A sizzling summer of singing for schools
Throughout June, schools across Doncaster have been singing their socks off at massed choir events organised by Doncaster Music Education Hub to enthusiastic audiences of parents, carers, siblings and friends.
Held across two nights due to the project’s popularity, over 750 children from 27 local primary schools sang at Sing Out, the annual massed singing event held at The Dome.
Preparations for Sing Out began in January, when darts musician Janet Wood started to travel around schools delivering free songwriting workshops in which pupils could contribute material for new songs to be performed alongside well-known pop hits. A firm favourite was a song on an environmental theme with the chorus, “For goodness’ sake, we can’t move to Mars!”
Teachers attended a CPD session at The Point, where they learned the songs arranged by musician Jim Lunt, as well as choreography led by Sarah Belk from Active Fusion. Armed with resources they returned to their schools to teach the songs and movements in preparation for the event, when the pupils’ songs were accompanied live by Doncaster Music Hub Rock Band.
The Sing Out programme was enhanced by our very own Doncaster Music Service concert bands and solo vocalists performing their own numbers; darts’ funky R&B choir for 11 – 14 year olds, Swaglets, also sang at the event for the first time.
Later the same week, the Dome also hosted Doncaster schools singing together as part of Opera North Big Sing.
Paul Davies, head of Doncaster Music Hub, said: “It was great to see so many partners working together in harmony to create what was simply an amazing series of performance opportunities for our young people.
“We are extremely grateful for the support from everyone involved, most notably the staff and children from all the participating schools who were simply amazing.”
Commemorating the centenary since the end of the First World War, the event featured a selection of World War One themed and inspired music. Since March, Opera North Education’s Choral Delivery had been visiting participating schools, leading vocal training workshops for staff and pupils. They taught songs and music from the era including famous morale boosters such as ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ and ‘It’s A Long, Long Way to Tipperary’, which the pupils performed at the Dome alongside a selection of other songs.
For the final performance in our series, young people from the town’s five Special Schools came together for an exceptionally fun and collaborative morning with Sing + Sign at Doncaster College.
This year has been the biggest yet for Sing + Sign (previously known as Special School Sing), with new venue Doncaster College providing more space to accommodate its growing popularity. Each of the schools wrote a song for the massed choir to perform, contributing to a story about the peace of a summer’s day on the beach being shattered by the arrival of a band of pirates! The lyrics of the songs were interpreted using Makaton signs led by Lucy Robertshaw, and the audience were encouraged to join in the choruses, singing and signing along with the children.
darts (Doncaster Community Arts) mission is to create art with people in Doncaster to improve life, learning and health.
darts (Doncaster Community Arts) are a team of artists, makers, musicians, performers and support staff who collaborate to design and deliver creative programmes, which inspire learning, build good emotional health and strengthen professional practice.
The programme is for people of all ages who live, work or learn in Doncaster. Their home, The Point, is a friendly and welcoming place, which is open to all to make and share art, and carry this ethos wherever they go.
Doncaster Music Education Hub is a collection of partners lead by Doncaster Music Service and darts. Their ambition is to provide every child in Doncaster the opportunity to sing, learn a musical instrument, and perform as an ensemble.