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Portland's Jackson Gallery Singers jumping for joy after cash boost
A PORTLAND group is singing for joy after being given a cash boost.
The Jackson Gallery Singers, which boasts 25 members, started life as a group of people singing a sea shanty especially written for Portland as part of the B-Side multimedia arts festival last summer.
Artists Annie Lovejoy and Belle Benfield took inspiration from the B-Side festival brief to ‘explore the flipside of the seaside’ and took ideas and inspiration from women on the isle, including Paralympic sailing hopeful Megan Pascoe.
The resulting song, Sailing for Gold, featured during the summer’s festivities and there were ‘pop-up’ performances all around Weymouth and Portland, including on buses, in pubs, in post offices and cafes as well as Tout Quarry and the Drill Hall during the B-Side festival.
After the festival, members of the newly formed shanty group decided to continue singing and the Jackson Gallery Singers were born.
Since the summer the group, made up of all ages and experience, have met up in Jacksons Café Gallery every week to share a cup of tea, sing and share stories.
Group co-ordinator Nikki Fryer said: “The Portland Shanty project brought lots of our community together who did not know each other before and who have a shared love of music and singing.
“The main comment at the end of the project was that people wanted to continue in a relaxed local setting, sing songs and socialise.”
The group sing everything from folk songs written about Portland, to songs that the quarry workers use to sing while they worked including Roll Out the Barrel, to more modern hits including: Downtown, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, King of the Road and I Only Want to be With You.
Mrs Fryer said: “We are a bit like a pop-up choir – it’s about everyone coming together and having fun.”
She added: “It’s no longer a shanty group, it’s a group for people that like to get together and sing.”
The group meets every Friday at 2pm in Jackson’s Gallery in Fortuneswell, people can just turn up.
For more information visit the group’s Facebook page by searching for Jackson Gallery Singers.