Hull Collegiate School Pupils Go Wassailing!

On Tuesday 28 November, Hull Collegiate School pupils sang with hundreds of their peers from across the country in a special concert in the Royal Northern College of Music.  The Hull pupils travelled to Manchester to sing in one of the first ever performances of Wassail! Carols of Comforts and Joy – a brand new musical score composed by renowned composer Alexander L’Estrange.

The performance was organised by United Learning – a national group of schools which includes Hull Collegiate School.  United Learning’s Partnership Fund, which seeks to enhance the opportunities available to students, had commissioned  the piece as a way of opening up the world of choral singing to pupils across the Group - – the piece itself draws on folk traditions with a modern twist influenced by both jazz and modern choral music.

The performance was the result of months of intensive rehearsals.  The Hull pupils had been learning and practising the piece since the beginning of term but only joined with the other schools on the day of the performance.

James Webb, Director of Music at Hull Collegiate School, said: “Being part of any first performance is a great experience for a musician. That’s been particularly true in this piece which has been enormous fun for all the pupils to learn. It’s given a brilliant opportunity for singers of all ages and abilities to join in with something really exciting and enjoyable".

Year 9 Pupil, Charli said: "It was the most fun and exciting time. I’ve never done anything like this before and to perform at such an amazing venue with professional singers was something I’ll never forget. The atmosphere had a real Christmas feeling, especially the songs we sang. I really enjoyed meeting pupils from the other schools and singing together. The acoustics at the Royal Northern College made our voices sound even better. We had a quick workshop with the professional singers who helped with our song we performed on our own as a school, we sounded so much better. I get so much support at school, Mr Webb really knows how to bring out the best in me. What I love about Hull Collegiate School is the opportunity to perform at these prestigious events. Music is a huge part of the school and it’s nice to be recognised and part of such a great team’’.

Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said:“Last night’s performance was absolutely spectacular.  The sound of hundreds of students from across the country singing together has been truly moving and I am thrilled that the students received such a resounding round of applause from the audience.

“Not only has this project introduced our students to a vast array of different types of music, it has given them the chance to collaborate with their peers from across the country.  These performances showed that music can unite us all – wherever we live and whatever our background.  It has been incredibly poignant to see our choirs comprising students from a diverse range of cultures and I hope that Wassail! will continue to bring such enjoyment to all schools throughout the country.”

This project has recently been shortlisted in the Best Classical Music Education Initiative category at the Music Teachers Awards 2018, sponsored by Classic FM.  The winner will be chosen by a public vote on www.classicfm.com.

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