Announcing new grants from PRS Foundation and Arts Council England for unique music education project!

We’re delighted to announce an exciting new and exceptional collaboration with two of our faves: up-and-coming Afrobeat-jazz band Kokoroko and award-winning jazz promoters and AWF Associate Artists Church of Sound!

Thanks to generous grants worth £17,000 from PRS Foundation and Arts Council England we’ll be presenting Sunday School.  

This new project will blend Church of Sound’s much-loved ‘songbook’ format by an alternative jazz great, followed by originally-composed music from Kokoroko engaging a group of young people from Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney.

Members of Kokoroko will develop and deliver a series of after-school workshops teaching their original and new compositions to a specially selected group of 11-17 year olds who show musical promise and would benefit most from taking part.

The project will end with a mini-Church of Sound event in which the young people’s families and friends will come together to see a performance celebrating the fruits of their hard work.  The young people will then be invited to see a live professional gig by Kokoroko at Church of Sound, which will be promoted in the local community as well as to Church of Sound music fans more widely. At the same time, our Sunday School project will also give members of Kokoroko a unique chance to compose new music, whilst giving back to the next generation.

Sunday School will be an exciting and innovative experience, inspiring young people by working with exceptional professional musician role models, equipping them with essential skills like creativity and confidence and shaping their future long-term engagement with music. Hackney is one of the most deprived local authorities in the UK according to the Indices of Deprivation. Sunday School will enable us to reach young people from disadvantaged backgrounds local to Church of Sound and less likely to engage with the arts, whilst also bringing Kokoroko and Church of Sound to new audiences.

Jennie says: We are thrilled that the Arts Council England and PRS Foundation are so generously supporting this exciting new project. We’re so looking forward to collaborating with Church of Sound and Kokoroko, bringing together our music education and professional career development programmes and using Sunday School to create stronger roots in the local community of Hackney. Big thanks to both funders for recognising this and for choosing to help make it a reality! As the first of its kind, we hope that we’ll be able to learn from its success and develop similar projects with other Hackney schools in the future.”

Sheila Maurice-Grey, bandleader of Kokoroko, and AWF schools creative workshop leader says: “This project is an opportunity for me and my bandmates to hone our composition skills and perform new music for the band and the young people with whom we’ll be working. At the same time we’ll be able to use Church of Sound’s profile to expand our reach.  I want to be involved in this project because I had similar experiences when I was younger, with Kinetika Bloco, Tomorrow’s Warriors and Abram Wilson helping to nurture my talent and creativity. I love giving back and I want to inspire the next generation to become music  creators, as I was inspired growing up.”

Church of Sound’s founder Spencer Martin, adds: “Working with Jennie and Abram Wilson Foundation is a dream come true for Church of Sound.  The project will strengthen our ties with the local community and I hope provide an important creative opportunity for local young people.  I can’t wait to see what they and Kokoroko come up with!”

The PRS Foundation also awarded our Sunday School project a David Bedford Music Education Award, which is given four times a year to exceptional education projects involving composers and new music.

If you’d like to get involved and help support our work with young people you can read about signing up to become an AWF Trailblazer HERE.