For the third year running, 500 pupils from 11 local primary and secondary schools will be singing, dancing and beat boxing at Bath Abbey as part of the Schools’ Singing Programme’s annual workshop.
On Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th February (9.30am-3.20pm), the students will be taking part in a series of activities designed to get the children to enjoy singing as a group, experience different musical genres and to develop good singing and performance techniques.
Both days end with a concert at which the children come together to showcase their newly acquired skills. Participating schools include Freshford C of E Primary; King Edward’s Secondary; St Julian’s Primary, Wellow; Weston All Saints Primary; King Edward’s Pre-Prep; St Andrew’s C of E Primary; Widcombe Junior; St John’s C of E Primary, Keynsham; St Philip’s C of E Junior; St Stephen’s CEVA Primary and High Littleton C of E Primary.
Since it was first set up three years ago, the Abbey’s Schools’ Singing Programme has reached over 3,000 school children across Bath and North East Somerset. The aim of the Programme is to promote choral singing in schools which in turn, has a positive impact on the children’s overall attitudes and behaviour, helping to build their confidence, concentration, and teamwork skills and challenges them intellectually and musically.
While the main focus is on choral music, the children learn songs from across all genres and from all around the world with a musical instrument or two thrown in.
Shean Bowers, Bath Abbey’s Assistant Director of Music and Choral Director for Schools said: “While our main focus is on choral singing, the Schools’ Singing Programme is really to get children and schools’ staff engaging with music in a way they’ve never done before.
“For many of the children, today will be the first time they’ll get to experience different styles of music, from beat boxing to African drumming. Our hope is that these sessions will inspire them to a lifelong love of music, and to explore all the possibilities music brings.”
Pete Mountstephen, Headteacher, St Stephen’s CEVA Primary School, said: “The Bath Abbey Schools’ Singing Programme has been a wonderfully positive force for our school. The children who have directly benefited have had their lives changed for the better forever, with some really transformational developments in personal confidence amongst one or two of the children.”
1. African Dance and Drumming in the Abbey
Led by Kirby and Norman Stephenson
African drumming and dance specialists
2. Choral Singing in Parts in the Choir Vestry
Led by Michelle Lawrence
Assistant Choral Director for Schools, Bath Abbey
3. Kodaly Technique in the Guildhall
Led by Alan Murdock
The British Kodaly Academy
4. Swing and Beat Boxing in Number 9 Kingston Buildings
Led by Tobias Hug, Suzie Merchant and Yvette Riby-Williams
Beat boxing experts
5. Therapeutic Songwriting in the Adventist Church
Led by Matthew Hemson
The Therapeutic Media Company