RPM: Public Events

In addition to uncovering the stories, photographs and items from Kingston’s rich music history, Kingston RPM delivered a series of public events across 2017 to celebrate our findings and encourage more people to engage with the project. You can find information, photos and videos from our events below.

To Make a Record Exhibition

Kingston RPM’s flagship public exhibition, To Make A Record, was on display in the Rose Theatre, Kingston, from July to September 2017. Based around the initial phase of Kingston RPM’s research activity, the exhibition was largely centred around oral histories collected from six Kingston residents connected to the music industry from the 1940s through to the 1970s.

In these wide ranging interviews, locals discussed their experiences as musicians, gig goers, factory workers, venue managers, and visitors to the US army base at Bushy Park. They provided a snapshot of living, working and participating in Kingston’s music scene across four decades, complemented by photographs, memorabilia, posters and films of the period depicting the social environment of the interviewees.


Kingston Music Service’s Festival of Schools Choirs

As part of Kingston RPM, Creative Youth worked with project partner Kingston Music Service to commission composer, Pete Churchill, to write three new compositions inspired by Kingston’s musical heritage. These were then taught to 21 schools, in a series of workshops and performed at the Festival of Schools Choirs from the 19th – 22nd June 2017.

Over 1,200 students from local schools performed at the Rose Theatre during this time and the  programme featured songs by influential artists like David Bowie, in addition to the new compositions.

The Festival of Schools Choirs is an annual event, delivered by Kingston Music Service and is a celebration of singing within the borough’s primary and secondary schools. It aims to give the pupils a high quality performance experience and the opportunity to sing with other young singers. The theme for the festival was Kingston’s Musical Heritage and schools performed pieces from a variety of local artists.

You can listen to one of the original compositions below. This track was recorded on 20th June 2017 and was performed by students from St Paul’s C of E Primary School, Kingston Hill, Lovelace Primary School, King Athelstan Primary School, St Matthew’s C of E Primary School, Ellingham Primary School, St John’s Primary School, St Andrew’s & St Mark’s Junior School, Latchmere School. Band: Mike Pratt (Bass), Krystal Tunnicliffe (Piano), Tino Rainone (Guitar), Leo Sutherland (Drums).


Kingston RPM Gig Day

Saturday 8th July 2017 was the Kingston RPM Gig Day with the town centre hosting a day of high quality music.

Eight special performances were delivered by contemporary rock ‘n’ roll, swing and jazz artists, starting with Brassroots parading over Kingston Bridge and making their way back to Market Square in the spirit of the US army marching bands of Bushy Park. The square was then brought to life through performances from Julian Marc Stringle’s Jazz Quartet, Tobias Ben Jacob & Lukas Drinkwater and the Ewa Plywacz Duo.

The evening’s activity then moved to the Rose Theatre Café for festival favourites, New Orleans inspired The Gator Dog Snappers. The night then ended in the Rose Theatre Main House with the blues inspired showmanship of Tankus the Henge, before the legendary John Coghlan’s Quo closed the show.

This event formed part of the International Youth Arts Festival 2017, Creative Youth’s annual flagship project.


Kingston RPM Family Events

Throughout the life of the project, Kingston RPM teamed up with local community groups to host a series of free events that allowed the whole family to enjoy the area’s rich musical heritage.

This included Sing Along With Singing Cygnets, a storytime session for babies, toddlers and under 5s, with rhymes and activities centred around the music explored in the Kingston RPM project. Meanwhile Make A Record With Orleans House Gallery gave the whole family the chance to make their own record and album cover with a local artist. Both events took place in the Rose Theatre’s Culture Cafe.

Meanwhile local composer Greg Harradine invited children aged 7-11 the chance to explore the sounds of Kingston, learn iconic tunes and compose their own songs in his Explore The Sounds of Kingston sessions at Tolworth, Surbiton and Hook Libraries.

Separately children from 12+ were given the chance to take part in free two-day workshops in music recording and production, whilst utilising the facilities of Hook Recording Studio in Tolworth.

Kingston RPM Panel Talk

While the research of Kingston RPM is primarily centred around the town’s musical heritage, considering its future has always been a core consideration of the project. While the Live Venues strand has highlighted the wide variety of pubs, bars, cinemas, and even boats that hosted a spectacular cross-section of contemporary music in the 1960s and 70s in Kingston, only a small handful of those venues remain today.

Kingston RPM wanted to explore the factors behind this, and question whether we are ever likely to see a similar scene emerge in the future. What does the future hold for live music in Kingston?

To gain some key insights in answering such questions, Kingston RPM researcher Jarek Zaba invited the people of Kingston to the Rose Theatre for a free public panel discussion in September 2017. The panelists were Car Orza, CEO of Kingston-based events and record label Grand Unified Themes and Bob Salmons, Director of the Ealing Community Interest Company, who seek to highlight the rich musical heritage of Ealing and encourage a live music culture to inspire future generations in the region.

You can listen to this panel talk here EMBED?

Kingston RPM Record Fair and Album Launch

In September 2017 Kingston RPM teamed up with VIP Events to co-host a record fair at Tolworth Recreation Centre. The RPM team was able to take with it some of its To Make A Record exhibition content, providing a taste of the borough’s musical heritage to the local record collectors.

As well as offering attendees a glimpse of this exciting history, Kingston RPM also helped to bring a contemporary live music flavour to the event as music from Dr Bluegrass and the Illbilly 8 provided a unique blend of Americana folk and jazz, and a dazzling performance from Swing Dance UK gave everyone the opportunity to learn some fabulous swing dance moves. The event was used as an opportunity to launch the Kingston RPM project album, a combination of live musical recordings and oral testimonies captured for the project.