Friday 23 January 2009

London Alternative Copyright Choir

I'm running a very exciting project as part of my BMus degree. I am putting together a choir, which will do eight weeks of rehearsal and then a concert. The exciting part? All the music used will be acquired, copied, and performed using non-traditional alternatives to copyright, and the part of the proceeds will go to the Open Rights Group. You don't need to read music and there are no auditions.

We will be rehearsing on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on the following dates:
29th January
12th, 19th and 26th February
5th, 12th and 19th March.

Please note: no rehearsal 5th February!

The concert will be on 20th March at 8pm. Rehearsals and the concert are at St. John on Bethnal Green church, conveniently located at Bethnal Green tube station.

The website (still under construction, but it has the important details) is here:
The Google Group is here:
There is a poster which you could print out here:

So: Five Reasons Why You Should Sing With The London Alternative Copyright Choir!

1. It's only a small time commitment

Just one Thursday evening a week for eight weeks, and then a concert. A great way to try out the choir thing without committing to giving up an evening a week for the rest of your mortal life!

2. You will get to meet and spend time with shiny people!

Singing in a choir is a great way to meet new people, and to regularly see old friends.

3. Singing is great!

Singing is fun - and it's good for your well-being and mental health! Breathing to sing is physically relaxing, creating music with other people is one of those things which is amazing in ways that it's hard to put into words. Performing can be a buzz! (And it's legal, and you don't get a hangover).

4. You will get to learn some awesome music!

Purcell! He wrote the first opera in English! He wrote loads of music that was used as incidental music in contemporary productions of Shakespeare's plays! And now you can access his music for free on the internet! How cool is that?

Plus, we'll be doing some new music written specially for the choir. Honestly, there is nothing more exciting than getting to work on new music with the composer for the first performance - and amateur choirs are rarely able to do it, at least partly because commissioning fees are extremely expensive (after all, composers have to eat). We are lucky to be working with composers who believe that there are models which allow them to perform and spread their music differently, so that all sorts of groups have access to new music. Which leads neatly on to the big one:

5. The renegotiation of Intellectual Property Laws is one of the most important socio-political / legal debates of the Internet age.

This is about who has the power to profit from our music, our art, our ideas. This is about how we assign value. Some of you have already seen this debate go past, and already know how relevant it is to you. Some of you work with open source code. Open source music (and other forms of art) will have to work to a slightly different model, which we haven't quite got figured out yet.

Regardless of whether you see this like I do, I invite you to explore the Open Rights Group website, and think about why this is so important in an age when our methods for dissemination of ideas are becoming something new and unforeseen and glorious.

Great! I'm sold! Sign me up!

If you want to take part in the London Alternative Copyright Choir, see the website (still under construction) for more details: or join the Google group at

That all sounds amazing, but I don't have the time / don't live in London

There are still loads of ways you can help out!

1) Spread the word, and help us recruit singers! I'm sure you lot know musical geeks in London that aren't likely to be reading this. Let them know! Link to this post or point them at the website.

2) Come to the concert! It will be on the 20th of March, at St John on Bethnal Green, right by Bethnal Green Tube on the Central Line. Tickets will be sold on a 'pay what you think this will be worth' basis on the night, or you can get them in advance for a fiver. Details are on the website.

If you're feeling really enthusiastic, you can help publicise the concert nearer the time.

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