The appointment of Ellie Martin in September 2017 to the new role of Youth Choir Director has had a major impact on our Cathedral Youth Choir and also allowed us to open up more opportunities for young singers in a way we have never been able to do before.
Singing workshops in local schools have helped to attract new members to our Youth Choir, but also to provide schools with high quality singing expertise - something which is becoming increasingly lacking in schools due to the pressures they face on budgets.
One teacher reported:
‘Ellie came to do a one-hour singing workshop with years 4-6... she performed a variety of fun, interactive warm up activities to get their bodies and voices ready. The children were then able to practice rounds and rhythms with older songs as well as contemporary ones. To be able to offer this free is truly remarkable as many of our children are rarely exposed to proper musicians.’
Work with schools has resulted in our developing a relationship with the Nottingham Music Hub (funded by the Department for Education) and we will be working closely with them moving forward to ensure every child in the region is able to engage with high quality singing.
There have been a range of other opportunities for our current young singers. The Youth Choir was invited to sing as part of Salaam Shalom (SaSh) Kitchen Mitzvah on 22 November 2017 in aid of a National Jewish initiative which aims to bring different communities of different faiths to do good things for the world. The Youth Choir performed a number of songs and motets and also enjoyed a range of activities with other young children of different faiths.
We now have a new youth ensemble - Vivace! - comprised of a group of five girls from the Cathedral Youth Choir who meet on Fridays at 5pm to sing a range of music, learnt aurally and performed from memory. They have already performed at Mass and it has been extremely rewarding to see these young singers develop in confidence and ability as a result. We’re looking forward to seeing how the group continues to grow.