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Making music. Together.

Continuing to be excellent examples of how collaboration and hard work can pay off, our young musicians performed beautifully at their end of project performance.

The Creative Education Trust cross-Trust music programme takes musicians and singers from our secondary schools, and brings them together to learn music side-by-side. An initiative that completes its 3rd year for instrumentalists, and 7th year for choristers.

Singers from across the Trust, started their journey this year with a 'Choral Inspiration Day' at St Giles Cripplegate - one of the few remaining Mediaeval churches left standing in the City of London. A first rehearsal is a chance for choral director Charles Béquignon-MacDougall to understand "Some of the members of the choir this year have been with us since 2019, with others joining us this year," notes Charles. "With changing membership, and only a small number of rehearsals, we have to work hard to find its sound." But the acoustics of the church certainly helped. As did the impromptu audience, coming in to view the beautiful surroundings! You can read more about their day on our previous blogpost here.

Above: The 2024 Creative Education Trust Choir, directed by Charles Béquignon-MacDougall, rehearses in the theatre at Abbeyfield School.

We aim to gently stretch our singers with the music we rehearse, choosing to tackle quite an ambitious and diverse repertoire. This year, our four choir rehearsals built to a thrilling performance of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus amongst other pieces. 

We take the same 'stretching repertoire' approach with our Singing Ambassadors - one soloist from each of our schools, chosen to develop their voice with vocal coaching from opera singer Camille Maalawy. “We have been working on a classical piece or a folk song from countries all around the world", explains Camille. "The students have been learning songs in a different style, often in a new language, and also thinking about the technical challenges that this brings.” The results are astounding, and it's clear to see that Camille is not just supporting our singers' technique, but providing them with the confidence to stand up and perform proudly in front of an audience.

A group of young musicians sit in orchestra formation
Above: The 2024 Creative Educaiton Trust Orchestra 

Rachel Salton, Head of Music at Lynn Grove Academy, is the conductor of the cross-Trust orchestra: "Our orchestra is made up of players from absolute beginners through to very experienced players who are heading off to university. Our challenge is to choose pieces that challenge the top end as well as provide a good basis for beginners", Rachel explains. This year the instrumentalists have risen to the challenge, learning Sibelius, Strauss, and The Hustle!  

But the real value is learning collaboration, and the enjoyment that one can gain from it. As Rachel observes, "for a lot of our musicians, it’s their first time they’ve ever played in an ensemble. It’s been a great experience for them".

The final performance, live-streamed for parents and peers to watch back home, took place at Abbeyfield School on 23 April 2024. Listen to the full concert here:

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Conductor of the orchestra: Rachel Salton
Choral director: Charles Béquignon-MacDougall
Vocal coach: Camille Maalawy
Accompanist: Richard Dunster-Sigtermans

The 2024 cross-Trust Choir and Orchestra are comprised of students from Abbeyfield School, Ash Green School, The Bulwell Academy, Caister Academy, Ellis Guilford School, The Hart School, Lynn Grove Academy, Thistley Hough Academy, Weavers Academy, and Wrenn School.

Creative Education Trust would like to thank:

  • Principal Fiona Aris, technician Clive Hewson, and the staff of Abbeyfield School for welcoming us to their theatre.
  • Richard Dunster-Sigtermans for his piano accompaniment of the choir and Singing Ambassadors
  • The music teachers and supporting staff of Creative Education Trust schools for their enduring support of our cross-Trust Music programme.
  • Primo Digital for recording and livestreaming the performance.