Aldeburgh Music’s Friday Afternoons is an international singing project which started in 2013 to celebrate the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten. That year in Nottingham, the Cathedral Youth Choir led a group of other young local singers in a performance of Britten’s collection of 12 songs (entitled ‘Friday Afternoons’) with the Nottingham Youth Orchestra in the Nottingham Albert Hall, on the composer’s birthday, Friday 22 November.
Each year since, Aldeburgh Music has commissioned composers to write new songs to encourage young singers to engage with high quality yet accessible music. In 2016, composer Jonathan Dove wrote a new set of songs entitled ‘Seasons & Charms’ which formed the basis of this project. Thanks to funding from Aldeburgh Music, the Cathedral Music department was able to run a singing project with local schools to encourage good singing technique whilst learning songs from ‘Seasons & Charms’. After an initial CPD session for school teachers, each school received a singing workshop with Alex Patterson, assisted by one of our Choral Scholars, Grace Bale, before coming together on Friday 10 March 2017 at the Cathedral for the final sharing event.
Over 200 young children took part in the project with each school performing at least one song on their own, some presenting ‘creative responses’ to their chosen song, and all coming together for three songs which had the children singing in up to four parts.
We are extremely grateful to the staff and students of Edale Rise, Our Lady’s and St Edwards, St Margaret Clitherow, St Patrick’s, Becket, Christ the King and Trinity Schools for engaging so thoroughly with the project and making the project such a success. Appetite is strong for a similar venture in the future and the Cathedral hopes to facilitate this going forward. We are also thrilled that four young new young singers have joined our Cathedral Youth Choir as a direct result of this project.