- To fight social exclusion of children and young people through the media of music, dance, drama and the arts in general. Social exclusion can be the result of factors such as financial hardship, ill health, substance abuse, discrimination, family breakdown, to be in public or in penal care
- To provide support and activities for children which will develop their social skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as mature and responsible individuals
- To promote education of children and young adults in such ways as the charity trustees think fit, including by awarding scholarships, providing for their education through the study of music and the arts and to undertake travel in furtherance of that education
Founders: Dr and Mrs Ulrich and Christine Sigwart-Sartorius
Trustees: Christine Rosemarie Sigwart-Sartorius / David Soro Russell / Anita Mirjam Buser
Patron: Sir Andrew Parmley, Director of the Royal College of Organists; former Lord Mayor of the City of London
Registered Charity Number: 114 84 14
The Jonas Foundation Charitable Trust UK has been created in August 2012.
Swiss Church Music School London (1997-2003)
«Les Rossignols de Soho»: The early beginnings
French Protestant Church, London. In the nineties, Revd Leila Hamrat had asked Christine Sigwart to start a children’s choir at the French Protestant Church, London. They were called “Les Rossignols de Soho”! The “Soho Larks” have been singing at Church. They created little musicals: “Noah I” and “Noah II” which took them to Francfort and, following an invitation from Pasteur Jean-Luc Martin, the “Larks” performed at the Vatten Festival in Stockholm.
Their meeting point was Christiane’s Garetier’s home where cakes and hot chocolate never has been out of stock! Wonderful talents and friendshps emerged from these early days… After a few years, the creation of a music school appeared necessary. The talent and enthusiasm of the choristers made them wish to learn how to play an instrument. A new perspective opened: The Swiss Church Music School.
The Swiss Church Music School moved to Elephant-and-Castle after Ulrich and Christine Sigwart had returned to Switzerland. StMatthew’s church appeared an ideal choice to reach new students.
Some pupils developed remarkable musical and artistic talents. A few picked up a musical career (Dorothée Munyaneza, movie «Hotel Rwanda»), Chanel Kiasi, while others entered University, studying in various fields: Geography, Law, Engineering, Linguistics, Management, Social work.
Former students are scattered around the globe, holding interesting jobs. Some of them are working in development, like a former student who is an engineer in Erbil in Northern Irak. Another student has become a designer, promoting Fair Trade with African countries.
Founders: Christine and Ulrich Sigwart
Chairman of the Board: Gottfried Locher (President of the Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches)
Teachers: James Bush (Cello, Berlin), Pietr van Zyl (piano, South Africa), Stuart Whatton (piano), Felix Buser (Cello), Peter Rayner (Cello), Robert Masarachi (Violin), Carlo Ballara (Violin), Zara Ballara (Singing), Anthony Bailey (Clarinet), Christine Sigwart (Director, piano, recorder, choir)
Jonas Foundation Switzerland
(2003 – )
The Jonas Foundation has been created on March 15th 2003, at Bioley-Magnoux, Switzerland.
The same day, six of our students sang under the direction of Vladimir Ashkenazy «On Guard for Peace», Prokofiev, at the Royal Festival Hall (having passed an audition with Ronald Corp, NewLondon Children’s Choir).
The Jonas Foundation Music School at Elephant-and-Castle has been progressing over a decade. In 2003, directorship was given to Andreas Schindler, now Reverend at a large Parish in Reinach Leimbach, Switzerland.
Our Alumni, while moving forward in their own lives, showed a strong attachment to the School and started helping out (Chanel, Diane, Claudia, Joey, Ngudi, Manuel, Domingo, Nkosi, Mandy).
2006: Andreas Schindler and family (two children had been born!) moved back to Switzerland in order to pursue a pastoral training. Directorship passed on to Anthony Bailey, Clarinet teacher (until July 2011). Chanel Kiasi took leadership of the Jonas Singers. The School grew rapidly and successfully.
A certain number of achievers passed the ABRSM Exams. Some of them achieved Grade 8 Examens ABRSM.