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March 1st, 2010 - Cathedral Choir School Launched
Cathedral Choir School Launched

Cathedral Choir School Launched



Cathedral Choir School Launched

Holy Rosary and St Anne's School in Chapeltown, Leeds is aiming to become the first state primary choir school in the country.  In the future, it would change its name to Leeds Cathedral Choir School, and there would be a new purpose built music block, and every child will learn to play an instrument.

On 26th February 2010, the project was launched at the school by Bishop Roche, with a visit by Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, and local MP Fabian Hamilton.

The BBC's Spencer Stokes reported that:
"There are 26 native languages spoken by children at Holy Rosary and St Anne's, but when it come to singing, its usually in Latin, a serious language for a school that's serious about music."

Speaking on BBC 1 News, Ed Balls voiced support for the plan:
"This would be a first in the whole country, but the church here in Leeds is saying that they want it, the whole school is up for being a choir school, every child is enjoying singing, and it would bring confidence and aspiration right here in the very centre of inner city Leeds. I think its a fantastic idea and I'm right behind it."

Choral Director, Sally Egan went on to explain the rationale for the choir school:
"It focuses you on listening and learning and you take that discipline, that structure with you into your maths lesson, into your english lesson and the confidence that you can do it, thats the other thing - you unlock something in a child that says there's no reason i can't sing beautifully and then they take that into everything else."

The aim of the project at the Holy Rosary and St Anne's School is to set up a centre of excellence because it has always been difficult to recruit Cathedral Choristers from the inner-city, with most coming from suburbs on the outskirts of Leeds. Director of Music Ben Saunders decided that if inner-city children were not going to come to him, then he was going to send a Choral Director to them, with the ultimate aim of creating a Cathedral Choir School for the 21st Century.

After a short meeting with the Bishop and his advisors Mr Balls was entertained with music and speeches from the young students. He then questioned them about music and what good they got from it. He was impressed with the answers he got promising that: ‘I will do everything I can to bring about your choir school'.

The story was also reported in the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post.



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