Following the success of previous projects which have been running since 2013, the Henley Educational Trust (HET) teamed up with professional a cappella singers from Voces Cantabiles Music (VCM).
For 2017, HET offered a series of vocal workshops to Year 4 children in Henley state primary schools, giving them the opportunity to perform in front of an audience and to work alongside other schools. The primary schools that participated in this project were Sacred Heart, Valley Road, Badgemore and Trinity. The series of workshops led to two performances on Wednesday 22 November at the Christ Church Centre.
The project was led once again by Alex Haigh, who grew up and went to school in the Henley area, and Emily, both of whom are members of the stunning vocal quintet, Apollo5.
Apollo5 is a professional group with a wide repertoire of jazz, pop and classical a cappella which performs in the UK and internationally. This group (www.apollo5.co.uk) is part of the VCM Foundation, and it was this group that performed alongside and together with the Henley children in the two concerts.
Apollo5 opened the Christ Church concert programme with Wade in the Water and Make You Feel My Love which was followed by Sacred Heart with Swinging Along. Valley Road sang When You Believe; Badgemore sang Go Your Own Way and Trinity completed the individual singing programme with Shake It Off. All the schools and Apollo5 combined as a group at the end of the concert to sing Vi ricorda, o boschi ambrosi and Mambo Swing.
Gary Shacklady, Year 4 Teacher at Valley Road, said “This was my first year with the project and I would certainly like to be involved again next year. Our children (and their parents) loved the show. Children who would not have spoken in front of an audience were given the chance to sing to a full church – twice! Alex and Emily taught the children all about rhythm and singing techniques, offering them a wide range of musical styles in the process. It is always great to work with experts and with the other Henley schools, especially when that collaboration brings such enjoyment. It was a wonderful event and we extend huge thanks to the HET for enabling us to take part in it.”
The origins of the Henley Educational Trust go back to 1604. Since this time, HET has existed to further educational possibilities within the town of Henley-on-Thames and the parishes of Bix, Rotherfield Greys and Remenham. The state schools in Henley have had a long association with Henley Educational Trust, benefiting in main from the issue of annual grants to each school. In addition, the Trust supports individual pupils in financial need, organisations and has wide discretion to promote educational purposes. The Trust is keen to reach out to those young people of the Henley area who may not be able to access educational possibilities due to financial constraints. Find an application form at: www.henleyeducationaltrust.com