James says, “When the choir auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent they weren’t nervous at all; it was just like any other performance because for them it is not about winning or losing a competition. They are singing for a reason, to reach out to a loved one.”
The first episode of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent was on ITV on Saturday 15th April 2017.
Last Christmas James Hawkins Music project-managed and produced The Living Years by the London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack. Film maker Rav Vagdama has created this short film about the making of the song.
We brought together a specially created choir of 300 patients, families, staff and volunteers of all ages from 18 hospices across London with Paul Carrack, the song’s original singer. The song was released at Christmas 2016 to raise awareness and vital funds for the hospices, and stayed at the top of the Official Physical Sales Chart for two weeks.
BA Robertson, the writer of The Living Years, highly commended the new version saying that the vocal was “better than the original”.
This beautiful song is still available to download here.
Lead vocalist, Paul Carrack, said, “The Living Years has been an important song for me for many years, but this is the version that means the most. Recording it with this incredibly special group of people for such a worthwhile cause has created some kind of magic. It’s a powerful and inspiring track, and I hope that everyone gets behind it this Christmas.”
Super pleased with the outcome of today! I was asked to assemble and direct a mixed choir of amateur and professional voices to record at Abbey Road Studios for artist Fox Amoore, on his latest album The Dreamcatcher. The singers recorded five album tracks and made the day smooth and inspiring with their smiling and professional attitude. Feedback from the composer was that he was moved by the powerful and beautiful sound we produced.
The singers all did themselves proud and here is a short snippet of a take from today’s session.
It’s a real pleasure to be interviewed about how to set up and lead a choir by the MU. And I’m pleased to be able to give some insight as to how I approach teaching and developing my choirs.
Check out Eclipse Choir to see more of our progress since it was formed in 2014. And this year we’re delighted to be performing at the beautiful All Saints Church for our Christmas Concert on Thursday 22nd December. At present there are still some tickets available, but they are selling fast! Get in there now and book yours!
We’re so pleased that today, 20th May, the new Missing People charity single #iHope is released to the world!
Jim co-wrote and produced the song with the aim of highlighting the stories of the Missing People families ahead of International Missing Children’s Day on Wednesday 25 May 2016.
It’s been more than three months of hard work and over 250 recordings of singers, choral groups and musicians brought together in Chocolate Box Studio. But moreover it’s truly been one of the most significant and moving projects Jim’s ever worked on.
You can now watch the full music video below. It is released today, so if you love the film, head to iTunes, Google Play or Amazon to buy the single, and support the charity to reach more of the 140,000 children who go missing every year.
I set up Eclipse Choir earlier this year to combine my love of working with live vocalists/musicians and being a music producer. I find I use the same fundamental principles for both roles and one strongly complements the other. In December we had our second big concert and it was a good demonstration of how bringing live, acoustic performance together with appropriate music technology and production can be really effective. I had budget enough to hire a cellist, harpist, flautist, guitarist, a double bass player and drummer and each played acoustically with no need for any sound reinforcement as the performance space had such a supportive acoustic. I filled in the gaps in accompaniment with elements from Spitfire+LASS’s string library, Omnisphere’s synth pads, 8Dio’s Epic Taiko Drums and snares, XLN’s Addictive Drums 2, Ilya Efimov’s Duduk, Garritan’s CFX Concert grand, East West’s Symphonic Choirs and Play Orchestra, Air synths such as Loom.
This mixture of live and pre-recorded sound was awesome and it was such a buzz to conduct!
I’m extremely proud to have continued work with an amazing and strong group of people who come together to sing for their missing loved ones. The Missing People Choir is made up of family members and friends who have lost a loved one. They are the most significant group of voices I’ve ever worked with and what we create together goes way beyond just singing. There is real purpose, a strong message, a release of true and deeply felt emotion as every word being sung is fuelled with the hope of reaching a missing person, a missing loved one, son, daughter, sister, brother, child…. It really is a very special choir.
This year I was invited to create a vocal arrangement of Alice Gross’s song, Don’t Let It Go Away. The choir and I met six times to rehearse and prepare for the performance at St Martin in the Fields on December 7th at the Missing People Christmas Service. The service was extremely well attended and all the readings were especially poignant. Rosalind Hodgkiss, mother of Alice, who was found murdered in 2014, appeared on Good Morning Britain in December to talk about her daughter and how Missing People supported them in the weeks she was missing. You can watch it here.
The choir performed at a slightly smaller service at York Minster the following week where they sang both Alice’s song and last year’s song, I Miss You, and the message was as strong as it was in London. Heart breaking. You can read more about the song I Miss You and our journey to write and record it here.
St John the Evangelist,
Kingston upon Thames,
(Scroll down for map).
A special opportunity to join a unique Singing Workshop
This workshop will be focused on breathing technique, rounding sound, vocal health and how to ‘belt’. The day will be led by two professional singing teachers and singers in their own right, and will be split into two halves, the first part being taught from the classical tradition and the second from the Estill Model of voice training.
This workshop was organised by Eclipse Choir, which was set up by Jim Hawkins in April 2015. There are 20 spaces available to non-choir members. It is going to be a very informative and useful training day and beneficial to all singers who are looking to improve singing technique and understand more about how our voices work.
2A Langdon Park
Teddington TW11 9PS
All singers are welcome
Join us for Jim's Summer Fun Workshop, where we'll be learning Beach Boys songs in four-part harmony. Plus for extra buzz we'll be singing with a live band accompaniment, and Jim will make a recording available after the day.
Children £20 (under 15)
My highlights were the great atmosphere throughout the day… Good to use a score and be taught more about music theory… The band… Jim’s sense of humour and energy. The free pencil – obviously!” Testimonial from The Beatles Workshop in 2014
WHAT TO EXPECT
You'll receive musical scores in advance for the songs.
Jim will be teaching a Beach Boys hits medley including In A Room, Fun, Fun, Fun, California Girls and also God Only Knows. They will be arranged in four-part harmony (SATB).
We'll provide tea and coffee for refreshments on arrival
There will be an hour for you to go off site and enjoy lunch
After we've learned the second song we will have a break before returning for the exciting part where we will perform the songs with a live band playing.
There will be also be a 'free' singalong time near the end of the day where we can enjoy singing our favourite songs with the band.
Jim will make available a live recording from the day after the workshop (for personal use only).
Doors open at 10am and welcome refreshments
10:30-12:30 Song 1
13:30-14:30 Lunch Break
14:30-16:30 Song 2
16:30-18:00 Live band, recording and singalong!
The Normansfield Theatre is within The Langdon Park Centre off Normansfield Avenue. There is good parking available at the venue and on nearby streets. Please check TFL for the best public transport routes for you to the venue. Postcode: TW11 9PS.