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October 1st, 2012 - A New Choral Director in Huddersfield
A New Choral Director in Huddersfield



Newly appointed Choral Director for Huddersfield, Lucy Appleyard, writes about her first month in post:

"As I approached my first school of the term on a windy Monday morning in September I looked back on my time spent as a choral scholar at Leeds Cathedral. I remember how impressed I was by the dedication and enthusiasm of the Choral Directors and now five years later here I am as part of the team, working for of one of the largest children's choral singing programmes in the country.

After completing my studies at Leeds College of Music I went on to work professionally as an opera singer and freelance singing and drama teacher. I found that by far the most enjoyable part of my job was conducting and running choirs and I began to form a number of different children's choirs of my own. I was consequently delighted when I was successful in my application to join the inspirational team of choral directors working for the Diocese of Leeds. I started my new job this September and I've enjoyed every minute so far!

A large part of the job is delivering the Diocesan Schools' Singing Programme, where Choral Directors lead the development and training of choirs in regional clusters of primary and secondary schools. From the moment I walked into my first school I could see the benefits the programme delivers. All the groups I work with are so enthusiastic about singing and the support from the classroom teachers is fantastic. It has been great to see the range of children experiencing singing in schools, from a mixed Year 3 class of 30 to an all boys choir of over 60! I aim to cover a varied repertoire of songs, helping to instil a love of singing whilst teaching the class appropriate music for school and Diocesan events. In one half hour session we might cover a pop song, a round and a Taizé chant with plenty of fun singing games and activities thrown in. I encourage good singing technique by awarding a Posture Prize for each session and at the end of the lesson I select my Singing Stars! These are awarded to different students each week for excellent behaviour and attitude to learning. I find that children respond particularly well to a song if they can gain greater understanding of the words so I often discuss the meaning behind the text with the class. This can reveal some interesting thoughts; while covering Rule the World by Take That I asked each class to think about what they would do if they ruled the world? The answers ranged from ‘Live in a mansion made of chocolate' and ‘Give teachers homework' to ‘Make everyone equal' and ‘achieve world peace'.

Another central part of my job is holding the position of Director of Music at St Patrick's, Huddersfield where I run the Huddersfield Boys and Girls choirs and the adult choir (made up of choral scholars and volunteers). I have had such a warm welcome from all at St Patrick's. Father Ian and the whole team have made me feel incredibly at home and there is a fantastic support network of adult choristers and children's parents. I have numerous exiting plans for the future to build upon the great work done by my predecessor Keith Roberts. The Boys and Girls choirs have plenty of concerts and competitions lined up as well as their monthly commitment at St Patrick's and each choir started the term with a singing workshop to introduce new repertoire. It's certainly not all work for our choristers though; they also have a football tournament and a trip to Lazer Quest lined up this term as a reward for all their hard work.

I've been kept busy with a number of extracurricular activities too: attending an Association of British Choral Directors keep boys singing event, watching the Vienna Boys Choir at Leeds Town Hall, having organ lessons and of course the famous Choral Directors curry nights! I'm really looking forward to what the next few months have in store!"



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