WAM is local, acoustic and MASSIVE, inspired to source and deliver bigger and more ambitious projects from year to year, thanks to the support from Arts Council England, which has also made it possible to bring in professional players each year to work with our players. It is for this very reason that WAM is taking a sabbatical in 2017, in order to plan for a large-scale event in 2018. Watch this space!
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Founded by Alison Jones and Dick Smith in 2012, WAM is a collaboration of acoustic instrumental and singing groups from Waltham Forest, (currently banjo, ukulele, violin, voice).
With over 70 students from 18-80, brandishing the motto, ‘It’s never too late!’ WAM has unexpectedly evolved as a powerful musical community.
As a performance based collaboration for our local community music groups, WAM meets monthly and has an annual membership. We have our very own WAM choir and in 2016, we welcomed our new Choir Director, Issy Adams. We would like to thank Lizzy Renihan for her invaluable contribution to WAM over the 4 years she was with us and wish her all the very best.
Not only offering a platform for adults wishing to pick up an instrument again or learn a new skill, WAM is also a social network that has created a new lease of life for people to discover friendships, hobbies and skills, no matter what their age.
WAM plays “Hotel California”; at The Stow Festival and receives a great response.
WAM members ask for this to be a regular occurrance. The success is reinforced by a Strung Out collaboration supported by BBC Performing Arts Fund and Arts Council England. “Express Symphony” is devised by the group with the help of Alison Jones, who composes the music. Performing at six East London festivals, “Express Symphony” challenges our players, is greatly received and takes WAM to another level.
Check what we did in this video. Click here to play
We perform at 3 ambitious events: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, Beyond Barbican: Walthamstow Garden Party and The Stow Festival. Our most ambitious programming yet is a WAMTASTIC concoction at The Stow Festival, creating a five hour programme of exciting music in the Town Square, with Walthamstow School for Girl’s Steel Band, Kuumba Arts, Grand Union Youth Orchestra, Mbilla Arts, The B.I.G. Choir and much more, plus a very special mystery guest star – Clive Rowe-who agrees to become our patron!
In this year, we continue to grow and consolidate our work, while forging new partners, with support, for yet another year, from Arts Council England. We commission Jyotsna Srikanth to compose a piece that combines the worlds and musics of East and West. “Mohanna Dance”, created and premiered at Walthamstow Garden Party. We also premier a new song, “Don’t Hold Back”, written for us by our choir director, Lizzy Renihan, at BBC Music Day. The summer concerts close with The Stow Festival celebrating their 5th year. Alison curates a three hour event featuring WF Music Services Youth Orchestra, X7eaven Dance group, Natural Voices choirs, a smaller ensemble from Dhruv Arts and special guest singer, Johnny Amobi.
With the start of the year seeing the loss of the late and great David Bowie, plans to merely celebrate “the best of WAM’s five years are changed at the request of virtually everyone in WAM to play a tribute to him. This takes Alison many hours to prepare but eventually, a suitable tribute is arranged and subsequently performed, with special guest star singer, David McAlmont. A piece from Alison’s show WILDFIRE! is also piloted and with the aid of Arts Council England, Alison is able to invite Hattie Webb on Celtic harp (clarsach), Alice Cade on flute & whistles and Cecily Fay as martial arts dancer in addition to the regular professional team who play with WAM annually.
WE also partner with young urban dance group, X7eaven and Tai Chi group Dao Lu. WAM performs at Leytonstone Festival, Walthamstow Garden Party and The Streets Festival, Leyton.
Take a look at this video documenting WAM’s story and summer concerts for 2016 created by Emilio Terol and Teresa Duran: