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Cracked Earth

"The weekend was absolutely fantastic!! It's been uplifting and challenging at times too but in the end, I learned so much. I have been singing non-stop since and guess what? I felt so excited I even bought a keyboard hahaha! Now I need to get serious about learning music."

— Lisa

MDBrunch #Intensive21 


** 17th-19th September 2021 - We're Back! **
Hybrid: In person - Shepherds Bush, West London / Online - Zoom

Our weekend #Intensive21 is a workshop series featuring inspirational leaders who will motivate you and advance your skills.  MDBrunch has a reputation for helping you feel connected with a real sense of belonging.  Here, you can have a great time with like minded people.  This exciting hybrid weekend packed with immediate take-homes is live from London Sep 17th-19th.

Complete our booking form to select the sessions you are keen to attend

Full programme details below

Remember that the evening sessions (7-9pm) are designed for choir members to enjoy while vocal leaders observe the workshop leader for technique and inspiration!

Fri 17th, Sat 18th and Sun 19th September
Previously people have made a weekend of #Intensive, enjoying both the workshop sessions and networking social time while staying over in local hotels.  Get in touch if you need advice on accommodation or to be connected with others already booked into the area.


The session timings on all three days are (all times are BST (GMT+1)):
Session 1: 10am-1pm
Session 2: 2.30-5.30pm
Session 3: 7-9pm (designed for choir members to attend and vocal leaders to observe practice of the workshop leader)

Each DAY session is £25 in person / £15 on zoom (Whole weekend £150 / £90)
**That's £6.25/hr for training in person and £3.75/hr on zoom**


The 7-9pm sessions are £15 in person / £10 on zoom (£35/£25 for all 3 evenings)
**That's £5.83/hr vocal coaching in person and £4.16 on zoom**


All participants get the zoom video recording of their session(s) for free.  Session videos will all be made available on Oct 3rd; two weeks after the event is completed.


Vocal Leaders buying ALL 6 day sessions get ALL evening sessions for free.
Vocal Leaders buying both morning and afternoon sessions get the evening session for free.
Vocal Leaders bringing 10 or more choir members IN PERSON to evening sessions get a £50 discount.
Vocal Leaders bringing 10 or more choir members ON ZOOM to evening sessions get a £25 discount.
** NHS and Emergency Services staff 50% off

All sessions are at:
St John the Baptist, Holland Road, W14 8AH
Nearest tube: Shepherds Bush

**Except** 1 session only:
Sun 19th 7-9pm at St George's Church, Aubrey Walk, W8 7JG
Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate

*** Both venues are fully accessible. ***



Programme (click here to download)


Greg Beardsell
10am-1pm - Pitch and Putt - Innovative Musicianship Training for singers of all ages

You don't need to be a golfer to appreciate that you need different clubs for different situations around the course. Reading music is a bit like that - requiring singers to draw on a variety of skills to get you to the last bar. Join Greg Beardsell who'll be introducing you to two techniques honed at the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain - tonal centring and interval training. Both are guaranteed to get you some serious yardage in your music reading. Plus, it’s really fun, even if you hate golf…

Emily Barden & Ben Sawyer
2.30-5.30pm - Creative Play or Follow The Dots

Taking a piece of music and exploring it in two completely different approaches - how to detail the score and lift the sound to the next level OR how to use the motifs and ideas to create your own rendition of the piece.  Emily the consummate songwriter and Ben the choral genius will take you on two simultaneous adventures sharing the outcomes together at the end of the session!

Aga Serugo Lugo
7-9pm - Calm, Stress, Calm

Choir Members/Singers

Sit back, unwind as we explore an extended warmup exercise to relax our bodies and open up voices while clearing our thoughts.  Then, prepare to be plunged into a total state of creative exploration as you’ll be required to create your own 'Complaints Choir'.  Be ready to fume about all things trivial and consequential, big or small, and then turn that anger into something musical, cathartic and liberating.  Then you can kick back again as we explore 2 more pieces, one in Anglo-Saxon and the other written for world mental health day, designed to settle the mind and feed the soul.





Mandy Miller

UK Director of the Choral Music Education Institute and former Training Director and Scottish Chair of ABCD, Mandy is second to none at coaching leadership skills.  Passionate and driven, and like a sculptor, she sees both each individual and where they are now but also where they could be and with laser focus she demands of you to get there, now.  Be prepared for a day of exceptional skills enhancement; highly recommended to sign up for both day sessions together.

10.30am-1pm - From Score to Podium

Improve the efficiency of your preparation time.  
Maximise your rehearsal time. 
Develop your conducting gesture tool kit using new repertoire - part 1 

2.30-5.30pm - Make Your Choir Sound Even More Amazing


Demonstration of techniques to get the very best from the voices that you are working with  
Troubleshooting : identify and solve issues in the moment 
Develop your conducting gesture tool kit -part 2 
Even more new repertoire  


Simone Niles
7-9pm - Connect Your Sound

Choir Members/Singers


A Capella singing filled with harmonies, dynamic and expression to uplift and inspire. Bringing basic elements of sound healing into the workshop Simone will also share tips on how to use intention and sound to reduce stress and anxiety and how to incorporate these in your repertoire.






Jim Hjernøe
10am-1pm - The Intelligent Choir


Jim Daus Hjernøe invented "The Intelligent Choir" teaching philosophy to bring mind and body together in practice and theory working with jazz/pop vocal music.  The workshop includes a presentation of four main categories and experimentation: Rhythm & groove, pitch & intonation, blend & sound, interpretation & expression. Also, the workshop includes vocal painting and improvisational works. The vocal painting (VOPA) system offers advanced tools for live-arranging, live-composing, and contrasting elements such as shifting keys, time signature, etc.


At the workshop, practical exercises will illustrate the effect and power of the methodology. The methodology introduces new tools to work with traditional musical parameters and potentially will be a true eye-opener to even experienced choir leaders.


Pete Churchill
2.30-5.30pm - Inspiring the Inspiring


Pete, the Master and Guardian of 'Groove' and 'Cool', will be exploring ways with vocal leaders to help your choir unlock their groove and shortcut them to sounding cool.  From his decades of choir leading and training the future of music education in the UK and worldwide, Pete always distills genius into practical and achievable musical ideas that you can take home to any group.

Pete Churchill
7-9pm - The Big Finisher

Choir Members/Singers


Watch Pete live and in person teach songs - giving choirs total security and ownership at blistering speed; fully confident, layered parts, dynamics and ownership of the words; all as if the group had been rehearsing for weeks.  We'll go play in amongst Pete's library of arrangements of super 'cool' songs.  


Presenter profiles


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Born in Yorkshire and raised on a healthy diet of church choirs and brass bands, Greg has become a leading light in music education and performance, inspiring people of all ages to explore new musical horizons.

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Aga serugo-Lugo is a vocalist, clarinettist, composer and workshop leader. He sang for the 9 piece Funk band “Gefunkt”, and also extensively composed for the six-piece jazz-fusion group ‘Eclectiv’. 


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Jim Daus Hjernøe, professor in innovative pop/jazz choir directing at the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark (RAMA).  


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Inspired by artists including Joni Mitchell, Carol King, James Taylor and Paul McCartney, Emily is a contemporary pop/folk/country singer songwriter with a classic sound.

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Mandy has been Head of Music in Lochgelly High School since 1987. She is renowned for training school choirs (including a Staff Choir) as part of the department’s many extra curricular activities. She has travelled extensively in Europe with her Choirs and Pipe Band.



Pete Churchill has been working as a composer, pianist, singer and teacher for almost 30 years. 


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Ben Sawyer is a conductor, countertenor and educator based in Gloucestershire. He is much in demand for his affable, engaging and meticulous approach, and for his ability to get the best out of singers.


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Simone Niles is an expert coach, sound healer, vocalist and author, who offers grounded and practical teachings, focused on empowering conscious, soul-driven creatives and entrepreneurs to generate meaning and alignment in their work and life.


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Neil Mackinnon is a leadership coach and consultant in the cultural and creative industries

For more information email:

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