‘Kids United’

Eleven of Bath’s secondary schools have united to create a unique choir of young people who are creating and performing their own songs for the forthcoming Bath Festival.

The choir, Schools Voices, is made up of 110 young people. They have been creating and rehearsing with Bath Philharmonia’s Creative Learning team of musicians and singers to put on two live performances, at St Swithin’s Church, Walcot, on Friday 13 May as part of Party in the City, and on Thursday 19 May at The Forum as part of the Concert for the People of Bath.

The Schools Voices project was set up as a collaboration of Bath Festivals’ Creative Learning programme, teachers from both State and independent schools in Bath and North East Somerset and the Creative Learning team at Bath Philharmonia. The 11 schools taking part are: Oldfield School, Kingswood School, St Gregory’s Catholic College, Three Ways School, King Edward’s School, Monkton Combe School, St Mark’s School, Ralph Allen School, Royal High School, Hayesfield School and Beechen Cliff School.

The project is particularly special because young people have undergone two challenging years during the pandemic when they were largely unable to mix widely with others, and because Schools Voices has enabled them to write their own heart-felt songs which reflect their shared experience. One of the songs the choir performs is called Thank You. It was written by students from Ralph Allen, King Edward’s and Hayesfield Schools and includes the line ‘thank you for helping me through’. It is dedicated to the parents, teachers, friends and others who helped them during the challenges of lockdown.

Jason Thornton, music director of Bath Philharmonia, worked with music leaders Dylan Lindo Jones, Samantha Lindo and Caitlyn Newble to help the young singers achieve their creative goals. He said: “Schools Voices has been good for the kids to create their own pieces, good for the schools to be able to work together and good for the community to be able to get back into the concert halls again!”

Hazel Plowman, head of Creative Learning at Bath Festivals, has worked on the project since its inception, said: “It’s been an absolute joy to work on the Schools Voices project, to bring together young people from across Bath to share their ideas, collaborate and be creative. Bath Philharmonia’s Creative Learning Team have done an amazing job at supporting the young people to create four uplifting and powerful songs.

“It’s so important after the challenging times that these young people have faced that they have these opportunities to enjoy and express themselves. Writing music and singing together is a perfect way to do that.”

Schools Voices has also been supported by The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust and Bath Recreation.

Here’s what some of the Schools Voices singers said:

  • “It’s been very interactive”
  • “I enjoyed collaborating to create a great piece of music”
  • “It’s been a really fun experience!” – (Kingswood boys)
  • “We’re proud of the piece we made” – (Kingswood girls)
  • “it’s been fun to interact with the other schools” – (Monkton Combe  boys)
  • “I enjoyed seeing the piece change from beginning to end” 
  • “it’s been a lot of fun, Jason is a very funny guy” – (Beechen Cliff boys)

Party in the City is an evening of free music on Friday 13 May, organised by The Bath Festival and taking place in more than 30 city-centre venues. To find out who is playing where, pick up a Party in the City leaflet which lists all the venues, acts and times, or download the Pixie app and use your phone to help you decide where you want to be for Party in the City. Pixie is simple to use and this year, can also help you plan your evening at Party in the City, as well as book tickets for other festival events.

The Festival Hub in Queen Square is a great place to go over the weekend of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May. Between 11am and 3pm on both days families can join in with hands-on activities, get creative with clay and wildflowers, taking inspiration from gardens and nature. On Sunday, from 11am until 2pm little ones will be entertained with music-making and storytelling with Polly Tisdall.

Highlights of the rest of The Bath Festival include: iconic British music group Public Service Broadcasting, comedians Phil Wang Rachel Parris, Isy Suttie and Marcus Brigstocke, writers Ali Smith, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Marian Keyes, US pianist Jeremy Denk, the Bath Festival Orchestra, folk singer Karine Polwart, saxophonist Jess Gillam, journalists and broadcasters Martin Bell and Justin Webb, campaigners George Monbiot, Adam Rutherford and David Olusoga. 

How to get your tickets

Look out for the QR code on festival brochures and adverts, then scan to find out what you want to see and book instantly via Pixie, where you can earn money back from each transaction. Or visit the website: https://bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/whats-on/

Or call Bath Box Office: 01225 463362.