Catherine Pestano


Croydon, South London.
Easy fast trains from Victoria, KingsX, London Bridge to East Croydon


Simple harmonies, songlets & rounds from diverse traditions. Mostly non-performing. Fun, relaxing.

Additional information

Catherine Pestano has been facilitating community singing groups since 1997 after training with Frankie. Catherine loves helping people relax and free up their voices. The great sense of wellbeing and connection we get when singing harmony with others is her pleasure. Chants, simple short harmony songs and improvisation all feature in a kindly and warm group atmosphere. Singing in Nature series and menopause singing and talking circles are other current specialisms.

I have been running community music, singing and songwriting sessions for many years. At the moment I offer these on occasional Sats in the centre of Croydon and in local parks. I also offer short series of harmony singing sessions through the local Adult Ed service and sometimes through Creative Croydon when we get grant funding. This keeps things affordable. These groups are non-auditioned and all voices are welcome.

We sing a range of harmony acappella songs, drawing on a range of global traditions, folk, gospel, jazz, blues, all at an easy level. We meet on Tues evenings with some Sat workshops also.

We might share our songs informally but performance is not the main focus. We sing for ourselves in the moment, for the pleasure of it, sometimes also improvising a little (optional). We also have occasional Saturday workshops with guest leaders, an occasional overnight nature camps with song and other nature arts, yoga etc.

Refugees and local people singing and dancing together outdoors in park
Simple songs and dances help create community and offer fun and friendship beyond language.

I regularly guest at external organisational events, conferences and enjoy offering corporate team days using voice and music to help creative connection. Happy to travel to offer occasional workshops, for example, Canary Wharf corporate Voice workshops, Forest School outdoor conference, West End Theatre (Aldershot) Menopause singing circle, animating spaces and other creative adventures!

Thanks to Lisa Castagner for this image
Group singing in the Braithwaite Hall for Calat Croydon’s adult Ed service

Forthcoming events

For forthcoming events, please see our blog and sign up to the newsletter:

Call 07981 298 541 or email for more info and encouragement!

I also undertake projects for other organisations and sometimes help raise the money for the commissions via our own local non-profit group. I’m happy to discuss any possible commissions or residencies using music in your particular circumstances and settings.


I also offer an affordable vocal facilitation development programme. This is both for the singing/vocal aspects and also for support in starting your own group or business. Alternatively one to one mentoring is available.


Catherine Pestano is a community musician and social worker with a passion for helping people to free their voices and share in the joy of sounding, singing and creative music making. She was originally inspired in her work by experiencing Frankie Armstrong’s approach, values and attitudes. Catherine then trained in community music at Goldsmiths and as a secondary music teacher at Greenwich /TrinityLaban. She leads Action Learning Sets for creatives and others (trained as part of the Cultural Leadership Programme).

Catherine works with adults, children, young people and in inter-generational programmes, with the voice, sound and instruments. The work often has a wellbeing or group development focus. She has experience with people with mental health needs and learning difficulties, physical and sensory disability, refugees, those with unaccompanied minor status, looked after children and ex-offenders, as well as businesses and many different community groups. Pupil referral Unit projects are always welcomed. Catherine ran a Skype based composition project with a primary EBD school linking with a secondary SEN school in Florida. Looked After Children, menopause and hospital bedside singing are special interests.

Catherine’s music work has taken her to a variety of countries and institutions, delivering for her own charity plus universities, Music Leader regions, Trinity KS2CPD course, SingUp!, TrinityLaban, Goldsmiths and other initiatives. She is a member of NVN, Sound Sense (past Chair for 3 years) and chair of Culture&, promoting diversity in arts and culture. Recipient of the inaugural ISME Award for community based music education programmes for her project in a post-conflict setting.

sensory multi lights voice and music session
Sound and voice bath, lovely for all ages

Catherine trained for three years in Organisational Consultancy at the Tavistock clinic. She also completed her part-time professional Doctoral student at Winchester with Professor June Boyce Tillman MBE, with a focus on diversity and her community music practice. She is a Fellow of the RSA, SSE and SFHEA. Combining her interests in people and music, Catherine is a member of the SocArts group looking into ways music can be used to help work with conflict. Variously published, including in the United Nations Compendium Music as a Natural Resource, resources list available.

My choirs

Croydon Community Choir

5 week block series

Occasional Sat daytime workshops.

Currently delivered through Adult ed and occasional Sat workshops. Online coming soon.

Singing leader mentoring available alongside.

Session times

Tues eves 7.15 - 8.45 pm

My resources

View my resources
Middle age age white woman grey hair in pink shirt

Contact details