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Friday Afternoons

We were so excited to be chosen as one of the ten choirs to record these new songs by composer Russell Hepplewhite with texts by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.

Cannot wait to watch the live stream tomorrow!

YouTube Channel: Britten Pears Arts


@brittenpearsarts @russhepplewhite

From the Britten Pears Arts press release:

EVERYTHING is a cycle of 12 songs about...well, pretty much everything! The elements, human discovery, invention, movement, language, atoms and cells all feature. These songs are designed to fire up the imaginations of infant and primary school children with a healthy dose of fun, humour, playfulness, and heart.

Each of the ten songs that have not yet been heard will be performed by ten choirs who were selected after entering an open call in December last year and hail from across the UK. Water will be performed by Essex based Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs.

The British composer Benjamin Britten was the first president of the choir until his death in 1976; this presidency moved to Sir Peter Pears after Britten’s death. The Southend Choirs have had a close association with the Britten Pears Arts Organisation for many years and on the centenary of Britten’s birth in 2013 they performed Britten’s children’s opera Noye’s Fludde, with performances across Essex and in London.

Roger Humphrey is Musical Director of the Southend Boys’ and Girls' Choirs, and Southend Boys' Choir; he commented, ‘We are all so excited to be premiering “Water” by Russell Hepplewhite for Britten Pears Arts’ Friday Afternoons. It is such an honour to have been selected and we have been enjoying learning the piece so much. We can’t wait to share our performance on 14 May.’

Britten Pears Arts’ Friday Afternoons mission is for every young person to have access to high quality music through using their voice. The songs are available online for young people around the world to sing, adding to the Friday Afternoons Song Bank.

Friday Afternoons was originally conceived as the culmination of the worldwide 2013 Britten centenary celebrations, taking its name from the set of simple songs the composer wrote for his brother’s school to sing every Friday. Since then a new collection of songs and additional resources has been made available annually, with Friday Afternoons projects being run in schools all around the UK and across the world.

Friday Afternoons was relaunched in 2019 as a direct response to evaluation carried out in 2018 and includes new online resources featuring curriculum-based teaching materials, support videos aimed at skills development, and case studies of national projects to showcase the breadth of the project and encourage deeper engagement

Friday Afternoons has expanded its scope as part of its relaunch to develop the skills of teachers to confidently lead singing in the classroom, and to encourage young people to connect with contemporary classical repertoire creating challenging and exciting music making experiences for all.

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