St John’s Church in Sharow near Ripon has hosted a concert with a difference.
The concert was part of a joint project by local primary schools to celebrate classical music as part of the nationwide BBC Ten Pieces Project.
Emily Smith, a vocal coach from North Yorkshire, held a workshop in the afternoon, which included some fun warm-up activities and then set to teaching children from Markington, North Stainley and Grewelthorpe primary schools how to sing Zadok the Priest by Handel.
Emily was impressed with how quickly the children picked up the music, and told them they compared favourably with her adult choirs.
In the evening, a few of the children returned to St John’s for the evening performance.
There was a very varied programme including the children, amateur singers and professionals. The primary orchestra opened the proceedings with their versions of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, John Adams’ A Short Ride in a Fast Machine and the finale to Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.
The audience was shown a pair of films of workshops taking place at Kirkby Malzeard and West Tanfield schools, given by Phoenix Dance.
The Lay Clerks, who sing at Ripon Cathedral, demonstrated the ranges of their voices, including a countertenor (male alto) who amazed the children with how high he could sing. They used this variety of voices to sing an unaccompanied version of In the Hall of the Mountain King, followed by a sublime performance of Mozart’s Ave Verum, accompanied on the organ by Alasdair Jamieson.
The concert was brought to an uplifting conclusion by the children’s choir, St James’ Parish choir, members of Ripon Choral Society, the Lay Clerks and a few volunteers from the audience singing the anthem Zadok the Priest, accompanied by Alastair Jamieson. The full sound raised the rafters and inspired the children and adults alike.
Refreshments were laid on after the concert by members of the church and there was a chance for the various different participants to socialise with each other and the audience. A retiring collection raised around £75 for St John’s church.
It was the ideal first step towards their next concert, which will be held in Ripon Cathedral on May 23.