Children from across the diocese join our first ever Choral Festivals!

March 21, 2024

More than 300 children from 9 primary school  participating in the diocesan Schools Singing Programme (SSP) took part in a celebration of singing and sacred music at two venues last week: Cardinal Newman Catholic School Chapel in Hove and St Dunstan’s Catholic Church in Woking.

The diocesan Schools Singing Programme began in September 2023, offering outstanding choral singing tuition, music education and performance opportunities to state school primary pupils across the diocese. The Choral Festivals – the diocese’s first under the initiative - was the culmination of many weeks’ work delivered in person  by our two Choral Directors - Faye Eldret who works with schools in Sussex and Fraser Ellson who works with schools in Surrey.

A repertoire of liturgical music was rehearsed during the afternoon, with parents and carers invited to attend the main performance in the early evening. Speaking about the Choral Festivals, Julie Oldroyd, Director of the Diocesan Education Service, said:

“It was an absolute joy to have the children come together from different schools and hear the development of their liturgical repertoire. They sang a number of Lenten hymns, with a high standard of choral singing clearly developing after just two terms.”

The Schools Singing Programme aims to support schools’ existing National Curriculum music provision, aided and guided by a range of bespoke resources created specifically for singing provision in Catholic primary education. Speaking about the celebration in Hove, Faye Eldret (pictured above) said:

“It was a wonderful evening with beautiful singing filling the Cardinal Newman School Chapel. The Children worked really hard in rehearsals and all that hard work paid off - their singing on the night was captivating. It is a privilege to work with young singers and hear them create such glorious sound.”


Fraser Ellson (pictured below) led the Choral Festival at St Dunstan’s in Surrey and added:

“We had a thoroughly rewarding day. The children worked together exceptionally well and sang beautifully - I hope all those who attended enjoyed the music as much as I did, I think the evening will go down as an early career highlight!”


To find out more about the Schools Singing Programme click here and visit our dedicated SSP webpage. With thanks to Lily Glynn at Cardinal Newman in Hove for sharing her photographs with us.