«Les Rossignols de Soho»: The early beginnings
French Protestant Church, London. In the nineties, Revd Leila Hamrat had asked Christine Sigwart to start a children's choir at the French Protestant Church, London. They were called "Les Rossignols de Soho"! The "Soho Larks" have been singing at Church. They created little musicals: "Noah I" and "Noah II" which took them to Francfort and, following an invitation from Pasteur Jean-Luc Martin, the "Larks" performed at the Vatten Festival in Stockholm.
Their meeting point was Christiane's Garetier's home where cakes and hot chocolate never has been out of stock! Wonderful talents and friendshps emerged from these early days... After a few years, the creation of a music school appeared necessary. The talent and enthusiasm of the choristers made them wish to learn how to play an instrument. A new perspective opened: The Swiss Church Music School.
Founders: Christine and Ulrich Sigwart
Chairman of the Board: Gottfried Locher (President of the Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches)
Teachers: James Bush (Cello, Berlin), Pietr van Zyl (piano, South Africa), Stuart Whatton (piano), Felix Buser (Cello), Peter Rayner (Cello), Robert Masarachi (Violin), Carlo Ballara (Violin), Zara Ballara (Singing), Anthony Bailey (Clarinet), Christine Sigwart (Director, piano, recorder, choir).
The Swiss Church Music School moved to Elephant-and-Castle after Ulrich and Christine Sigwart had returned to Switzerland. StMatthew’s church appeared an ideal choice to reach new students.
Some pupils developed remarkable musical and artistic talents. A few picked up a musical career (Dorothée Munyaneza («Hotel Rwanda»), Chanel Kiasi, while others entered University, studying in various fields: Geography, Law, Engineering, Linguistics, Management, Social work.
Former students are scattered around the globe, holding interesting jobs. Some of them are working in development, like a former student who is an engineer in Erbil in Northern Irak. Another student has become a designer, promoting Fair Trade with African countries.
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