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Monmouth children unite for spectacular singing project on Friday

March 19th, 2018
Schoolchildren from Monmouth prepare for Friday’s concert, under the direction of music teacher at Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, Mr Mike Steer.
The singing initiative, involving primary school children from Monmouth, has been led by Mr Joe Walton (seated) and Mr Mike Steer, Music teachers at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep and Monmouth School Girls’ Prep.

An exciting community singing project is bringing together primary-aged children for a special concert in Monmouth on Friday 23rd March.

Around 150 children, aged between nine and 11 years old, will create a massed choir of voices at the Blake Theatre at 5pm.

The ground-breaking project is being led by Mr Joe Walton and Mr Mike Steer, Music teachers at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep and Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, respectively.

Children from Kymin View, Osbaston and Overmonnow primary schools have been joining pupils from the two prep schools in Monmouth for lively rehearsals on Friday afternoons.

“We wanted to bring the children of Monmouth together,” explained Mr Walton.

“We wanted to give the children an experience of the real joy of singing and music-making using suitable music that had been recently composed.”

Mr Walton and Mr Steer liaised with the town’s primary schools last year and the project has received support and backing from Gwent Music, the local music hub.

Mr Steer said: “Gwent Music encouraged us to approach the primary schools and helped us to set up the important first meeting with the primary school heads to take the idea forward.

“We are focusing on an enjoyment and a love of singing and the Friday afternoon slots for rehearsals at Monmouth School Girls’ Prep worked very well.”

The Friday Afternoons initiative, inspired by legendary English composer, Benjamin Britten, was launched in 2013 and encourages young people across the UK to sing.

The scheme’s song bank contains new music and support material to help teachers develop their students’ skills – as performers, listeners and composers.

Mr Walton said:  “The local primary schools are now showing an interest in the resource to use in their own classrooms because it has ideas for listening and composing too.”

He added: “Our project has been running for the whole term and will culminate with a concert to parents on Friday at the Blake Theatre, a fantastic venue for the children to perform at.

“The children have been learning the songs very quickly. We had planned to teach them six songs, including Fast Car and Mad Moon by Jonathan Dove, but we may end up doing a few more.”

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