Singing challenge for the Cheetham Festival Spring Fling – We need your help!

On Sunday May 31st, 12-6pm, Cheetham Cultural Festival’s Spring Fling will be celebrating all the great things about our diverse community. This year of course the party is going to be virtual via Facebook and YouTube.

Manchester Jewish Museum’s song-writing group is making a video contribution featuring stories of Jewish people who grew up in Cheetham and went to work in the clothing factories.

We need your help. It’s easy to join in. Even if the most singing you do is in the shower, you haven’t sung since school or you have always fancied having a go – you are welcome to join us from wherever in the world you are.

We have 4 short new songs that our group has composed all based on stories of people growing up in Cheetham and going out to work in the factories. We have been thinking a lot about how work has changed in these current strange times and some of the songs are inspired by old working songs sung in factories.

We would love you to have a listen to the songs and make an audio recording of yourself singing along. We will put these recordings together to make a choir sound for our video.

What you need to do:

This is what you need to do, try to have a go at everything but if you feel you can only manage some of the songs that’s fine too:

  1. Watch Joe’s vocal warm up video to help you get going here is the link 
  2. Watch and sing along to the tutorial videos for Martin’s Song, Lily’s Song, Maurice’s Song and Things will Change here is the link
  3. You can find all the lyrics if you need them at this link.
  4. When you feel ready, listen to the tracks and sing along with Joe while making a recording of yourself. It doesn’t need to be a video just an audio recording. The easiest way is to listen to the tracks on a computer with headphones and make a recording on your phone for example.This is the link to all the tracks 
  5. We’re not expecting perfection! This is a very ambitious project to be doing in a short space of time. The main thing is that we enjoy it…and trust our Aaron to iron out any mistakes with his technical wizardry! 

The stories behind the songs

Song one: Lily’s Song

Lily grew up in a Jewish family in Cheetham Hill in 1904. Her parents were Russian and ran a grocers and dairy in Julia Street. Lily and her husband Charles both worked in the textile trade, Lily became a piece worker and then a factory manager. You can hear Lily describing her work below.

Song two: Martin’s Song (the Cabbage song!)

Martin’s father was from Austria who was an illusionist and his mother was Russian and was a cigarette maker. They married in London but came to Cheetham for work opportunities in photo enlarging. When Martin left school he was an errand boy for a butcher and then worked in waterproofing factories. He describes how the garment cutters who were clever would make sure that there was some cloth left over for themselves to make a bit of extra money a process called cabbaging.

Song 3: Maurice’s Song

Maurice grew up in Cheetham Hill and left school at 14 in the 1920s. He had difficulty finding a job but eventually worked in clothing factories around Cheetham. Martin had a colourful life including emigrating to Australia for a sort period and then fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War. You can hear his voice below.

You can attend the festival by simply joining our Facebook Group or YouTube!



Sunday 31st May from 12-6pm

The event will feature videos, activities and messages from lots of groups in Cheetham, including our own Andrea from the Jewish Museum with a beautiful video on flower arranging using any flowers you can find in your garden or local area.


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