Pupils get in tune with choral experts

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Pupils from Eccleshall’s Bishop Lonsdale Primary and St Michael’s First School in Stone, playing a singing warm-up game at Stafford Grammar School with expert tutor Naomi Berry. From left: Olivia Silvester (10), Lydia Goodfellow (10) (both Bishop Lonsdale) Eloise Rawsthorne-Durand (7), Joe Clayton (9) (both St Michael’s) and Oliver Chivers (11) (Bishop Lonsdale).

Three hundred and fifty pupils from 11 local schools became choristers for a day when they joined forces for a mammoth sing-along with professional musicians.

The youngsters, aged between seven and 11, embraced a repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs when they gathered at Stafford Grammar School for a community choral day led by four expert tutors.

Choirs from St Michael’s First School in Stone and Eccleshall’s Bishop Lonsdale met pupils from Yarnfield-based Springfields First and young singing enthusiasts from several schools across Stafford, Penkridge and Newcastle for the annual event, which has rocketed in popularity since it was launched seven years ago.

Among the VIP leaders was soprano, vocal coach and choral animateur Naomi Berry, a former graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire who put the pupils through their paces with some singing warm-up games before teaching them a pop ballad.

“During the workshops I was encouraging their singing awareness by getting them to be energetic in places but to counter that with a softer approach. I hope they will have enjoyed it and now feel that singing is a brilliant experience and something which can be a big part of their lives,” said Naomi.

Also in the VIP line-up were fellow soprano, vocal coach and professional singer Stephanie Lamplough and choral director and organist Ashley Mellor, while director of music and accompanist Francis Murton completed the quartet.