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EMMA DOGLIANI PROJECT MANAGER OF MUSIC IN THE VILLE wants to promote more music in prisons.  The Chance to Change Foundation / Friends of Pentonville supported Music in the Ville this year with a gift of £1,000.



















Music in the Ville Taster day on J Wing and in the Centre 23rd May 2022


This was Music in the Ville’s first workshop since Covid and our first ever work directly on J Wing.


For a report on our previous 8 week Pentonville project 2019, see attached report ‘Choir Project 2019’ Emma Dogliani OPV (official prison visitor) at Pentonville and a professional Opera singer, brought in 3 other professional musicians. Jazz singer and Cellist Kate Shortt, Violinist - Classical and improvisor Kate Conway and non classical singer songwriter and Choir leader, Dominic Stichbury.


They arrived on J Wing 8:45am set up and started playing 9am. There were quite a lot of men up and moving around the wing. Some had heard that musicians were coming in. About 10 men immediately set up chairs on the ground level in front of the musicians and listened intently from the start.


The musicians began by playing the duet Sull’ Aria by Mozart (and featured in Sureshank Redemption). At this point there was quite a lot of noise on the wing but by the end, more men were coming down to listen or leaning over the balcony on the higher levels and listening. Applause for the first number was warm and Emma introduced the musicians and mentioned that they were going to perform a bit more and then hoped to make some music together with the men. 3 more numbers followed. A Jazz cello piece using a looper and building up amazing musical lines. A virtuosic violin piece (Monti Czardas) and a James Taylor song with keyboard. Lyrics to Elton John Your Song were given out and led at the keyboard by Kate Shortt, and encouraged by the other 3 musicians, many of the men joined in enthusiastically.


Then followed several more communal songs, Summertime, a Bob Marley medley and more. By this time many more men were engaged and either on the ground level joining in or watching and singing above from the balconies. Applause at the end of each number was gaining by this stage and enthusiastic. Then followed a break for tea where several of the men made the musicians drinks and many came up and said how much they were enjoying it. Musical requests were made and the musicians incorporated all these whenever possible.


After tea they performed more. At one point there was complete silence while a 6 minute unaccompanied Bach piece was played on the violin. A Puccini Soprano solo was met with cheers, more communal singing took place including Queen We will Rock you. Emma asked if any of the participants wanted to do a solo and a rapper volunteered. A beat was given on the keyboard and the prisoner performed brilliantly a rap in Polish. Kate Shortt improvised along on the keyboard. Despite most of the audience not understanding the words, he was received hugely enthusiastically and met with loud cheers and hugs. He was clearly elated and given a huge boost by this. The session ended with a repetition of the Mozart piece from the start- this time with the large audience listening intently - the majority of the men on the wing (which holds 50 men) watching and applauding at the end. The session lasted 2 hours. The men seemed extremely happy and enthusiastic and as can be see from their feedback and that of their wing governor (below), were hugely lifted by the session.


After chatting with the men for a further 10 minutes or so and accepting their generous praise and thanks, the musicians left J wing and moved on to the Centre section of the prison and played a 20 minute set which was appreciated greatly mainly by staff and the few prisoners who were unlocked for cleaning or collecting meds by then.


Feedback from Natalie Adams Governor J Wing


"After the music session the whole atmosphere on the Wing was really positive. All the men were happy and smiling. There were no issues that day after the session and the atmosphere was positive and calm. The men really appreciated the time and effort put into them and their welfare. It was absolutely 100% brilliant, the prisoners loved it. They could have gone on with it all day. Thanks so much and please come back when you can."


Feedback from men taking part in Music on J wing 23rd May 2022


I think it was amazing. Feel happy, hope they come back, very good :) :)


They are kind and nice people, they are bringing to us some bright light from freedom. We feel different, better, like normal people. Please come back again, Thanks


Superb!! It was beautiful waking up to positive music. Kate was outstanding. Keep up the good work. You made my day today.


Really having a good time, the music and singing is soooo good and inspirational. Look forward to more and hope in the future they’ll be more..


Amazing- made my day, really needed this after being in a stressful environment. Hope this can become a regular weekly thing specially for people like me who suffer mental and emotional problems. God bless the team


Brilliant. Definitely deserve extra funding. Drill in Da Ville


Was lovely Music would like you to come back Very good made my day


Really enjoyed it and was a lovely surprise on a Monday


Thought was absolutely brilliant, brought all the wing together. Brought calmness and joy to the wing/day.


Thanks you for taking your time to do this. It means more than you know.


This was music to lighten up the day and it made my week. Thank you.


The music was top quality and it is the first time I’ve ever been to a Classical concert and I would like you to come every week in here.. It has lifted my spirits like never before in my whole life.


That music people was amazing. I wish to see these people again. That was a fantastic time. Thanks


It was an absolute pleasure to listen to such talented musicians and I found it so therapeutic and beautiful. Thank you so much for all of your time it was truly amazing

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