In the nineties, a group of children under the tutelage of our founder Christine Sigwart, started singing at the French Protestant Church in London (Revd. Leila Hamrat), accompanying Church Services and celebrations with their music. It did not take long before they called themselves: “Les Rossignols de Soho”.
The lively songs and little musicals brought the “Rossignols de Soho” to various parts of Europe - from Germany, Switzerland to Sweden.
As years passed and the number of children grew, instrumental music was also introduced. What had started as a youth club - joining children from expatriate families with Inner City children - grew into a Music School. The ‘Swiss Church Music School’, under the roof and with great support of the Swiss Church London (Revd. Gottfried Locher).
About forty youngsters learned to play an instrument, with singing and performing musicals still at the heart of the School.
Who had not been wondering about the radiant, happy faces, singing on a Saturday at the Swiss Church under the beautiful Bible verse:
“Je ne mettrai point dehors celui qui vient à moi”.
Bringing together youngsters from different origins and backgrounds, offering an opportunity to share, laugh and perform together was only one aspect of the School. In the process of acquiring a solid musical education, learning to work together towards a goal (concerts and tours) and gaining self-esteem as you progress evidently becomes just as important.
The Music School moved to Elephant and Castle, South of the River, in 2002.
In 2003 a formal charity, the Jonas Foundation, was created in Switzerland, by Christine, thus opening opportunities to more children around the world.
Then, in August 2014, Christine launched the UK registered charity “Jonas Foundation UK”.
The Jonas Foundation UK is the natural extension of the existing project by the Jonas Foundation Switzerland, running as far back as 1992-1993 with Les Rossignols de Soho at the French Protestant Church.
All made possible by the incredible involvement of our founder, Christine Sigwart, whose vision and efforts make it possible for many children, in the UK and many other parts of the world, to learn and engage in the universal language of music.
Reg. Charity No: 1148414
Former Lord Mayor of the City of London & Director of the Royal College of Organists