Lost in Song began in 2007. It was inspired by the community singing Emma Mansfield had taken part in, in choirs led by Vicky Abbot, MD of The Acorn Choir, Blaising Heart Chorus and Angel Tongue.
The original choir began with 15-20 singers with rehearsals at Lostwithiel’s Community Centre. Today, we have 50 regular singers who meet every Thursday at Lostwithiel’s Church Rooms with singers aged between 13 and 83. Emma also directs the Daylight Choir and has been guest MD for Port Isaac Chorale.
Over the past five years, on top of adult singing sessions, Emma has worked with Emily Foulkes and Jane Staffieri, Directors of Cymaz music, Kana and Rechoired. Also Carefree, MIND, Cornwall Music Education Hub and Doubletrees school to take singing to those outside of the mainstream, in care, in alternative provision schools and those with special needs.
With FEAST funding and in collaboration with Vicky Abbot, she created the Ministry of Song, which brought to life, through a’cappella arrangements and beat boxers, a 24 minute mix of well known Ministry of Sound dance tunes that was performed at The Eden Project. Emma has co-created and participated in numerous events both in Cornwall and beyond, taking part in Cornwall Music Hub performances at The Hall For Cornwall and Heartlands. Also Children in Need celebrations at Eden, the Royal Cornwall Museum and events that her production company, The Lovely Foundation, has created through collaborations with town councils, community festivals and other arts organisations. Emma has created opportunities for hundreds of young singers to perform and be supported by adult choirs and recognised musicians. In the last two years, her adult choirs have been embellishing and harmonising to original music created by young people. This has created a community buzz around choral work… and demand for more!
Frustrated by her choirs being booked at festivals with large and loud audiences, and having to sing without amplification, a stage or production support, Sing Along the River was born. So, most recently, with a fabulous team of community volunteers, sound engineers and other choirs and brass bands, Emma has programmed, produced and production managed Sing Along the River. This free, community festival celebrates Cornwall’s tradition of community choirs, male voice singing groups and brass banding and is now a well established weekly event on Thursday evenings in August that showcases community music with professional back up.
In 2016, Will Coleman, Creative Director of Golden Tree, put a call out to locations and singers to be part of their extra-ordinary and world media grabbing Man Engine Project. Having participated in leading rehearsals with Will and working hard to galvanise singers from all over East Cornwall, on Wednesday 27th July, Lost in Song and guests sang to an audience of over 5,000 people who gathered in Lostwithiel’s King George V playing field. With support from the Man Engine team and choir, Emma taught the audience the call and response parts of the performance so they could take part. It was a triumph. The Lostwithiel event was one of the most memorable on the tour and we continued to collaborate with Golden Tree to sing at and support the rest of the groundbreaking project.
As a result of this project, in 2017, Emma has been asked to lead Lost in Song and the Daylight choir in a collaboration with David Greeves , opera choreographer, performer and lead rigger with Man Engine. In a brave new venture, Emma will direct, compose and arrange music for her choirs and other amateur singers to bring to life the themes and narratives explored by Yskynna, his company of aerial dancers and performers.
Over the next year we have a programme of site specific events where we will be challenged to create new music, and recorded and live vocal soundscapes, that support aerial spectacle and theatre.
With funding, the combined voices that Emma assembles will create Awenek Lev (Cornish for Creative Voice) offering singers from across Cornwall free rehearsals and vocal workshops that lead to singing in a professional context at a number of site specific and ticketed events.
Awenek Lev is a new venture aimed at bringing together amateur, aging and vulnerable voices. This all-embracing chorale aims to fulfil a growing desire to sing new work, especially arranged and with accompaniment.
Watch this space!