Choirs for all kinds of song

21st January 2005 at 00:00
One way of getting children singing is to find out what they like and use that as a springboard to get them interested in a wider range of music.

Our school has three choirs with different aims. The biggest is the Concert Choir made up mainly of Years 7 to 9. The pupils are encouraged to come up with their own suggestions and the repertoire is mostly popular.

Recently we've worked on "Beautiful" and "The Voice Within" by Christina Aguilera, "Heaven" by DJ Sammy and classics such as "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack and "Let it Be" by the Beatles.

We also have a thriving Gospel choir, with singers from Years 7 to 11. I have found it useful to start a choir such as this with a contemporary R'n'B repertoire then more traditional Gospel music. This is a very committed group with a lot of good singers eager for solos. They are now keen to sing a wide range of music, from traditional African-American spirituals such as "I'll Fly Away" to soul classics like "Something Inside So Strong".

The third group is a chamber choir. The repertoire is often more traditional, either classical or jazz, and many of the pupils take singing lessons. The choir is run by the singing teacher like a singing lesson, with some emphasis on technique. This choir is growing as pupils become interested in learning about singing properly. The number of pupils taking music GCSE has risen over the past few years, mainly through pupils being more confident about using their voices. At the last concert more than 150 pupils were involved.

Cath Roberts

Head of expressive arts, Sacred Heart Language College, Harrow

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