Nonsuch Singers - Take Two!

by Nonsuch Singers in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th November 2018 we successfully raised £4,170 with 62 supporters in 42 days

Nonsuch Singers is an amateur choir raising money to help fund a new recording of Will Todd's "Mass in Blue" and other choral jazz pieces

by Nonsuch Singers in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Every penny we raise will go towards the costs of making this recording. We need to pay for the venue, the equipment, the musicians and the CD manufacture, as well as rights and distribution. It would be fantastic to reach our stretch target with your generous support. Remember, everything you pledge earns us 25% extra in Gift-Aid if you are a UK taxpayer because we are a charity. Our aim is to make fantastic music for everyone to hear. Thank you for believing in us.

Why this recording - and why now? 

Many choirs have tackled Mass in Blue in its short history, and it has become a staple of the “lighter” choral repertoire, yet so far there has only been one recording - made fifteen years ago. Choral jazz itself is a hard thing to define – modern British composers such as John Rutter and Bob Chilcott have woven jazz into their musical styles for many years, yet to find a choral piece that puts jazz style front and centre, such as Mass in Blue, is a surprisingly rare thing. After a very successful concert performance in June 2015, we have chosen to present it as we did then, in the context of some of the jazz standards that are the fabric of the musical world that Mass in Blue inhabits, and are delighted to have Will Todd's support for our plans.

Who's involved?

Nonsuch Singers is one of London’s top amateur choirs and we regularly present concerts in some of the capital’s best-loved venues. Under the direction of Tom Bullard, our 40 experienced, versatile singers bring to life innovative programmes of works from the Renaissance through to today. We have commissioned and premiered a song cycle by Roxanna Panufnik, and given UK premieres of works by Sir John Tavener and Gabriel Jackson, whose cantata To the Field of Stars formed the title track of our debut recording in 2016. 

Nonsuch Singers originated from an idea mooted among friends over a picnic in Surrey’s Nonsuch Park over 40 years ago, and the original ethos of combining quality musicianship with a tangible enjoyment of singing shines through to this day.

It is a huge privilege for the choir to work alongside Tom's predecessor as Musical Director of the Swingle Singers, Joanna Forbes-L’Estrange, and the multi-talented performer and producer Alexander L’Estrange, as well as their amazing trio, to bring this wonderful music to life.

What else will be on the CD?

Some of Ward Swingle’s big band arrangements, from the group’s 1979 album "Skyliner", drawing on the combined experiences of Tom, Joanna and Alexander who have all worked closely with Ward himself. Ward’s highly complex arrangement of "Back Bay Shuffle" is scored for no fewer than 13 voices, expertly imitating the sax, trumpet and trombone sections of a big band, with lyrics by Jon Hendricks, and  was an instant hit with the choir! Alongside one of Alexander’s ingenious Great American Songbook arrangements, originally written for the King’s Singers, Tom wanted the choir to pay tribute to one more of the great vocal jazz groups, New York Voices, with Darmon Meader’s effortlessly cool reimagining of "On a clear day", plus a beautiful a cappella arrangement by Jamey Ray of the Gershwin classic, "Someone to watch over me".

All these standards, and the legacy of vocal jazz that they have inspired, form the backdrop for "Mass in Blue", bringing Nonsuch Singers a world away from the classical world that we normally inhabit and into the realm of close-harmony singing, using Tom's own background in the Swingle Singers to mould the choir’s sound into that of a close-miked jazz choir, presenting the Mass as it has never been heard on CD before. 

Why do we need your money?

As a charity, Nonsuch Singers' costs are usually covered by its audiences, its friends and its members. For this ambitious project we are inviting you to get involved: with your help this recording will help to ensure that good quality, accessible contemporary music and the energy of London’s thriving choir scene are enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible. We think we're creating a set of recordings that you'll want to own - and will listen to over and over again.

We're offering rewards for your generosity - and have set these at a level that will allow us to claim Gift Aid on your contributions if you are a UK taxpayer. With your help, we can turn our £4,000 target into £5,000 of funding. Thank you for your support.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

4 of 200 claimed

A little something to say thank you!

A handy Nonsuch Singers key-ring as a memento of your support to our project.

£40 or more

8 of 150 claimed

Hear it first - a pre-release copy of the CD!

As soon as we receive the first delivery of the final CD, we'll get one in the post to you so you can enjoy the results made possible by your support.

£55 or more

8 of 40 claimed

Something special - a limited edition signed copy

You'll receive your very own copy of the CD, with the insert signed by Joanna Forbes L'Estrange and Alexander L'Estrange, Will Todd and Tom Bullard, in recognition of your generous support.

£75 or more

Be a named supporter

Your name printed in the CD insert and the launch concert programme in acknowledgement of your important contribution to making this happen, plus a signed copy of the CD and a concert programme to keep.

£150 or more

5 of 9 claimed

Dedicate a track to someone special

Let us know the name of the lucky person and we will dedicate a track on the recording to them - with your dedication printed in the CD insert for everyone to see. We'll send you your own copy of the CD.

£250 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Come and meet the choir so we can say thank you!

We'll dedicate a track to a named person of your choice, and invite you to come along and join in with a Nonsuch Singers rehearsal and social ahead of our launch concert in June so we can sing it for you and say "thank you" in person, plus a copy of the CD.

£1,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

VIP guest tickets for the launch concert

A pair of tickets to the launch concert, and VIP treatment all evening. The best seats in the house, a glass of champagne at the interval and the chance to meet all the performers and soloists. Take home a signed CD at the end of the evening, and see your name printed in the programme and CD insert as a headline supporter.

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