Children singing for children – singing in the choir
It’s been a busy few weeks at school for N, and a few more exciting weeks with events and trips out on the way. It’s brilliant their school gets them so involved with events run for the secondary school catchment primary schools, as well as independent trips. Often they do things around the village like bulb planting or selling poppies, which N enjoys just as much as full days out.
Now N is in the choir, he gets to do performances with other schools. The last few weeks of practising with him singing all over the house, culminated in the choir taking part in a local Children Singing for Children concert. Area primary schools sing across different nights of the week at the big church in town. The concerts fund raise for a local children’s centre, and for helping African school charities.
N was really excited in the run up. It didn’t worry him that his best choir buddy friend wasn’t taking part. He just loves to sing, and the choir’s giving him a great opportunity to be part of a group, learning about responsibility and team work. Given he sings from the moment he gets up to bedtime, channelling that into learning more about proper singing and musicality, I think the choir will be really good for him. 6 months in, I don’t think his enthusiasm is waning.
The choir got to practice in the afternoon, then parents were able to watch the performance in the evening. We had a panic when I got back from work to find that N hadn’t brought his school shoes home to wear for the concert. Cue a frantic drive up to school to find that luckily the head teacher was still there so we could get his shoes.
Going out in the dark in the evening always gets N excited. Considering the concert didn’t start until 7 and went on for a couple of hours, he did really well to stay bright and breezy (and awake!).
Each school choir sang 2 songs, then all the schools came together at the end to sing together, a very emotional performance of Sing and World in Union. There was a real mix of choirs. Some sang along to music with a singer, some only had older children in (definitely sensible as some of the youngest singers just can’t stop fidgeting or don’t know the words), and others did a lot more complex songs with harmony.
N’s choir sang an unaccompanied version of Happy. It felt very brave and considering they no longer have a lot of the very strong singers who left in the summer, they did a pretty good job. Then they sang Everybody wants to rule the world which went much better. They looked like they were enjoying it and it was one of the better performances. Only one other choir sang unaccompanied.
I was so proud of the school. They behaved well, looked smart up on stage (I think N was the only one wearing his poppy on the wrong side), and they obviously enjoyed getting up on stage and showing what they could do.
What I loved to watch in our choir’s children was how, despite their excitement beforehand, they listen to the teachers, they chat across year groups, they know each other well, they’re supportive helping out the younger children, and they’re not acting like divas, they’re not precocious like I was seeing from some of the other schools. Ours have more of a ‘quiet’ ‘just get on with it’ vibe about them. Then they celebrate afterwards.
It was lovely to see music enjoyed by so many children, and hopefully these kids taking part will continue to enjoy their music and singing.
We left still humming World in Union, one of my favourite songs I used to sing in choir myself age 13 or 14. And N chatting non-stop about what we’d heard, how he thought their songs went, and when their next concert will be.
Less than a week later and N’s moved on to talking about christmas carol concerts and performances. And he’s now onto singing Gaudete in preparation for Christmas. N might need to learn the words a bit more accurately, and has told me we need to get out the Christmas CD to listen to it. Plus he’s already discovered 2 different versions of it being sung on Youtube to help him learn it – including one by Steeleye Dan, one of their other song’s is already in N’s choir’s repertoire!
I loved singing in the school choir when I was at school, going on tour to Austria was a highlight. So it’s nice to relive that, the excitement of concerts and the memory of certain songs through N’s new enjoyment.
Do your children sing in their choir? How do you encourage their singing?