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Sing Up: Purcell Cathedrals Project

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Southwell Minster

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Sing Up Purcell at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral




Funded by a grant of £45,000 from Sing Up to the NCEM, the celebrations started with a collaborative education project joining together professional singers from The Sixteen and young people from four Cathedral Cities with music leaders from the Choir Schools' Association. The project - which was led by members of the internationally acclaimed vocal group The Sixteen - involved over 600 young people aged between 8 and 11 years in performances designed to celebrate the life of Henry Purcell.

This piece - was structured around the life of Henry Purcell - and then staged by The Sixteen and the young people in a series of matinee performances which took place in St Edmunds bury (9 May), Liverpool Metropolitan (5 June) and Lichfield Cathedrals (16 July) and Southwell Minster (19 June). The concerts were attended by families and friends who were extremely impressed by the quality of the performance. For many young people, this was the first time they had ever sung in a Cathedral. Harry Christophers, Conductor and Founder of The Sixteen, says: "We were thrilled to be a part of this project. The Sixteen has been working for several years in education work and is constantly looking to expand the scope of its activity in this area We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with so many people from this age range and introduce them in an exciting way to the music of our heritage.

"This is the first time we have been associated with something quite on this scale and, indeed, more importantly with such young children. It was a real revelation to us and showed us all what young people are capable of achieving. We can't stop now but need to keep building on this success and would definitely like to do more work with this age group, working in historic buildings."

Delma Tomlin, Director of the NCEM was delighted that the Centre had been able to initiate such a hugely significant project. She said that working with The Sixteen in Cathedral cities across England has given many young people the chance to learn about early music and the joy of singing as well as offering them an extra-ordinary opportunity to share the same stage as The Sixteen and their world famous director Harry Christophers.
This educational project was developed by Dr Cathryn Dew, the NCEM's Educational Consultant, to reflect the history, music and sense of the drama of the period and is strongly linked to the National Curriculum. The songs performed include London's Burning - reminding the young people of the Fire of London in 1666, Ring a Ring a Roses to bring reference to the Plague which was still raging through London in the 17th century and some of Purcell's most famous pieces including the ever cheerful Come Ye Songs of Art.

Following on from this project, the NCEM has developed an on-line educational resource for Key Stage 2 teachers. The resource, is available in the Learning Resource section and includes special arrangements of Purcell's music for young voices and activity ideas for teachers.