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School chlidren singing on a theatre stage

A St Chad’s College music outreach project unlocked the potential of Ƶappschoolchildren who staged an unforgettable performance of Captain Noah to a packed theatre audience.

The project was led by third year music student Phoebe Halpern and involved talented student musicians and singers from St Chad’s College.

It also included performances by the ƵappCathedral Young Singers, ƵappJohnston School and pupils from St Hild’s Primary School in Gilesgate, Durham.

Beyond imagination

In the year leading up to the show, the schoolchildren learned the biblical story of Noah and participated in weekly music workshops led by Phoebe.

These sessions focused on following a conductor, memorising songs and harmonies by ear, and strengthening performance skills.

All the hard work paid off as the children put on a show-stopping performance to an audience of over 300 people at Durham’s Gala Theatre in May.

Alison Luke, Deputy Headteacher and Inclusion Leader at St Hild’s Primary School said: “Being able to perform on the Gala Theatre stage surrounded by amazing musicians is not something most of our children could ever have imagined doing.

“Our children - and staff - had an amazing afternoon and the feedback from our parents and families was brilliant.”

Confidence boosting

School children singing on a theatre stagePhoebe said it was ‘incredibly rewarding’ to witness the transformation of the children, some of whom were initially too shy to speak in front of their class yet ended up confidently performing onstage for hundreds of people.

Phoebe said: “This experience taught me the incredible potential of young people when they have someone who genuinely believes in them, and they’re given space to express themselves without judgment.

“Regardless of their background or experience, every young voice deserves to be showcased and celebrated with equal value.

“Taking my final bow, alongside over 70 beaming singers from across the county, many of whom had never been to a theatre or stood on a stage before, was the highlight of my time at Ƶapp.”

Passionate about inclusion

This project is just one example of St Chad’s extensive work to widen access and encourage participation in higher education.

The college’s motto non vestra sed vos - not what you have but who you are – reflects its ethos of respecting everyone, no matter their background.

By the end of this year, St Chad’s will have welcomed over 600 children on visits to Ƶapphelp inspire them to be the best they can be and to think curiously and creatively about all possibilities for their future.

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