A Fitting End To A Wonderful Year – ACC17 Sent Off In Style At The Council Chamber

The year of Southend being the Alternative City of Culture came to a close on Saturday 2nd December with the End of Year Celebration Concert. The Council Chamber hosted some extraordinarily talented musicians, artists, dancers and photographers who combined to create a diverse and action-packed afternoon. With the chamber close to capacity, the finale was suitable to mark the end of a phenomenal year of cultural celebrations across Southend.

On their way into the chamber, the audience were greeted by some of Southend’s most talented artists, community groups and schools all displaying some of the wonderful work they have done over the past 12 months.

There were too many noteworthy performances to mention them all. That said, the audience were treated to a wide array of styles from larger groups like the award-winning Music Man Project and Southend Harmony Singers to individual artists like Sandie Soraiya and duos such as Levent & Taylor. There was even room for some stunning operatic renditions by Lili La Scala, Tiffany Kertesz and Vannessa Cozens. Wendy Headford’s Junior Masters featured prominently in the second half showcasing the amazing work her school does for the local community and the future of the performing arts in Southend.

Joined by the Mayor and the Town Crier, Sir David Amess MP opened the concert by reflecting on the events that have taken place throughout the year. The MP for Southend West praised the wonderful efforts of those in the local community who have helped make the Alternative City of Culture campaign a resounding success. He paid a special tribute to the volunteers from the Leigh-on-Sea Branch of the Royal British Legion who played a vital role in the smooth operations on the day ably directed by Emma-Jane Beaumont.

Sir David commented:

“The final event to mark Southend-on-Sea being the Alternative City of Culture 2017 was inspirational. I cannot thank the performers and artists who took part in the concert enough for giving up their valuable time and producing such a wonderful show.

“The year of Southend being the Alternative City of Culture has been a wonderful celebration of the many facets which make up the rich culture of Southend. There have been so many highlights, not least of which were the extraordinary non-stop stilt walk from Southend to No. 10 Downing Street, the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance on Southend Cliffs and the Fashion Show at Prittlewell Priory.

“As well as today’s performers and artists, I would also like to thank our volunteers and the entire Alternative City of Culture team for their wonderful efforts throughout the year. Onwards and upwards for ensuring that Southend-on-Sea is made a city!”

Shortly after the concert, Sir David was joined by the Mayor of Southend and the Town Crier to switch-on the Christmas tree outside the Civic Centre.

Local singer set on winning X Factor 2017

A local singer from Westcliff has his sights set on winning this year’s X Factor.

Matt moved to Southend with his family from East Ham at the age of four and attended both Chalkwell and Prittlewell (now Chase High).
A keen performer from an early age – at 16 he took his hand to the guitar and has never looked back. If you are a visitor of any of the many festivals southend and it’s surrounding areas has to offer or frequent any of the local Public houses, restaurants or wine bars – you will have no doubt seen him play. Matt has over the years also organised many-a music night at various local venues himself, providing pegged local artists a platform to showcase themselves as well as booking singers and bands for various pubs and clubs and himself been the lead singer of many local bands too.
After being offered the opportunity to showcase himself on X factor a few years back – he decided now was the right time to go for it and is so grateful for all the support local people have shown him.

Reserve your seat at the Southend Alternative City of Culture End of Year Celebration

Throughout 2017 a number of events have taken place across Southend to celebrate the town being the Alternative City of Culture. As the year draws to a close, an End of Year Celebration concert is being held to mark the end of a year of fantastic cultural events. The event will take place on Saturday 2nd December from 12:00 to 15:30 in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre on Victoria Avenue.

A host of soloists, choirs, bands and orchestras will be performing at the event, including the award-winning Music Man Project, Yardarm Folk Orchestra, Southend Harmony Singers and Leigh Orpheus Choir. As well as live music, a number of local artists and organisations, such as Figure of Eight Education, will be displaying their artwork throughout the afternoon.

General admission to the event is free, however in order to attend the concert you will need to reserve a seat. To do so, please email Charlie.speller@parliament.uk. Tickets will then be sent out in the post a week before the event.

All of us at the Southend Alternative City of Culture 2017 team invite you to join us on the day to enjoy the epic finale to the ACC17 celebrations!



Local Artists, Photographers and Craftspeople descend on Hotel for Exhibition

On Sunday 29th October the Southend Alternative City of Culture Celebrations came to the Park Inn Hotel as a number of local artists, photographers and craftspeople took part in a display show. The exhibition coincided with the Art & Photography month of the celebrations.

Exhibitors included Leigh-on-Sea artists John Adams and Trevor Stoneman, photographer Lydia Newstead, Paul Burkmar from Burkmar Jewellery and many more. The afternoon was a resounding success with money raised being donated to the campaign’s charity, the Music Man Project.

Calling On You! End of Year Finale Will Showcase the Best of Southend

On Saturday 2nd December, the Alternative City of Culture will come to an epic conclusion in the Council Chamber on Victoria Avenue. Sir David is calling on people to come forward, showcase their talents and make it a performance to remember!

“This is your last chance to make a contribution as the year draws to an end and so does the Alternative City of Culture 2017. I am calling on any person or group of people who would like to participate in the celebrations on Saturday 2nd December between 13:00 and 15:30.

“We are looking for choirs, orchestras, musicians, chefs, dress designers, actors, actresses, comedians, artists, jewellers, poets and more! Please contact me on amessd@parliament.uk or 0207 219 3452. I am looking forward to seeing you there!”

Arts, Photography & Crafts display show to take place at the Park Inn

On Sunday 29th October the Southend Alternative City of Culture 2017 celebrations will be coming to the Park Inn Hotel on Church Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2AL. As part of the Art & Photography month of the campaign an exhibition of local art, photography and craftwork will be taking place in order to raise money for the Music Man Project.

The show will run from 11am to 4pm featuring a number of talented individuals who will be showing off their work throughout the day. Admission is free however there will be a number of stalls selling artwork directly from local artists themselves.

If you would like to exhibit your art or creations please fill out the entry form below.

Entry Form


Southend’s Traditional FESTIVAL OF REMEMBRANCE, now in its 5th year, features Southend Band, Southend Wind Orchestra and The Orpheus Singers

The Orpheus Singers, Southend Band and Southend Wind Orchestra will combine for their traditional FESTIVAL of REMEMBRANCE on Saturday 11th November, under the baton of Musical Director David Clark. With Sir David Amess MP, Southend Mayor Cllr Fay Evans, Castle Point Mayor Cllr Brian Wood, and Military Personnel in attendance, this is always a popular concert in the performers’ diary.

November 2017 will be the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres. This battle was a campaign of the First World War fought by the Allies against the German Empire. The battle took place from July to November 1917, for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres. Passchendaele lay on the last ridge east of Ypres. Within the programme of music in this year’s FESTIVAL OF REMEMBRANCE the Band, Orchestra and Choir will be performing a commemorative piece entitled ‘Passchendaele’. Major Simon Haw MBE of the Coldstream Guards composed this work as a tribute to the brave men who gave their lives in 1917 at Passchendaele, in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

Also included in the varied programme of music this year is a medley of songs from the great “swing” era entitled the Kings of Swing which includes – Begin the Beguine, Ain’t Misbehavin, Moonlight Serenade and Chattanooga Choo Choo. This year also marks the 50th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heartclubs Band. It hit the album charts back in 1967 and the Band and Orchestra will combine for their toe-tapping rendition of the Brilliant Beatles.

There will be the traditional Service of Remembrance conducted by Reverend David Pierce and the Presentation of the Standards as The Last Post plays.

The concert proceeds will go to the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal British Legion.

Royal British Legion partner with Blade Education for Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance

The Leigh-on-Sea branch of the Royal British Legion have joined forces with local not for profit company Blade Education to create the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Leigh Town Council and Southend Borough Council, the project aims to reconnect school children with the importance of remembrance.

SSFR is currently working with schools in Southend, Leigh, Shoeburyness and Westcliff to build a Children’s Poppy Exhibition in November. This exhibition will be held at the Rose Garden below the Southend Cenotaph the week before Remembrance Sunday.

Project Artist Mary Lister is leading the poppy making lessons with children of all ages with the aim of making around 3000 clay poppies in the run up to the exhibition.

If you would like your community group to make some poppies, or have a story of a relative who was around during the Great War era, or are interesting in volunteering for the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance, then please contact ssfr@blade-education.org.uk or see the project’s website www.ssfr.org.uk

Southend United celebrates the Alternative City of Culture

As part of the Southend Alternative City of Culture celebrations that have been running throughout 2017; Southend United recently joined in on the action by dedicating their home game against Blackpool to the campaign. The match, on Saturday 30th September, was part of the campaign’s sporting celebrations which Southend United took the lead on.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, attended the game alongside the Mayor of Southend and the Town Crier who announced the teams prior to kick-off.

After the match, which saw Southend win 2-1, Sir David said:

“I was absolutely delighted that Southend United agreed to take the lead this month in celebrating sporting excellence in Southend. We have a number of local sporting organisations in our town and at the heart of it is of course our football team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Southend United for all that they do to engage with the local community, particularly their youth work and sport programmes in our local schools.

Southend United Captain Anton Ferdinand joined us at the launch of the Alternative City of Culture in Westminster at the start of the year. He took the opportunity to share with the assembled guests his passion for Southend United and the sporting excellence in our town. I am delighted that today’s programme included a penalty shoot-out between sporting fans of two seaside towns.”

Calling all Artists, Photographers and Craftspeople!


On Sunday 29th October, Southend Alternative City of Culture will be holding an Art, Photography and Crafts exhibition at the Park Inn.

Following the success of the ACC17 launch in Westminster in January which included many artists, photographers and craftspeople from Southend; the show promises not to disappoint. The event will run from 11am to 4pm featuring a number of talented individuals who will be showing off their work throughout the day. Admission is free however donations for the campaigns charity, the Music Man Project, would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to be a part of the exhibition and would like to display your art please get in touch by emailing Julie Cushion at cushion389@btinternet.com