The final concert for the International Voices project
‘Lift your banners high, let our friendship never end’ were the words sung by 160 children at the final International Voices concert last night (24 February). And indeed banners were lifted high- beautiful silk flags made by the children, and waved to the accompaniment of voices, African drums, and Cornish music to a rapt audience at St Petroc’s Church.
This concert was the culmination of months of hard work, and an exciting partnership between schools in Cornwall and schools in Kenya. Run by Sing Up and Kernow Education Arts Partnership, the International Voices project draws on the inspiration of the Olympics and the composers and artists working with Youth Music Voices, the British Council’s international links and existing Connecting Classrooms project.
Young singers from Boscastle Primary school
The Cornish cluster, led by Bodmin College, consisted of St Petroc’s, Boscastle, St Dennis, Trevisker and Threemilestone primary schools. During the project the schools hosted a visit back in November from a musician, teacher and student from Nairobi, created African drum rhythms with Amanda Pickering, art work inspired by the Cornish Kenyan links with Sarah Hunkin, and most importantly learnt about Kenyan culture and Cornish culture through song.
Hilary & Neil from Dalla accompanied the performance
The programme for the final concert was varied including a new version of the traditional Kenyan welcoming song, ‘Jambo’ to which Cornish musicians, ‘Dalla’ added a second melody complete with Cornish lyrics creating, ‘Jambo Kernow’. The now famous song, ‘Cousin Jack’ by Steve Knightly of Show of Hands was led by Bodmin College’s Young Sing Leaders, with enthusiastic chorus from the massed primary school choir, and the audience. Tilly Tomkins, a student from Bodmin College directed the choir for ‘Sunset’ by Nitin Sawney, a song composed especially for the International Voices project. Films and images of the project as a whole completed the evening.
Angela Renshaw, the Area Leader for Sing Up in Cornwall who made this work happen said, ‘What we have taken away most from this project is new friends, both in Cornwall and in Kenya. These schools would not normally have worked together as a cluster, being spread across Cornwall, and the relationships that have been created are long lasting. The quality of singing from the children has improved dramatically, with a glorious quality of sound at last night’s performance.’
Sing Up’s aim is to ensure that there is singing at the heart of every primary school, and one of the best ways to do this is to give teachers the skills and confidence to lead singing. Angela said, ‘This has been a journey of friendship and professional development. Every teacher directed a song last night, something that was not lost on our visitors from Sing Up in London.’
Flags created by the schools with artist Sarah Hunkin
This phase of Sing Up comes to an end at the end of March, but don’t worry, we’ve got something up our sleeves! Keep your eye on the Sing Up website www.singup.org for national development and the KEAP website www.keap.org.uk for our exciting local programme.