Hub school singers raise the roof!

Published 14th December 2017

....Twelve singing school choirs.... and a super swinging Red Hot Band!

On 4th December 330 young singers from 12 Nottinghamshire schools raised the roof at our second, awe inspiring ‘An Inspired Christmas Concert’ at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall. 

Triumphant, amazing, talented, poignant and uplifting are just some of the words their teachers, family and friends used to describe the evening!  We were treated to a spine-tingling performance of White Winter Hymnal, blending the beautiful harmonic voices of Joseph Whitaker and Colonel Frank Seely students; 138 confident primary singers brilliantly expressing the more mischievous side of the festive holiday in their Home Alone II medley; Tuxford Academy’s One Rudolph, a magical seasonal re-working of a reggae classic featuring 49 singers and musicians, and  the Born on a New Day festive showstopper, led by NYCGB Fellowship singers and our 330+ strong young voices!

An Inspired Christmas Concert came at 15 months into a three-year partnership between Inspire, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) Nottinghamshire Music Hub, and Nottingham Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall. The project was informed by Nottinghamshire Music Hub and Arts Council England data which showed ‘cold spots’ of low arts participation in the county and aims to make a real difference to the musical attainment and experiences of young students in Nottinghamshire.

Participating schools work with the NYCGB artistic team with support from members of the NYCGB Fellowship Programme, to ignite a choral culture within schools to change students’ expectations of singing, encourage individual and collective excellence and create a pathway for talented singers to progress to further opportunities regionally, and nationally via auditions for NYCGB’s five choirs. Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall (TRCH) provides a high-profile stage for key performance and education events throughout the programme.

At a launch event for the partnership, held at the Royal Concert Hall in May 2016, school students workshopped up a performance from scratch in just 40 minutes using melodies, harmonies, and beatboxing techniques.

By September 2017 further schools joined the project meaning the partnership had already achieved its 3-year goal of partnering with 12 schools. Since September NYCGB have been working with the 9 secondary and 3 primaries across the county in workshops which led to the stunning performances on 4 December. The emphasis of the project has very much shifted from being teacher to student led, with youngsters being empowered to embrace singing and own the direction of the pieces they have performed. The schools have really embraced the ethos of engaging with different genres of music, stamping their own creativity on it and truly having a voice in the project which has done wonders for confidence and self-esteem.  

The real magic happened on the day of the concert with all 12 schools coming together in Nottingham ahead of the big performance to work with NYCGB Director, Greg Beardsall. Greg ran a series of activities throughout the day to support the performances ready for the concert – but also bringing everyone together to create 2 new a cappella mash ups for the evening with all 12 schools performing together before the interval, and 9 secondary schools smashing it with the grand finale, ‘Funky Emmanuelle’. The audience even performed four carols in the round with some assistance from the Fellowship Octet.

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