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Inaugural Concerts In Shropshire For School Choirs Across The Country Branded A Huge Success

Published by Ellesmere College on Friday 13th of October 2023

The Voices of Woodard Weekend was held in Shropshire for the first time earlier this month (OCT, 6-8) and organisers said it was hugely beneficial for all involved. The event saw 120 students from six different schools in the Woodard Corporation team up at Ellesmere College and put on two performances. Tony Coupe, Director of Music at Ellesmere College, said: "As soon as we started our rehearsals, the new choir found their feet quickly, they produced some wonderful sounds and showed great team skills.

 "Our aim was to immerse students in the music associated with the services of Evensong and Eucharist, allow them to build on their vocal skills and have the opportunity to get to know one another. "We took on a number of challenges over the weekend, learning and performing a number of pieces in a short period of time, but each and every person involved rose to the challenge and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. "The staff and students were unanimous in their enjoyment of the weekend which is both a testament to the way in which Ellesmere College students and staff welcomed the visiting schools and the resilience and responsive approach from our guests. A huge thank you to the parents for their support in helping the students to attend and in joining us for the services. 

Students from Sir Robert Woodard Academy in West Sussex, Worksop College in Nottinghamshire, Crompton House C of E School in Oldham, Queen Mary's School in North Yorkshire and The Peterborough School joined together to form a new choir and perform at Shrewsbury Abbey and St Oswald's Chapel at Ellesmere College.

 The choir sang music including Mozart Ave Verum, The Heavens are Telling, Hail Holy Queen from Sister Act and the Stanford in Bb.

 The Evensong at Shrewsbury Abbey featured readings by Ellesmere College Headmaster Brendan Wignall and the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mandy Thorn. The sermon was delivered by Ellesmere College Chaplain Phillip Gration and the service at St Oswald's Chapel was led by the Senior Provost, Justin White.

The students also experienced a barbecue and ceilidh at The Quinta, Gobowen. "We were aiming for an educational and engaging weekend, and it was exactly that. It was such a huge success that we hope that Voices of Woodard will mark the start of an increased musical collaboration with other schools in the Woodard group." 

 There are 37 Woodard schools across the UK and Sri Lanka and Kenya. They are a combination of academies, independent and state-maintained schools.

 The Woodard Corporation is a charity which aims to provide high quality education in an actively Christian school environment for all.

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