South Devon Singers will be presenting a new science programme that encompasses the idea of learning about the world around us and combining this with the art of singing.
David Haines, who runs the South Devon Singers said: “When arranging concerts for South Devon Singers I frequently include some science-inspired songs. Sometimes we do whole concerts of them, as planned for this spring.” Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the choir. There are no auditions required to join the group, and no experience is needed, though those that have experience singing or performing in a choir are very welcome.
David said: “Enjoy singing? Interested in science? Combine both this spring! South Devon Singers will be and we’d love you to sing with us.”
The group perform original music in a huge range of styles of genres.
He added: “We sing from music, but teach it by ear, both in rehearsal and using downloadable tracks.”
David has a rich history of studying music. He studied music at Bristol University, followed by composition at Guildhall School in London and Music Theatre at Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada.
He said: “I’ve been fascinated by science all my life, but the way it was taught at school discouraged me from pursuing it - I pursued my musical and literary interests instead.”
David began writing science-inspired songs when he moved to Devon in 1984, creating children’s music Granny Galactica in 1988/9, which is about a retired astronomer’s journey around the galaxy.
His first big set of science songs was called Powers of Ten and this was performed in 1999 in Dawlish Leisure Centre by around 200 children from local schools and an ad hoc community choir
His second set, Lifetime, was performed by 300 children from a dozen local schools and a 50-strong community choir in 2004.
This choir evolved into Teignmouth Community Choir and two years later David started Ivybridge Community Choir. Soon after, these choirs then combined under the name South Devon Singers, which rehearse in Teignmouth or Dawlish on Mondays at 7.30pm, and in Ivybridge on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.
David has explored his passion for combining science with music across the globe.
He said: “In 2007 I was invited to take part in the first Cambridge (Massachusetts) Science Festival... and I have worked most years since then with a local amateur chorus to mount science concerts each spring as part of the festival. When in the States I also do dozens of science songwriting workshops with children in the city’s elementary schools - around 500 songs in all so far!”
This fusing together or art and science is an unexpected combination, but it makes for a unique, fun way of learning.
David works closely with Matt Harvey, a poet based in Totnes, and for this concert he’s commissioned a text from Matt about the Wood Wide Web which he’ll soon be setting to music.
He said: “For some years now, we’ve had the pleasure of performing alongside Totnes-based poet Matt Harvey, and I’ve set two of his poems so far.”
For the upcoming concerts, he also hopes to include mini-lectures from Professor Emeritus Rick Titball, formerly of Exeter University.
The performances will take place on March 18th at Ashburton Arts Centre; April 1st at Alice Cross Centre, in Teignmouth and April 22nd at St Johns Church in Bridgetown, Totnes.