to-date with the activities and events of the orchestra.  It is delivered via our friends email mailing list.

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  • Windrush Reggae Choir Project Orchestra and Choir Composition call for scores
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 29 Jul 2022
    Windrush Reggae Choir Project  Orchestra and Choir Composition call for scores

    Bristol Reggae Orchestra has been awarded funding through the Windrush Day Grant Fund to create a Reggae Choir. The project aims to contribute to community cohesion by drawing together people from British Caribbean communities and other diverse backgrounds to explore, learn and create through the medium of reggae. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-61922763 

    This exciting new project includes funding to commission a new piece of music for orchestra and choir. The piece will be performed at a gala performance at the end of October.
    The project funding has enabled us to establish an adult choir that will meet regularly up until the gala performance. We seek to commission an exciting piece of music for orchestra and choir that may also include a chorus or verse written so that local children can be involved in the performance.
    The starting point for the piece is reggae music, which has historically helped to preserve a sense of home for many of the Windrush generation and their descendants, as well as supporting people through complex experiences including discrimination and providing points of positive connection with the host community. The piece must both celebrate the Windrush Generation and look to the future.
    It will sound original and feel authentic for voices of all ages in the choir to sing. It will take advantage of our unique orchestral sound, with interesting layers, strong melody, simplicity and directness. It will acknowledge our Bristol roots, enabling the choir and orchestra to celebrate history and take forward its lessons in a positive way.
    Fee: £3500

    Interested? Or know someone who might be? Read the brief to find out more. Deadline for initial submissions 5pm 14 August.


     
  • Bristol Reggae Orchestra and Gena Rose celebrate 60th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence with joyful Windrush Reggae Choir Workshop
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 29 Jul 2022
    Bristol Reggae Orchestra and Gena Rose celebrate 60th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence with joyful Windrush Reggae Choir Workshop

    Bristol Reggae Orchestra this week celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jamaican Independence with the first Windrush Reggae Choir vocal workshop.
    The orchestra has been awarded funding through the Windrush Day Grant Fund to bring together a reggae choir. The 6-month project will learn from, enjoy and amplify the voices of the Windrush generation and their descendants, leading to a gala performance in the Autumn
    . The Bristol Windrush Reggae Choir is lucky to have the legendary Orgena (Gena) Rose as its leader.
    “I am incredibly honoured to be leading this historic choir project to acknowledge and pay tribute to the people of the Windrush generation. Music is a perfect way to celebrate their legacy. It is a universal language and reggae music, especially that of Bob Marley, is deep, soulful and revolutionary. It reminds us that we are One Love, One Heart and causes us to rise up, see who we truly are and the power we have to change our lives and change our world.”
    Orgena Rose, Choir Director
    Excitement was high as the first new choir members arrived at St Agnes Church, St Pauls on Wednesday. With Ben Jenkins (Musical Director, Bristol Reggae Orchestra) at the piano the first group of enthusiastic singers gathered.

    “I am so excited that St Agnes Church is involved in this wonderful project and to see the building full of people from the community singing and laughing together! St Agnes is very much at the heart of St Paul's and as such has always held a special place in the community for the Bristol Windrush generation and their descendants. It is my privilege to be part of this as we celebrate together their important contribution to our community and the cultural landscape of Bristol.”
     Rev Melanie Otto, Singer
    Much laughter accompanied Gena’s warm up. Acknowledging the Marley family presence in the UK this week, a medley of Bob Marley classics were at the heart of a glorious bath of sound. A tea break later, with confidence levels rising, the choir were on their feet for another go.

    “Wow what an honour to be part of this historic Windrush Choir project. It is a wonderful opportunity to recognise all those affectionately now known as the Windrush generation. My parents were part of the Windrush generation and so it has increased historical value and legacy for me personally. Reggae music allows a celebration which is soulfully inspiring and fitting for the celebration of Windrush, to sing the tunes and lyrics from Bob Marley carries deep meaning. So… is it love that I’m feeling…. well yes of course it is!”
    Carole Johnson, Vice Chair St Pauls Carnival CIC, Former Lord Mayor Bristol City Council and councillor for Ashley Ward
    “I have fallen in love with music again, I found a new side to my musical career last night, I can sing! Gena opened a whole new side of my life to me last night, plus I made new friends! One of the best nights of my life, seriously! When’s the next one?”
    Joe Motsepe, Singer
    All welcome at the next FREE vocal workshop! Wednesday 24 August, 630-9pm, St Agnes Church, St Pauls. Register for more details by emailing choir@bristolreggaeorchestra.com

    Interested in composing a piece of music for the Windrush Reggae Choir? We’re looking to commission an exciting piece of music for orchestra and choir. It should celebrate the Windrush generation and look to the future.


    Take a look at the news item and follow Bristol Reggae Orchestra’s social media to get involved!

  • More fun at Merchants Academy Juniors
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 7 Jul 2022
    More fun at Merchants Academy Juniors
    The final workshop as part of our Reaching Out programme earlier this week. Thanks everyone at the school and to Bristol City Council for the opportunity to make this and all the Reaching Out projects work.
  • 60 years of Jamaican Independence
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 3 Jul 2022
    60 years of Jamaican Independence
    We're sorry to have to confirm that this event has now been postponed until 5th November. We hope to see everyone there. Fireworks too surely!
    Attachment:
  • Come and sing with the Bristol Windrush Choir Project
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 29 Jun 2022
    Come and sing with the Bristol Windrush Choir Project
    Come and sing with the Bristol Reggae Orchestra!

    We launched the Bristol Windrush Choir Project at a fabulous joint event with the Real Photography company in St Pauls on Windrush Day.

    Free vocal workshops start in July 2022.

    Register your interest at choir@bristolreggaeorchestra.com
  • We're hiring again!
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 25 May 2022
    We're hiring again!
    Freelance Project Co-ordinator

    Immediate start


    Experienced Project Manager required immediately for 2 days per week to help the Orchestra deliver a 6-month government-funded project to develop a Bristol Windrush Reggae Choir.

    This is your chance to contribute to the cultural development of Bristol by building on the legacy of the Windrush generation and their descendants and establishing a unique musical heritage collaboration

    Salary £26,000 pro rata


    Send short CV and covering letter by email to  leader@bristolreggaeorchestra.com  
    by 12noon 9th June latest
    interviews Monday 13th June (tbc)

    We particularly welcome applications from people from underrepresented backgrounds.
    Attachment:
  • Windrush Grants 2022-We're ON!
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 22 May 2022
    Windrush Grants 2022-We're ON!

    We are delighted to be recipients of a Windrush Grant from the government this year.

    Building on our 12 year history as the UK’s only Reggae Orchestra and our successful collaborations with a range of other organisations in St Paul’s, Bristol we intend to create a unique vocal ensemble/orchestral collaboration to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants to the cultural, social and economic life of Bristol and beyond.
    We know a growing number of adults and young people would like to engage with us through singing. A vocal ensemble will enable us to include a greater number of participants in performances, challenge us to create repertoire to include multiple voices and will, we hope, lead to the establishment of a Bristol Windrush Reggae Choir as an independent entity.
    Watch this space for more info about  job opportunities related to this and how to apply.


    Chair of the Windrush Community Funds and Windrush Schemes group Paulette Simpson CBE said:
     
    “I am delighted that we have been able to fund 35 excellent projects from across the country for the fourth annual National Windrush Day on June 22nd to celebrate the outstanding contributions that the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made, and continue to make, to British Society.

    “This year we are encouraging new, innovative proposals to share the Windrush story and reach out to people in diverse local communities. In doing so, we can ensure projects will impact history, education and celebration in a meaningful way.”
  • We're Hiring!
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 16 May 2022
    Interested in community music-making?
    Have experience in digital marketing?


    Bristol Reggae Orchestra looking for a
    Freelance Digital Marketing Officer
    to assist in promoting the Orchestra’s work

    Creating lively and engaging content across all digital and social media
    Co-ordinating digital elements of fundraising appeals
    Keeping website content up to date


    80 hours (10/12 days) over 1yr fixed term
    Fully flexible working pattern.
    Salary: £9.90 per hour (paid monthly pro rata)
    See full job description attached.


    How to apply

    Send an application letter and short CV by mail to chair@bristolreggaeorchestra.com.
    Deadline: 8th June 2022
     
    Attachment:
  • Loving Pauper
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  •  Date Posted: Tue, 10 May 2022
    Check out p18 in the mag to discover our fabulous bassist explain his connection to this classic old number.
    YouTube Video URL:
  • Beacon Calling
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 4 Apr 2022
    The great Cleveland Watkiss and backing band at the Beacon April 9th for the Great Jamaican Songbook. Get there!
  • Programme News
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 21 Mar 2022
    This years programme of concerts is shaping up to be our busiest yet with gigs planned for Filwood in April and celebrations for the Queen's Jubilee, Windrush Day, and Jamaican Independence 60th Anniversary all in the planning.
    We're also delighted to be supporting our good friend and patron Gary Crosby once again when he brings the fabulous Jazz Jamaica to St George's in July.
    All this is in addition to our programme of schools and community workshops, private events and invitations for smaller public engagements.
    Keep an eye out for details as they emerge and don't forget, if you'd like to join us or simply support us with sponsorship or donations just click on the relevant buttons below.
  • Reaching Out to Ambition Lawrence Weston
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 3 Mar 2022
    As part of our City Council-funded Reaching Out project we had lots of fun in Lawrence Weston recently. It was great but don't just take our word for it! Thanks to BBC Bristol you can hear what we got up to and what it meant to folks. Check out the link at 2hours 26minutes in.
    We're doing more events like this all around town over the next few months. Keep your ears open!
  • And in better news---Opportunity Knocks!
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 13 Jan 2022
    And in better news---Opportunity Knocks!
    We are delighted to have partnered with reggae icons The Wailers (yes, really!) on their upcoming tour of the UK.  If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to their show @ Bristol O2 Academy on the 6th of March, find us on social media, "like" the posts and tag a friend.  Good luck! See you there!
  • Reaching Out to Bristol Recovery Orchestra
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 3 Nov 2021
    Our project to take the music to the people is shaping up. We have plans in place for a series of workshops and performances in Montpelier, Lawrence Weston, Hartcliffe, Filwood, Knowle West and St Pauls in schools and community centres. We will be working with school students of all ages, community youth groups, with young people and adults  recovering from mental health and addiction problems and finding time for some public performances.
    Our thanks go to the City Council Arts Fund for funding the project.
    Additional donations and sponsorship always welcome. Hit the button or get in touch.
  • The Generation Games
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  •  Date Posted: Tue, 2 Nov 2021
    Delighted to be performing once again for the Malcolm X Elders Forum and their friends Dhek Bhal, Golden Agers and Evergreen Clubs. on Thursday 11th November at the Malcolm X Community Centre. The programme includes our newly commissioned Windrush Generation piece.
    See you there--but be quick. Tickets selling fast.
  • The Windrush Concert
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 14 Oct 2021
    Delighted and excited to be providing the live music for this prestige event. Highlights are:
    An opportunity to preview the book of the Pioneers Portraits of the Elders in Bristol  from The Real Photography Company of St Paul's.
    Two short sets from BRO including a world premiere perfromance of a new piece of muisc commissioned for the occasion
    There will be food for everyone from Glen's Kitchen St Paul's (as seen on TV!) 
    Booking via the eventbrite link here
    Numbers limited so get in quick
  • City Council Reaching Out
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021
    Huge thanks to Bristol City Council for funding our Reaching Out project which will be bringing our music and our spirit to communities around the city over the next year or so. Watch out for more news as it comes.
  • Windrush Schools Resource
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 15 Nov 2020
    Delighted to be collaborating with the St Paul's-based  Real Photography Company on their Windrush Generation Project now being rolled out to support an educational resource for schools. Check their link for some powerful images.
  • Music across the generations
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 8 Nov 2020
    Congratulations to our partner organisation Malcolm X Centre for their successful bid to develop a youth music-making ensemble. We look forward to working closely with them  next year to  achieve success and keep the music live in St Paul's for generations to come! Reggae Music-The People's Music.
  • Looking to the Future
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 8 Nov 2020
    We will be back! We're booked for  a double-header gig at St George's Bristol on Saturday 17th April 2021.
    In line with the new arrangements we will be performng a matinee set in the afternoon and an evening set. Get the date in your diary, tell your friends and stand by to get those tickets as soon as they become available! More news when we have it.hello
    st George's
  • Revised Covid safety arrangements
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 12 Sep 2020
    Hi everyone, as you know we were looking to get back together again to rehearse but then the rules changed. On the face of it we can't now plan to get together. BRO are members of making music and I received this from them the other day:

    The UK government has reduced the number of people being able to meet socially in a group to 6, from 14 September. However, there is still an open question as to whether music groups would be affected by this or not.

    Currently, the list of exemptions from this rule includes sports (indoor and outdoor) and youth activities, but not other community activities, such as music groups.

    We have been given to understand that the guidance will be updated by 14 September, so there is a small chance to influence it. 

    If you feel strongly that music groups should be exempt from the rule of 6, as exercise classes are, then you should write to your MP without delay asking that community arts/community music groups, organised by businesses and charitable organisations, in controlled settings should be exempt from the restrictions on social gatherings, in the same way that sporting and youth activities are.

    Here are some of the arguments you might wish to put forward:

    • Research has now been undertaken which shows that musical activities are no more dangerous than loud speaking in close proximity; effective mitigations are therefore now possible, in terms of ventilation, face coverings, rigorous 2m social distancing etc.
    • Musical group activity creates some of the same benefits as sporting activity does, e.g. on respiratory and immune systems, helping many people who cannot undertake other forms of exercise
    • The mental health benefits of group music activity are now proven beyond doubt and are crucial at this time when the nation is reeling from 6 months of pandemic and the prospect of renewed restrictions in the winter, combined with difficult economic prospects; restricting groups again right now would deal a further blow to the mental health of millions across the UK who participate in such activity
    • This is formal activity in strictly controlled settings, rigorously risk assessed by a committee of people or similar, or a business owner, responsible for the well-being of participants, undertaken only with risk mitigations in place and enforced

    An important note!

    It is entirely up to you if you get involved. We believe that it is important that groups are allowed the freedom to risk assess their own activity as it is so varied in terms of participants, settings etc. If you agree – even if your own group is not able or ready to meet in person! – then please do get involved: only voters can persuade their MP to take up an issue. We cannot do that on your behalf.

    We are working with Brass Bands England, Association of British Choral Directors, Singing Network UK and others on this.

    Please do share this email with anyone you think may find it of interest.

    Best of luck,

    Barbara Eifler, Chief Executive
    Making Music

    Anyone reading this is invited to write to their MP if you support the idea of music groups being subjeet to amended guidance. Thnaks to all for your support.
  • Carnival Job Opportunity
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 29 Aug 2020

    St Pauls Carnival CIC is pleased to announce it will be looking for a part-time curator for our upcoming Black History Month programme. This is a unique opportunity to create and deliver a bespoke digital programme, focussed on Black History and the community in the aftermath of the Colston Statue, and what it means for the wider city as a whole.

    We are looking for an emerging and exciting talent to bring together the diverse experiences of the city, to engage with and empower both young and old and create a programme that builds on the success of the Spirit Up! United At Home Digital Carnival. 

    This role is also funded by the United Communities & Solon Housing Community Fund. This fund has been vital for many of our partner agencies enabling them to better respond to our community during the initial stages of virus outbreak. This award helps SPC to continue our community outreach and work with artists.

    Closing date is September 4th. Interviews w/c 7th September

    Attachment:
  • Sponsorship opportunity
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 7 Aug 2020
    We are looking to comission an arrangement for the Orchestra of the reggae classic You Don't Love Me (No, No, No).
    We been offerred a special  deal at £500 for the arrangement for full orchestra by a professional arranger. If you or anyone you know can help with this please visit our sponsorship page.
    For an idea of what we're looking to achieve, watch Jazz Jamaica kill it!!
    YouTube Video URL:
  • Summer Sounds
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 1 Aug 2020
    We're really pleased to anounce that our site is now fully open to all with opportunities for you to keep up-to-date with developments in the Orchestra, buy music downloads ad donate funds to help us through this difficult period. We are looking to re-start rehearsals some time this autumn and we have some gigs planned for next year so please keep an eye on our events page and bookmark the site. And check out our first go at remote video tracking!
     
    YouTube Video URL:
  • Our Tribute to Junior
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 17 Apr 2020
    YouTube Video URL:
  • Junior Hines
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020
    Junior Hines
    It is with great sadness and sense of profound loss that we record the death of our dear friend and founder member Adolph "Junior" Hines who battled long and hard against Covid-19 but who succumbed on 14th April. Our thoughts go to his family and many friends in music here and in Jamaica. Our thanks go to his dedicated care team in the hospital who worked so hard on his behalf. He was a co-creator of Peace which we play regularly and which will always remind us of his contribution to our music and which you can listen to on our Soundcloud link. Rest in perfect peace Junior.
  • Covid-19 update
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 25 Mar 2020
    Hi everybody. You won't be surprised to know that we have had to stop all rehearsals and cancel all planned perfromances during the current emergency.
    Orchestra members will be working hard on individual practice and working remotely to be sure we will be able to re-start in full voice as soon as we can.
    Please give some thought and support (including financial where you can) to all workers in the creative arts sector whose careers and enterprises are on hold indefinitely. Stay strong!!