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World premiere billing for The Grange Choir

April 26th, 2021
The Grange Choir with Music teacher, Mr Joe Walton

Musicians at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep will be performing on the world stage as part of the Friday Afternoons singing initiative.

The Grange Choir has been chosen as one of just 10 choirs from across the UK and Ireland to record the premiere of the song cycle, Everything.

The boys, under the baton of Music Teacher, Mr Joe Walton, are the only act chosen from Wales.

The impressive boys’ choir will be singing the song, Life, in the exciting virtual event on Britten Pears Arts’ YouTube channel on Friday 14th May.

It is wonderful recognition for the boys at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools.

Everything is a cycle of 12 songs about human discovery, invention, movement, language, atoms and cells all feature.

The Friday Afternoons songs by composer Russell Hepplewhite with texts by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, are designed to fire up the imaginations of infant and primary school children with a healthy dose of fun, humour, playfulness, and heart.

Mr Walton said: “We are all so excited to be premiering Life by Russell Hepplewhite for Britten Pears Arts’ Friday Afternoons.

“It is such an honour to have been selected and we have been enjoying learning the piece so much.

“We have boys from Years 5 and 6 who rehearsed together on Zoom and then recorded it individually. We can’t wait to share our performance on 14th May.”

In recent years, the choir of boys, aged 7-11, has performed at Birmingham Symphony Hall as part of the Music for Youth National Festival and at Birmingham Town Hall as part of The Festival Fringe.

The Monmouth choir was invited to sing at St John’s Smith Square in London in 2017 for a celebration of the life of the Hungarian composer and Music educator Zoltan Kodály.

Students at the school are taught using the Kodály approach, where the musicianship learning offered from aged 4 upwards enables a pathway to grade five musicianship – the first school in the UK to offer such a progression.

The Monmouth boys met Mr Rosen and Mr Hepplewhite for a live webinar and worked with choral animateur Charles MacDougall for extra preparation for their recording.

From September 2021, boys and girls will be singing together for the first time with the launch of the fully co-educational Monmouth Prep School.

The other nine choirs involved in the song cycle, Everything, are: Amherst School Choir, Kent; Cornwall County Choirs; Dublin Youth Choir; Lodge Moor Children’s Choir, Sheffield; The National Youth Choir of Scotland; Poco Amabile, Cumbria; Scunthorpe Co-Operative Junior Choir; Somerleyton Primary School Choir, Suffolk; Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs.

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