Peterborough Cathedral’s music department launched a project in March 2009 offering schools in the area the opportunity to take part in a new and exciting government-funded initiative to encourage musical excellence and inspire singing talent among young children between the ages of 8 and 11.
The popular national ‘Sing Up’ Chorister scheme saw Cathedral music staff and a group of young choristers visiting various schools and working with children between Years 4 and 6 with the aim of promoting a varied and more challenging range of singing activities in our local schools.
Children and teachers were able to learn from experienced and talented choristers about the confidence, enjoyment and untapped potential music and singing can inspire, and at the same time gain new skills and develop their talent under professional guidance and leadership.
Following the visit from the Cathedral choristers, a skilled Singing Leader was then appointed to visit on a further five occasions to help the youngsters prepare for a grand finale musical concert for teachers and parents. This was held with the Cathedral Choir in early July 2009. Six local schools took part in the scheme, and around 150 children sang in the concert (with parents receiving free admission).
Each child was given a special ‘singing pack’ as a reminder of the occasion and the Singing Leader and Cathedral Director of Music provided help and confidence for school teachers who may not have led musical activities before. Training for teachers included two Inset training half days in the summer term together with short sessions during the Singing Leaders’ visits to schools. The outreach programme then continued into 2010 and culminated in a second major concert in June 2010.
Building on this work, a joint project called the Big Sing took place in autumn 2010 by both the Cathedral and Peterborough Young Singers. This involved over 400 children from seven local schools. It culminated in a concert in the Cathedral by the children and the Cathedral Choir in November 2010.