David Haines (composer)

David Charles Haines (born on 4 February 1956) is an English composer and songwriter. He was trained at Bristol University, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. Haines mostly works with community music groups, amateur theatrical societies, schools, colleges and pre-schools. Haines created Singtastic to allow access to his songs which also includes downloadable teaching material. Three of his music theatre works have received professional productions and his concert songs have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performed at such venues as the Carnegie Hall in New York and London's Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room. In recent years he has written works explicitly aimed at creating enthusiasm and interest in science through song.


Haines chooses to share his knowledge of science through song. Haines uses song to communicate his enthusiasm for the knowledge and discovery that science opens up.

Lifetime and Powers of Ten are just two expressions of that passion for science. Both are science oratorios which have been performed by choir groups made up of more than 400 multi-generational members in Devon UK and Massachusetts USA, the most recent performance having taken place on 4 April 2009 at the first San Diego Science Festival in California, USA.


The Lifetime Project

Haines is passionate about science and incorporates scientific themes into many of his works. He created the Lifetime Project to explore the science of life and evolution. The original project based in and around Teignmouth in Devon, England, involved over 500 children from 13 schools, and 50 members of a specially-formed community choir. The project included commissioning 17 songs and the collaboration of another 10 new songs. Concerts, public lectures, songwriting workshops, and artists’ workshops also made up portions of the project.

Powers of Ten

This project is a 101-minute choral work that explores the scales of the universe from sub-atomic to cosmic. It comprises 21 musical selections which are subtle and sophisticated while lyrical and engaging.

Commissioned in 1999 by Dawlish Academic Council, the Powers of Ten lead to three performances involving 9 schools and around 400 children to audiences of 1500 people.

Individual songs have been performed many times since, and in April 2008 the whole work was performed by North Cambridge Family Opera Group as part of the 2008 Cambridge (USA) Science Festival.

In December 2008 it was performed in Ivybridge in Devon, UK with two community choirs and around one hundred children and teenagers from three local schools.

A further performance is anticipated at the San Diego Science Festival 2010.

The Great Plant Hunt

The Great Plant Hunt was in collaboration with Kew Botanical Gardens, a project funded by the Wellcome Trust. This has led to further work for Haines. He is currently negotiating an 'Artist in Residence' project for the autumn 2009. Funding has already been earmarked but the precise details of when and what are still being decided.

Camp Quest

Camp Quest was founded in 1996 in the United States. In the summer of the 2009 Camp Quest made its first appearance in the UK. It is a summer camp specifically aimed at children from atheist families, sponsored by Richard Dawkins. Camp Quest involved children doing activities that summer camps offer, but they also had a seminar on Darwin and evolution. Haines taught campers the lyrics to several of his songs with topics related to Charles Darwin and discovery.

Tremendous Journey

Tremendous Journey is a new program of songs and readings about evolution. This set will be performed at the British Science Association Festival at Guildford and Milton Keynes Science Festival at the Stables Wavendon in 2009.

Music theatre

Haines has also written many musical theatre pieces for adults and children and has had many productions both here and in the USA. Many of his music theatre works - such as "Granny Galactica" and "The Chronovirus" have scientific themes similar to his other music.

Below is a list and brief description of his theatrical productions:

  • Armadadrama: historical tragedy around the Spanish Armada of 1588
  • Chronovirus: genetically-modified viruses to keep you young are just the start
  • Dog's Life: dog seeks truth in the circus, on the street, through crime, big business & the bottle before making a discovery that changes everything
  • Granny Galactica: educational journey around the cosmos with an ecological twist
  • Hengebourne Visitors: intrigue & greed around a mysterious row of standing stones
  • Hypnos Hormone: dissimulation, insomnia and sex in a sleep research laboratory
  • My Life as an Opera: six mini music dramas based on true stories
  • Octopera: eight mini-operas & micro-musicals - blindness, vertigo, alien love, TV chefs, mass suicide, gay porn, murder & stripping
  • Pedestrian Accident: absurd farce of egotism and death on a city street
  • Prince Donald & the Average Family: DNA profiling, disability, royal conspiracy and marital deceit lead to outrageous events in an ordinary schoolroom
  • Puzzle Jigs: conflict & confusion in the world of a living jigsaw puzzle
  • Shelf Life: love, life and lies in a rundown city supermarket
  • Taking Pictures: village life turns out to be far from what it seems
  • Terrorthon: global warming leads to a mass kidnap crisis in an airport arrivals lounge
  • Worship of Shadows: obsessions collide in an isolated country house


In early 2009 Haines launched Singtastic.com, an online music publisher offering a wide range of support materials and resources for each song featured. Singtastic.com is a unique style of online music publishing. It offers a whole portfolio of materials for each song: tutor and sing-along videos and audio tracks, video chats about the song, downloadable PDFs of the lyrics and sheet music in a wide range of formats.

The web resource is aimed at students, educators, children, and people wanting to learn more about science anywhere in the world. Singtastic is designed for educational institutions wishing to expand their cross-curricular work or for home educators seeking materials that will both inspire and inform. The site is designed to be affordable and for a low price one can access a vast amount of downloadable resources.

Darwin Jazz Suite

Darwin Jazz Suite is Haines’ first Jazz recording as well as his first CD commercially available on Amazon.com, iTunes, etc. Haines functioned as composer for the songs on this CD while Singtastic was the publisher. The Darwin Jazz Suite was performed by the Sue Kibbey Jazz Quartet. Jazz musicians Sue Kibbey (singer) and Lewis Riley (pianist) developed their jazz interpretations of some of Haines' Lifetime Songs (also known as his Darwin Songs) during the summer of 2008 and recorded the album with bassist Mike Thorn and drummer Dave Sheen in September 2008.

External links

1. http://davidhaines.co.uk/index.html
2. http://www.singtastic.typepad.com/
3. http://singtastic.com/
4. http://familyopera.org/prod/csf2008/index.html

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