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where It all started

thanet big sing community choir

our history

In early 2011, an Open Call went out for 100 singers, from any musical background, to come together to form a choir to sing an exciting and challenging piece of new music to celebrate the opening of Turner Contemporary in Margate.

Composed by Orlando Gough, The Red Volcano was inspired by JMW Turner’s poem of the same name and his painting of the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean Island of St Vincent in 1812.

Under the expert guidance of music director, Tony Castro, ‘The Big Sing’ performed The Red Volcano, accompanied by a local orchestra, for the opening of Turner Contemporary Gallery on the 17th of April 2011.

Following their debut performance, this group of singers unanimously agreed to stay together and formed the Thanet Big Sing Community Choir, which then became Turner Contemporary’s resident choir and the partnership with the Gallery continues today.

The Thanet Big Sing has gone from strength to strength and performed at key events at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, held regular concerts, participated in festivals and community events and collaborated with various artists.

Examples of previous performances listed below, represent some of Thanet Big Sing Community Choir’s activities over recent years which demonstrates the breadth and variety of the repertoires undertaken.

The Thanet Big Sing commissions its Music Director at least once a year to create and compose a bespoke concert, to compliment one or more exhibitions at Turner Contemporary or another local theme.
Often accompanied by musicians and a narrator against a backdrop of appropriate moving images, these performances are unique and very special. The choir thoroughly enjoys rehearsing and performing these concerts and they are appreciated by large audiences every time.

The Big Sing performs at various events throughout the year, including supporting Turner Contemporary at their exhibition launches and seasonal celebrations and performing at other venues locally and further afield.


  • Oh I Do Like to Be’, composed and conducted by Music Director Tony Castro commissioned by The Thanet Big Sing Choir, complimented Turner Contemporary’s exciting first ever photography exhibition “Seaside Photographed”
  • Westgate on Sea Summer Concert


  • On the Tram to Nayland Rock’, was a performance which formed part of Turner Contemporary’s well-reviewed exhibition – Journeys with the Waste Land, which centred on many elements of TS Eliot’s seminal work, The Waste Land, part of which was written in the Nayland Rock shelter, Margate in 1921. The original music was an imagined soundscape of a tram ride from TS Eliot’s hotel in Cliftonville to the Nayland rock; it paints an aural picture of the sound world Eliot might have experienced, remembered or imagined on his journey
  • The Thanet Big Sing choir was invited to perform on the Mandela Stage at London Southbank’s Annual Chorus Festival
  • The Thanet Big Sing Choir Summer Concert, Westgate on Sea
  • Poppy in the Park concert, Broadstairs
  • An especially curated selection of WW1 Music and readings at Turner Contemporary to commemorate 100 years of the end of the Great War
  • Westgate on Sea Lighting of the WW1 Beacon Ceremony