London Vocal Project

The London Vocal Project is one of the UK's leading contemporary vocal ensembles, specialising in jazz and groove music. Led by jazz composer and educator Pete Churchill, LVP is a vibrant community of performers.

Stories to Tell

Our MD Pete Churchill writes about his new album, in a piece which first appeared on London Jazz News

I think it was Stan Sulzmann who said to me that it was always a good idea to have a project on the go - something to return to in the middle of the madness of your day-to-day music-making. Specifically I think he meant a musical project - something close to your heart that would serve as a refuge from the balancing act  of gigs, rehearsals, teaching, commissions etc.

I have quiet obsessions outside music that take me away from it all - on rare occasions they help me forget about music all together. I had an allotment for a few years, I will always browse in secondhand shops for hours (especially bookshops) and, for a while, I collected 18th century prayer-books!

However, having a separate musical project of some sort is a totally different thing. It can be very liberating working on something that's ongoing and only has to make sense in terms of itself. As you probably guessed I have been working on just such a project for the last three years or so. It's a song-writing project which has resulted in an album called 'Stories to Tell'.

I've always written songs. However, over the last ten years a lot of my commissions have been based around certain 'critical issues'. This does mean that I have, in my back catalogue, a fair amount of songs on subjects which I care deeply about. Clearly a whole album of these might have been a bit much and I have tempered these with a few more personal narratives - some imaginary and some deeply embedded in my own experience.

I think the best decision I made was not to sing them myself and so most of them (with a few exceptions) are sung by the wonderful Mishka Adams. She is a songwriter's dream - a great understanding of text and, quite simply, one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.

With the addition of Ben Barritt on guitar, Adriano Adewale on percussion and the astonishing Mark Lockheart on saxophones we were able to spend more than a few days at Porcupine Studios with Nick Taylor at the helm. I'm convinced that the first thing you hear on any  recording is the atmosphere in which it was made. Nick creates such a wonderful ambience in his studio that it permeates the whole of our album - the process becomes the product.

So with typical bad planning I have loads of CDs in my garage with no record label, no distributor and no mechanism, as yet, to get them up and out. I gather that there is something called 'Bandcamp' that seems to work so keep your ears to the ground and your finger on the pulse of the information super-highway and 'Stories to Tell' may emerge. Or we can do things the old fashioned way. Come to my gigs/workshops/courses where I'll be hawking them shamelessly from a brown cardboard box - basically it's a case of 'stop-me-and-buy-one'!

The album is available now via, which also has details of a tour in October.

LVP + strings

Next Wednesday 3rd June, LVP join Bowfiddle for the Pizza Express String Quartet Festival. The first half will feature Bowfiddle performing a mix of music, including a rare performance of a Kenny Wheeler string quartet.

Then in the second half the quartet are joined LVP, featuring music by Kenny Wheeler, Bobby Wellins, Nikki Iles and Pete Churchill - as well as new arrangements of folk songs and spirituals.

Tickets are £15, doors open at 7pm and music starts at 8.30.

Bookings can be made here

BBC London

We visited our friend Jumoke Fashola this morning, for her BBC London show InSpirit. At the considerably un-jazz time of 8.50 on a Sunday morning, we sang two a cappella favourites: I Wish In Knew How It Felt To Be Free and People Get Ready.

The programme can be heard here until 24th May 2015. We're on from 2.51.00.

We're playing at the 606 Club in Chelsea on Sunday 24th May, presenting all our groove favourites, and guesting with string quartet Bowfiddle at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on Wednesday 3rd June. All details on our website.

Devon summer workshop

Each summer, LVP go away for a week of intensive rehearsals (and eating and drinking). For the last few years we've been going to Weycroft Hall in Dorset.

We've made some friends in the West Country, and by popular request this year we'll be doing a workshop open to the public. The workshop will be led by Pete Churchill, who will teach by ear a few groove and jazz pieces. LVP will be singing alongside workshoppers.

After the workshop, LVP will be performing a full concert, and workshop attendees will perform what they've learnt.

We'll also be performing a charity concert at Weycroft Hall, Axminster, on Thursday 20th August.



Last week, LVP were part of Backstories at the Albert Hall, a huge educational project organised by Merton Music Foundation. LVP have a long standing relationship with MMF. Our MD Pete has for the last decade been involved in creating large scale oratorios for their biannual performances at the Albert Hall. And by large scale, we mean big band, string orchestra, soloists, SATB choirs and over 1000 primary school children.

Merton Music Foundation Music Is For Life concert 2015

Music is for Life 2011 - Royal Albert Hall (Dig Deep - Full Performance) Official video with Pete Churchill, Merton Schools Massed Choir, London Vocal Project and the Merton Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Previous projects have included David and Goliath (based on the biblical story), The Journey (telling the story of immigration throughout history) and With One Voice (for which members of LVP delivered schools workshops to gather song ideas, which Pete collated)






As a choir, our involvement is small in the scale of things: we rehearse with Voicebox, the foundation's youth SATB choir. Part of our job here is to give them the experience of working alongside experienced professionals, and providing role models. On the night, it's our job to "bring the vibe".

Music is for Life 2013 - Royal Albert Hall (The Journey)

This year's project was Backstories, which aimed to encourage cross-generational collaboration. You can read more about the project here. In addition to music by Pete, several other LVP members (Nikki Franklin, Sam Chaplin & Adam Saunders) contributed songs, and directed them on the night.

Where do we come from (a brief history of LVP part 1)

Welcome to the blog of London Vocal Project. We're a choir in London, England, specialising in jazz, groove and contemporary music. For this first post, here's a bit about who we are and where we come from.

We began in 2008. Our MD, Pete Churchill, was teaching at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a London conservatoire with a renowned jazz course. While there, he led a jazz choir, with singers from the jazz course, but also instrumentalists interested in singing, and students from other departments. Pete brought his own compositions and arrangements, and others by composers such as Kenny Wheeler.

Pete decided to leave the Guildhall, but a few students decided they couldn't be without his choir, so they approached him to lead an independent choir.

Students and ex-students from the Guildhall came along, joined by those from other London conservatoires: Trinity, the Royal Academy, Middlesex. We'd all been through the same institutional training, and those of us who'd left education had lost that social support group. As singers, perhaps we don't get to meet other musicians, as you might do in a big band horn section.

In the beginning, the aim was simply to get together every week and sing (and to go to the pub afterwards). Pete had a collection of groove and gospel arrangements he used for community workshops, and they formed a core repertoire with which we could explore how to sing together, and what sound we could make.