Jessa’s Singing Larks – August 2023

… a long overdue catch-up! 6 months has passed since I last posted an update on here – there have been so many singing larks going on that I haven’t had a chance to write about them!

Do have a read and find out what I’ve been up to…..

I was captured here by David K. Newton of Brave Little Island Photography, at Cafedral.

Durham Fringe – launching Two Bards and a Songbird

Highlights of Two Bards and a Songbird at Durham Fringe Festival

Devising a Shakespeare-themed show was not something I had ever thought of doing, but when the call came out from Durham Fringe Festival asking for performances with Shakespeare links to programme, I couldn’t resist the challenge!

I soon added the Scottish Bard Robert Burns into the equation, going back to my roots and my schooldays – and quickly it became clear that my relatively newly discovered skills in looping, improvising and songwriting would be very much used in this project. I relished the whole process, being inspired by the words and worlds of both bards, and creating my own musical journey through their work, covering themes of life and death, love and loss, even war and peace! The fringe was a wonderful oppotunity to meet other performers too, and I was so impressed by the young singer/songwriter whose show followed mine at the atmospheric Cafedral Durham – Amity Miller, definitely one to watch!

Audience feedback was overwhelming at times, with one very emotional night in particular where the audience included a Ukrainian English teacher who was particularly moved by some of the pieces – she left this beautiful card…

If anyone had suggested a few years ago that I would be improvising songs on the spot using Shakespeare quotes, looping up sonnets, or even performing a Taylor Swift song as part of a performance…….these are just not things I would have thought of doing! I do believe it’s important to just pause and reflect a little on how far I have come, and the creativity that has developed within me in recent years.

My next task is to take this show onwards to different venues, festivals, events….maybe even to record some of the original arrangements and compositions to be shared. Ideas and comments on this are always welcomed.

Julius Caesar –

a joint project with the RSC + York Theatre Royal

This year saw me take on another Shakespeare-themed project -working with 6 inspirational women from the York community, helping them prepare to be a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Julius Caesar when it visited York Theatre Royal in June. It was a real honour to work with these talented humans, all with their own life experiences to bring to our sessions. Yes, we worked on vocal techiques and learned music to perform, but this project was so much more than that. The space to reflect on our lives, to build such strong team bonds and create something special together – that experience was so meaningful and memorable for me, and I hope for this gang of humans too. The team are pictured on the left along with Helen and Lucy from the RSC production team.

Choir successes

Each of my groups has had their own triumphs in recent months – from the Wiggi Singstars singing their hearts out on the JR Theatre stage in Joseph, to the York Military Wives Choir being almost blown away at the armed forces day performance in Bridlington! It has been great to get singing going again at Helmsley Arts Centre, with the HAC Singers going from strength to strength, and my very own Easingwold Community Singers continue to amaze me with their enthusiasm, positivity, and fab sounds. Singing For All keeps me busy as well, and the York group have had record numbers this year which is wonderful. Sadly, we have lost 3 of our regular SFA singers this Summer – David Cummings and Ernie Huck from the Easingwold SFA, and Patricia Best from the York SFA. They will be very much missed when we return in early September.

York MWC nearly being blown off the stage!

Musical Bridges with Singing For All

Musical Bridges is one of the projects I am most proud of – bringing people together in song. People of all ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, for one-off workshops. Since November I have reached 100s of singers with these sessions, aged 2 to 96! We have sung shanties, show songs, songs from Ukraine and songs from Zimbabwe – all funded by the Co-op Community Fund. I have enough funding left for 2 or 3 more sessions in the Autumn, and I have applied for another round of funding – fingers crossed I can continue to bring people together in this way and continue to make the sessions free/affordable for all.

Svetlana Ryadchanko – Songs of Ukraine –
captured by Rebecca Rowan
Bruce Ncube in action – Songs of Zimbabwe –
captured by Gareth Jenkins

Collaborations and catch-ups

This year has seen some inspirational collabs and catch-ups!

May’s Durham Big Sing saw my first collaboration with The Singing Elf , and found me leading my first ‘mindful singing walk’ by the riverside in Durham, as well as getting stuck in to the full day of singing-related activities. It was fantastic to see some of the singers and leaders again at my fringe show in July too.

The first ‘Community Voices’ event was held in June, a series of concerts with visiting choirs. First up was Ryedale Voices, a great community choir based in Malton, led by the amazing Alison Davis. It’s always rewarding to bring 2 choirs together, and we had a successful day including a workshop and performance at Easingwold Galtres Centre, as well as buffet and mingling time! the next Community Voices event will feature the acclaimed ‘Village Voices’ from Buckinghamshire, and their leader my good friend and inspirational walker/blogger leader Jane Smith – 7th October, do come if you can get to Easingwold!

In my last singing larks post, I mentioned that after 150 fieldsings, I was considering how to continue the fieldsinger journey – well in June/July I found the perfect partnership to do this, and ran two ‘wild singing’ walks at the stunning Forest of Flowers near Huby. The perfect spot to wander and sing with the real songbirds, with two lovely groups of singers. The Forest of Flowers team have done a magical job with this venture and it is well worth a visit – do check out their website.

Wild singing workshop 1 at Forest of Flowers

Getting together with like-minded musicians really feeds my soul and sets my creativity on fire! Recent get-togethers with Mary and Elaine were both reassuring and inspiring, as we found ourselves so much on the same wavelength. Many laughs, many ideas tossed around and challenges issued. So valuable, so much fun. Thank you both. x

Thanks for reading about Jessa’s Singing Larks! Doing these updates is a great way for me to reflect on what I’ve been up to – and helps me plan more singing antics. Remember you can always get in touch with me via this website, or on any of my social media pages. Replies might be slower over the next week as I’m off to spend a week relaxing by the sea!

Thanks again,

Jessa x

Me captured mid loop at Easingwold Summer of Music
latest news

Jessa’s Singing Larks – Sing into Spring

The last few weeks have whizzed by – often the case with such a full and varied schedule. Highlights of 2023 so far have included hearing my Community Singers sing my own setting of “Composed in a Wood”, running a shanty-tastic Musical Bridges session with Chris Bartram, and getting started on the “Julius Caesar” project on the RSC and York Theatre Royal, but every day brings a new singing-related memorable moment for me. Lots of food for thought already this year, and lots of plots and plans being formed.

Me in the car armed with my trusty fieldsinger tripod!


Fast approaching is the Community Choir festival, where 2 of my choirs get the chance to perform in a lovely theatre alongside other choirs. It is wonderful to see the wide range of choirs available for people who wish to sing…

“those who wish to sing, will always find a song……and a choir!”

Even in our little market town of Easingwold, there are 4 regular groups, with dozens more in York and the surrounding area. Everyone has different tastes in music, enjoys different styles of music and of course different styles of leadership. I am so pleased with the wide range of singers that choose me and my groups, and I am delighted that my Community Singers membership has reached 50 for the first time ever.

Community Singers at the event in 2022 – I am expecting nearly double
this number this year!


January saw me take a train to London to meet with the RSC music department and other creatives from their Julius Caesar tour – the start of an exciting project involving local community champions in their forthcoming performances. It was interesting to hear all about the director’s vision for the production and meet the other local MDs….and the following week, I was inspired to meet my 6 community champions. Six women who were all picked for their work in the local community – all with their own stories to tell and skills to contribute. I’m really looking forward to working with them in the next few months leading up to the performances in June at York Theatre Royal. It was also wonderful to reconnect with my partner in choir leader crime Mary for an invaluable catch up, and a swim of course!

2 happy mermaids after our swim at Hampton Pool

Last weekend saw me broadcast my 150th #fieldsing . For nearly 3 years now, I have performed a song outside every weekend (sometimes several songs!)in all weathers. Through all of life’s ups and downs, this has been a constant in my life since March 2020. Through low times and happier times, even through Covid when I sang croakily from my backyard. You’ll see #fieldsing 150 below, or check Facebook for the full chat.

I don’t think I’ll stop – but I do have ideas on how I am going to take the #fieldsing and #fieldsinger concept further. It is such a therapeutic concept and I would like to develop some resources to help people benefit as much as I have, and help people find and develop their authentic voices.

Next week, I am taking a week off and going on a much anticipated family trip to Scotland. I am really looking forward to some fresh air, scenery, and the company of my long-suffering family.

Thanks for reading and hope to sing with you sometime soon,



Jessa’s Singing Larks – Autumn 2022

I have just noticed that I haven’t posted on here since June…and it is now October….so it must be time for an update on all things singing, looking back at the last few months and forward to what’s coming up.


Me and my loop in action at Durham Fringe Festival in July

Back in July, I had a great time performing at Durham Fringe Festival, with a new, solo, looped up version of my Songbirds show. In true fringe style, a power cut on the first day saw a change of venue, but I was back in the town hall by day 2, and enjoyed performing to new audiences. It was a new experience, accompanying myself for a full show, and incorporating looping into several of the songs – I also included one of my own compositions. You can hear that in the link above, and below you’ll find some highlights of the first day.

highlights of Songbirds at Durham Fringe


September has come and gone in a flash. Back on September 2nd, York Military Wives Choir joined nearly 200 singing sisters from other Military Wives Choirs to perform in a 10th Anniversary concert at Lincoln Cathedral. It was a great experience to conduct the massed choirs for one song, “Viva La Vida/Titanium”.

My Singing For All groups started with a performance the very first week of term, helped out by some Community Singers.”A Night to Remember” at York Barbican will always be remembered for many reasons – as just as I was rehearsing my mixed group of singers outside, we heard the news of the Queen’s death. The group valiantly carried on, and performed brilliantly in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. I was so proud of everyone and was quite emotional afterwards. Here we are –

Singing For All and friends at York Barbican


September has also been full of performance opportunities. Each Saturday, I continue to sing outside for my weekly #fieldsing (131 consecutive weeks so far!). On Saturday 24th, I had fieldsing, followed by a chilly busking slot in Easingwold marketplace as part of the Easingwold Summer of Music, then finally a performance as soloist with the amazing Shepherd Group Brass Band in their prom concert at The Galtres Centre. It has been 3 years since the last chance to sing with these wonderful musicians and friends, so it really was a special night. I absolutely loved singing some James Bond themes with them!

Skyfall with Shepherd Group Brass Band


This past week, my focus has been on Some Enchanted Sondheim. Malcolm and I absolutely love working on this show! First devised in 2013, it has been slightly adapted several times since, and for this year’s version we have added 3 new Sondheim songs, one of which I literally discovered only a few weeks ago! Last Saturday we played to a lovely, receptive audience at Helmsley Arts Centre and this Sunday we are headed to Theatre@41 Monkgate, York.

Where next for Songbirds and Sondheim? I have a few ideas and dreams…..time will tell if and when these turn into reality at any point!

The next few months hold more performances, many singing lessons, copious choirs…..lots of singing larks of different varieties.

Do keep an eye on my social media for updates – especially if you’d like to sing with me, or catch a performance soon.

Keep singing!

Jessa x

latest news Uncategorized

Jessa’s Singing Larks – May and June 2022

Just a quick post to list all the forthcoming events and where you can catch me singing (or sing with me!) over the next few weeks….lots of varied events coming up!

Fieldsings continue every Saturday, from wherever I am. So look out on my Facebook page on Saturday mornings (usually between 9.30 and 10, although I may be earlier this week!) to catch me live, or listen later on, either on Facebook or on instagram or YouTube – there are now 112 weeks of #fieldsinger antics on there. All likes, comments, and shares are much appreciated.


Come and see 3 of my choirs(and myself) in action at Easingwold Galtres Centre on Wednesday 25th May at 7.30pm. Tickets, £12, available from the galtres centre by phone or in person.


Some places left in my pop up choir – workshop session to learn the songs, Sunday 29th May, 2-5pm, Catholic Church Hall in Easingwold. Performance at the lighting of the jubilee beacon, Millfield park, Easingwold, at 9.30pm on the 2nd June. Email me on to book your place.

2nd June and 5th June – private performances for Rosevale and Connaught Court care homes in York

Saturday 11th June – Bay Horse, Masham, 7.30

I am delighted to have my first performance booked in to sing at this lovely pub in the gorgeous town of Masham. I’ll be singing some classic pop – Carole King, Carpenters, Cilla, Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet and SO much more. I’ll even be bringing my loop pedal for some looping and layering fun.

Sunday 19th June, 1.30pm – ALNE STREET FAYRE

After my debut at the street fayre last year, I am really excited to be performing at this very popular event again. I’ll be outside on the village hall stage from 1.30-2.20, singing a wide range of popular songs which will include some loopy moments too!

Friday 24th June – Sharow Prom with Ripon City Band

This will be my first performance with Ripon City Band and, having had my first rehearsal with them last week, I know the audience is in for a treat. Lots of popular songs from stage and screen and all the prom favourites to finish. I do believe all the tickets have already been sold for this, but if you’re interested in coming along, do check with the band in case more tickets have become available. There’s an article about the concert here.

That’s all for now! I will add any further events in as and when they are confirmed. My choirs are open for new singers from after half term – places available to sing with me in Helmsley and Easingwold on Monday and Wednesday evenings – and Singing For All is always open to new singers and volunteers – do get in touch for more details!

Bye for now

Jessa xx


Jessa’s Singing Larks – 100th #fieldsing and other news

Yes, I did it.

100 weeks of singing outside in all weathers.

Sunshine and snow, rain and wind – I have sung through it all.

Here is the 100th #fieldsing – it can also be found on my singer page on Facebook here.

That was of course a week ago, so this morning I performed my 101st fieldsing – do look it up on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram if you would like to hear my full version of “Blowin in the wind.” (short clip here as a taster.)

What’s coming up?


Choirs are all continuing IN REAL LIFE and there are lots of opportunities to sing with me – whether in the daytime or evening, whether in Easingwold, York, Helmsley or Thirsk…or online from wherever you are. Two of my groups are performing at the Community Choir Festival at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre this coming week, and several more are taking part in my next LET OUR VOICES UNITE event at Easingwold Galtres Centre on 25th May. In both these events, several of my own songs will be performed by choirs – something I am quite proud of, considering that before July 2020 I had never written a song. Another of this week’s activities has been working on another of my songs, this time one to perform myself….that may be shared at some point!

I have been busy compiling some “highlights” videos for Songbirds and Some Enchanted Sondheim, ready to send out to possible venues. I already have some performances booked in for the Autumn(details to follow!) but there is room for plenty more, so if you have connections with any performance spaces, do get in touch, as we would love to spread the joy of our shows further this year. In any case, do enjoy the clips below….

…and finally…..

Thank you for reading, and listening. I really appreciate all the likes, shares, and encouraging comments that have come my way recently, it makes all the difference.

Jessa xx

PS Sunday update – I have just finished the Vocal Health Education Funamental Anatomy course! This has been fascinating, a detailed look at all the human anatomy related to singing…which is most of it!


Jessa’s Singing Larks – Autumn into Advent

Day 1 of my Advent Songbird Challenge

The show must go on…..and it did

I thought a website update was well overdue, as so much has gone on since my Summer update. Several performances were planned in new(to me) venues, which I went ahead with despite the sad loss of my dad on October 12th. (Thank you to everyone who sent kind messages and cards, they were much appreciated x)

Somehow, performing was therapy of a kind – musical mindfulness, which helped me keep going and process the changes in my family. Songbirds played to enthusiastic audiences in Billingham(Billingham Theatre Upstairs) and York(Theatre@41, Monkgate), and Malcolm and I were delighted to refresh “Some Enchanted Sondheim” at Saltburn Community Theatre.

I am really keen to get both those shows on the road in 2022, finding more suitable venues further afield, and adapting Some Enchanted Sondheim to reflect the recent sad death of Sondheim himself. His work holds such truth, telling stories and portraying situations like no other. Below is an excerpt from our Saltburn performance….

Loving You and I wish I could forget you from Passion

Advent Songbird Challenge

You will see at the top of this post that I have set myself another ambitious Advent challenge this year! Last year, I performed Christmas songs every day to raise awareness(and funds) to keep Singing For All going through the dark days of only being able to run sessions online.

This year, a different challenge.

In 2022, as I mentioned above, I hope to take my “Songbirds” and “Some Enchanted Sondheim” one-woman shows on the road, spreading my performing wings further afield and finding new audiences for these labours of love. This all takes time….and money of course.

Cue another of my “little ideas”…

Every day, from December 1st to 24th, I aim to broadcast on Facebook (on my singer page here ) one festive song and another song from one of the shows. I kicked proceedings off yesterday with a looped up version of “God rest ye merry gentlemen” and “Songbird”. Many and varied songs will follow, and for those not on Facebook , they will all be shared on my YouTube channel and Instagram page too.

Anyone who would like to throw a few coins in the busking hat to support my 2022 plans, can do so here via PayPal. Every little helps!

CHOIRS ARE BACK(and here to stay!)

Yes, choirs are definitely back. My September “Let our voices unite” concert at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York announced this loud and clear, with superb participation from my Community Singers, York Military Wives Choir, and Wigginton Singstars, as well as wonderful support as always from my accompanist Malcolm Maddock. I even included a short #loopingaround set to demonstrate some of the new skills I had developed in 2020.

Now I have all my choirs and singing groups up and running, and all heading towards their own festive performances and events, as well as just relishing the joy of singing together and lifting our spirits though song. The benefits of singing together are well-documented, and I am convinced that taking part gives our immune systems a boost as well as our mental health. So all my groups are going ahead, with windows or doors open for ventilation, chairs spaced out, masks for mingling, and clean hands….but with our hearts warmed and our voices united.

My head is full of possible singing plans for 2022, with ideas for repertoire, possible events, concerts, and workshops buzzing around alongside all the many festive songs which are in there constantly! Watch this space for more details…..but there are definitely some more “Come and Sing” events on the cards.

Below – the inspiring “Like the rainbow” by Debbie Warren, our concert finale. See Debbie’s work here.

My combined choirs perform “Like the Rainbow” by Debbie Warren, at “Let our Voices Unite” , Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

All my groups currently have spaces, and I am happy to welcome new singers in the New Year… if you’d like to sing with me at any of the days/times/locations below, get in touch! All the groups have different systems for payments, membership, etc, as well as different starting dates, so just drop me a message and I can let you know the details.


Mondays at 11, Easingwold – Singing For All with Jessa

Mondays at 7, Helmsley – HAC Community Choir

Tuesdays at 11, York – Singing For All with Jessa

Wednesdays at 7, Easingwold(and online, for those further afield!) – Community Singers with Jessa

Thursdays at 9,30am, Thirsk – Butterflies Choir

Thursdays at 7, York – York Military Wives Choir (for anyone with a military connection)

A choir for everyone!

A final word -for anyone local to York or Easingwold -I have a few festive events coming up…

Christmas At The Galtres, Easingwold,

Saturday 11th December, 7.30

A Christmas Concert with The Yorkshire Tenor and York Military Wives Choir, All Saints Church, Pocklington, Saturday 18th December, 4pm

…and on the evening of Monday 20th December, an atmospheric, festive come and sing event at The Mill, Stillingon….details to be confirmed, but a warm atmosphere guaranteed, whatever the weather! (Keep an eye on their website here.…)

…..I am also singing at the St Leonard’s Hospice “Light up a life” event at Selby Abbey on Sunday 12th December at 4pm, to which all are welcome.

Thanks for reading, and do look out for my daily Advent Songbird posts – all likes, comments and shares are much appreciated! Don’t forget, my #fieldsing continues every Saturday, live on Facebook (usually around 10am) – this Saturday will be #fieldsing 89!

Keep singing,

Jessa xx


Jessa’s Singing Larks – Summer to September

So here we are in August. June and July have passed by in a whirlwind of performances and outdoor choir sessions in all weathers…..some highlights are below.

Another highlight was busking in Easingwold as part of their Summer of Music events – the first in person outing for my beloved loop pedal! See the Easingwold Advertiser write-up below, and a short clip of one of my favourite songs to loop…..

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 224998783_3102693276521891_4796638986393996603_n-764x1024.jpg


Lots happening in the Autumn – in person groups re-starting, and lots of performances to choose from. See the links or get in touch to find out more. I’d love to see you!

SUNDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER – ALNE STREET FAYRE – I am performing on the Village Hall stage at 1.30 and 3.30.

THURSDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER – “LET OUR VOICES UNITE” at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York. A celebration of the return of singing, with performances myself and 3 of my wonderful choirs. Tickets available from 8th August.

SATURDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER – EASINGWOLD MARKETPLACE, my next busking performance as part of the Summer of Music programme. 1pm-3pm.

SATURDAY 16TH OCTOBER – SOME ENCHANTED SONDHEIM, Saltburn Community Arts . A performance of our much-loved Sondheim/Hammerstein compilation show, with accompaniment by Malcolm Maddock. Tickets available soon.

SUNDAY 24TH OCTOBER – SONGBIRDS at Billingham Theatre Upstairs. A celebration of female musical legends, with accompaniment by Malcolm Maddock. Tickets available soon.

SUNDAY 7TH NOVEMBER – SONGBIRDS at 41Monkgate, York. A celebration of female musical legends, with accompaniment by Malcolm Maddock. Tickets now available!



Community Singers (Easingwold) – for those able to take part in the concert on 16th September, sessions start on Wednesday 1st September. (Get in touch asap if you would like to be a part of this!) For others wanting to take part, the doors will open from Wednesday 22nd September, but places must be booked in advance. Get in touch to get your name on the list.

Singing For All(Easingwold) – I aim to restart on Monday 6th September. Do get in touch to book your place or find out more details.

Singing For All(York) – This is dependent on the venue availablility, but we are hoping to restart from mid September, on Tuesdays at 11am – do get in touch to book your place or ask any questions.

If you are interested in choirs in Helmsley or Thirsk, do get in touch as those will be starting up too. One to one lessons online or in person will also be starting – these are fully booked at the moment, but if you would like to register your interest, do get in touch using the contact form.

That’s all for now folks! Do look out for my “seasing” posts during August – I hope to record several of these while on holiday, as well as my weekly #fieldsing posts of course!

Keep safe and keep singing everyone.

Jessa xx


Jessa’s Singing Larks June 2021

Just a quick update as I realised I hadn’t written one of these for a while…..busy busy as always, and June looks to be more hectic than ever! So for now, just a quick rundown of where you can hear me perform, or sing with me, this coming month.

I have just finished a whole day of in person singing with York youngsters, which was fantastic! So lovely to sing with these young people in person, some of whom I had only worked with previously online. Check out the York Music Hub social media for pictures of the day…….here.


June brings the return of outdoor/online sessions for my Wednesday community singers. I can’t wait to see them all and am just hoping for good weather as the government restrictions do not allow for more than 6 singers to shelter inside. Quite ridiculous when you consider what is allowed to go on. If you agree, please sign this petition.

I have a lovely group signed up for Community Singers, but I have a few spaces if anyone else wants to join in, either outside(in Easingwold) or online(from anywhere!) 4 Wednesday evenings from 9th June, 7pm, £20. Get in touch if you fancy joining us!

SINGING FOR ALL…online for now

Singing for all continues online for now, with Mondays on YouTube and zoom on Tuesdays at 11am continuing from 7th/8th June. All are welcome to join us for an hour of informal singing and chat – please get in touch if you would like to take part. I am looking at some options for possibly getting together in July “in real life” but it will depend on restrictions and how people feel.

fields and lanes – live At The Mill, 26th June

Mick and I are delighted to be performing fields and lanes live at Stillington Mill as part of the “Summer at the mill” programme of music and theatre. The setting is absolutely beautful and tickets are available here.


I am delighted to be involved in a 2 week trial of sessions aimed at the more mature generations, run by an organisaation called SAGESTREAM in the USA. I will be performing a session on Monday 28th June in the evening (UK time) , live from the NAAP Facebook page. See more information here….


The first Saturday in July, I am performing LIVE in Easingwold Marketplace as part of their Summer of Music plans. The town council has arranged a wide selection of musicians to come and busk in the centre of town, for the enjoyment of those sitting outside at cafes or just walking by, and it is my turn on SATURDAY 3RD JULY. So do pop by between 1pm and 3pm, I have as always a wide selection of songs for everyone to enjoy. Whether I will be allowed to encourage audience participation by then is not clear…..maybe humming!

Alongside all this, I am continuing with all my other activities : my one to one students, York Military Wives Choir (again, weather permitting!), teaching music at Wigginton Primary, and now and again even seeing my family! Thanks for reading folks. This was meant to be a simple list of dates but, as always, brevity is not my forte.

Hope to sing for/with you soon,

Jessa x

PS Here’s me teaching my latest composition to a choir in Australia!


Jessa’s Singing Larks April 2021

After a couple of weeks of a less busy schedule (much of it spent writing songs and notating ones I had written a while ago!), next week my singing larks begin in earnest.

Singing For All with Jessa CIC is back with a swing, with sessions on YouTube on Monday and zoom on Tuesday, both at 11am. These will continue for 7 weeks (apart from the bank holiday Monday!) and I am looking forward to seeing some of the gang again, as well as welcoming any new singers who want to join the fun. Singing For All may well be the last of my activities to be able to return “in person” so it is really important that I recruit as many people as possible to these online sessions, to help keep the groups going and make sure I can continue.

Did you know that Singing For All had its very own facebook and instagram pages? If you don’t already follow, do search “Singing For All with Jessa” and give us a like/follow.

Some of my lovely singing students are starting this coming week, others are starting the following week. I am looking forward to singing with them all and working on some new songs and targets. Some of these young singers have been working with me on zoom for over a year and it is amazing the progress they have made. The exciting thing is, I am going to be teaching back in school from next week, so will be able to hear some of my budding singers and pianists IN REAL LIFE. (through masks and screens, but still in real life!) Very exciting!

Here is my little zoom highlights video I prepared for our “virtual recital” at the end of last term. I think it captures some lovely moments, including me preparing my zoom face!

Community Singers Online had a sea-faring March , enjoying some wonderful sea-themed songs, including raucous shanties and some more reflective ones. We finished with a fun “shanty shindig” on the 31st March, and everyone was sent a shindig party bag with themed snacks, props, and instructions on how to make a sailor hat! Great fun was had by all, including me, as can be seen in the highlights video ….

Community Singers Online have an extra week off, to give me a chance to prepare some new songs…. I can’t wait to see the gang on Wednesday 21st April. I even have some new songs ready to start which I have written myself….I hope they like singing them as much as I do!

So lots of singing ahead…. very happy to be able to spend my time doing what I love. I will also be spending time scouring the country for suitable venues for “Fields and Lanes” and “Songbirds” for performances through 2021, as restrictions ease and these things are allowed again. I spent a bit of time today picking some highlights of “Fields and lanes” for a taster video…. so I’ll leave you with that! (If any of you can put us in touch with any suitable venues near you, do get in touch! Fields and Lanes and Songbirds can travel!)

I hope to sing for or with you all sometime soon, whether in real life or on our screens.


latest news

Jessa’s Fieldsinging Larks March 2021

On 28th March 2020, with all my forthcoming performances and choir sessions cancelled, even outdoor park sings, I had the idea of sharing a solo “field sing” on Facebook, with me singing a well known song for people to enjoy listening to or singing along with at home.

Here I am….

This seemed to go down quite well with online followers, friends, and my choir singers, and even inspired one of my “Singing For All” group, Harry Waterworth, to create a watercolour fieldsinger portrait! I was so touched by this and I think he captured my first fieldsing really well. This first #fieldsing now has over 2300 views on Facebook.

“Singing in a field” by Harry Waterworth

So I decided to continue – the next week I recorded “You’ve got a friend”, then “Wild Mountain Thyme”, “My love is like a red red rose” and “Fields of gold”. These were all pre-recorded then posted on Facebook and You Tube at 10am each Saturday morning.

Then in week 6, something changed……I had had a particularly busy week (if I remember rightly ,it was the week I performed a 26 song singathon for Dementia Forward!) and hadn’t had a chance to think about recording a song. So , for the first time, I performed the field sing live! This meant a little added pressure and a few nerves, but also it added something special to the event and I had lots of positive comments about the heightened armosphere of a live performance. I also really enjoyed seeing a few people join in live, reacting and commenting as I sang. The field sing idea was never intended to be a “perfect performance” but a natural one, singing with the birds, in all weathers. Here is the first “live” #fieldsing – “The fields of Athenry”.

The first truly live field sing!

Since then, I have never looked back.

Every Saturday, whatever the weather, I have gone outside, to fields, lanes, woods, and performed whatever song seemed apt at the time. Some weeks I have a song in mind all week, some weeks I decide 5 minutes before I leave the house or even as I walk to the field!

Some weeks, I chat for a while about my week, and any forthcoming events that people can get involved with ; other weeks I don’t feel like chatting much so will quickly get on to the chosen song.

Some weeks, I feel upbeat and energetic – others more reflective, and the song choices reflect this. I decided to record all the field sing choices I have done so far to mark the 50th #fieldsing last Saturday- here is the list…

  1. Lean on me
  2. You’ve got a friend
  3. Wild Mountain Thyme
  4. My love is like a red, red rose
  5. Fields of gold
  6. Fields of Athenry
  7. It’s a lovely day tomorrow / Look for the silver lining
  8. My favourite mash-up!
  9. She moved through the fair
  10. Alfie
  11. Catch the wind
  12. Sing / Teach the world to sing
  13. When you’re smiling
  14. Blackbird / In my life
  15. Edelweiss / A bell is no bell
  16. Yesterday once more
  17. I have a dream
  18. Songbird
  19. World of our own
  20. Top of the world
  21. Keep right on to the end of the road
  22. We sing
  23. Somewhere
  24. Those who wish to sing
  25. I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
  26. Beautiful
  27. Some kind of wonderful
  28. Stand by me
  29. Danny Boy
  30. A little peace
  31. Spread a little happiness
  32. Love me tender
  33. May your cup always be full
  34. My love my life
  35. California Dreaming
  36. Happy Wanderer
  37. In the bleak mid winter
  38. Mary, did you know?
  39. The angel Gabriel
  40. Something inside so strong
  41. The water is wide
  42. Hey Jude
  43. Bridge over troubled water
  44. Drunken Sailor / Sailing
  45. I have a dream
  46. You’ll never walk alone
  47. Falling in love with you
  48. Lovely day
  49. After the rain
  50. LEAN ON ME

..It was only when I went to write all the songs down that I realised I had performed “I have a dream” twice! But no apologies for the repetition of my first #fieldsing choice, “Lean on me” for my 50th week. Bill Withers’ lyrics are so so relevant…..

“lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on, for, it won’t be long , ’til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

#fieldsing 50 – a repeat of lean on me, with a list of all the songs performed so far #inafield

The whole fieldsing idea has prompted me towards other online singing projects and challenges. While away in Norfolk last Summer, I performed morning #seasongs for 5 consecutive days on my solo walks.

Leading up to Christmas, I performed a song live every day in December for my #Adventsingalong in aid of Singing For All, helping me to raise funds to keep Singing For All with Jessa CIC going through these lean times.

These structured routines of singing at particular times have really kept me going. Although I am generally very lucky with my health, like most people, I have had rough times and down days through all this. But each Saturday, I know I am going to get up and out to sing. Having this expectation of myself has really helped keep me motivated – and we all know that singing makes you feel better!

It is so true for me, and from some of the encouraging comments I have had, the fieldsings have had an uplifting effect on listeners too.

All this has also led to an exciting collaboration with my better half, my actor husband Mick, who has been reciting poetry down country lanes throughout the lockdowns. Together, we have created a show inspired by our outdoor performance, “Fields and lanes”, which we are very excited to be performing at Helmsley Arts Centre this Saturday – a live stream performance. Although I regularly perform live on You Tube and Facebook, the idea of performing our full show in an empty theatre is a strange thought…

Any any case, we are both very excited about it and hope that lots of our friends will be buying tickets to tune in and support. This time, we have also recruited some more performers to the outdoor performing craze, with our creative fields and lanes project! These fellow actors and singers will be appearing in the show virtually and it has been really moving to put together their contributions and to collaborate with them. These colleagues are wide-ranging ; they hail from all over the country from Essex to the North-East, and range from experienced professional performers to avocational singers seeking a new experience. It has been so valuable to have every one of them on board and to spread the joy of performing outdoors. If you would like to join us, here’s how…

Sometime on Saturday, will be #fieldsing 51….leading up to a full year of field singing and a full year of online singing performances, classes and lessons . A year which has seen me develop and embrace so many different skills and ways of working.

My next step will be to negotiate the next 6 months….continuing to use all I have learned and continuing to engage people from a wide area, while gradually reintroducing “real life” aspects of my work.

A huge challenge…watch this space for developments!