10th Anniversary Outreach Concert in Christ Church Cathedral

Posted on 4th Jul, 2017

Six primary schools from across Oxfordshire joined pupils from Christ Church Cathedral School and the Cathedral Choristers for the 10th anniversary Outreach concert in the Cathedral on Monday, 26th June.

A record number of people attended this year’s concert, which celebrated the fact that more than 50 local schools have been involved in the project over the past decade. The children performed two pieces of music written by Composer John Madden, a well-known local figure, especially for the occasion.

Dr Stephen Darlington, Director of Music at Christ Church, said: “When we first started this project 10 years ago, we could not have imagined the huge number of children who have since been involved.” He praised the way in which the children sang “with enthusiasm and skill” under the expert direction of Sophie Biddell, Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral School, and Sarah Chitty, Choral Animateur for Oxfordshire Country Music Service. “The large audience of parents witnessed an inspiring concert in the beautiful surroundings of Christ Church Cathedral: a fitting way to celebrate our 10th anniversary,” he said.

The Outreach project is a joint venture between the Oxfordshire County Music Service and Christ Church Cathedral School. It is funded by Christ Church Cathedral School and aims to encourage more singing and instrument playing in primary schools and provides training for music teachers.

The schools involved this year were Appleton, North Hinksey, New Hinksey, West Oxford, St Francis, and Botley, along with Christ Church Cathedral School. After the concert, James Simpson, nine, from St Francis CE Primary School, said: “This has made me want to do more singing. After singing I feel a bit more playful.” Lauren Stannard, eight, also from St Francis, enjoyed singing “Goodnight”. “I liked it when it went really high and really low,” she said. Fellow classmate Divyaansh Goswami, eight, felt moved by the “echoing voices” in the Cathedral.

Richard Murray, Headmaster of Christ Church Cathedral School, welcomed the children but added: “In a way, of course, I don’t need to welcome you at all because if you live in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Berkshire, this is your Cathedral. I hope you come here often and get to know this wonderful building.” Singing, he added, is “one of the best things you can do…I genuinely think that singing makes you a better person and, if you listen to music, the beauty resonates through you…I hope and pray that you will carry on singing with all your heart.”

The children were entertained by the organ solo, Hornpipe Humoresque, performed by Clive Driskill-Smith, Sub-Organist of Music at Christ Church Cathedral. Jon Cox, senior manager at Oxfordshire County Music Service, thanked him for demonstrating “what a wonderful, versatile instrument the organ can be.” The Choristers sang Röslein, Röslein, arranged by Howard Goodall, which included a solo sung by Form 8 Cathedral Chorister, Sanuda Kariyawasam, who is going to Eton with a Music Exhibition in September.

Mr Jonathan Crozier, Teaching Assistant at St Francis, felt the children gained confidence from singing together with the Outreach project. He also thought they benefited from finding out about Christ Church and the Cathedral. “It’s important if you live in Oxford to know what you have,” he said.