Belfast Telegraph

North Belfast schoolkids form cross-community choir at St Anne's Cathedral

By Ali Gordon

Talented schoolkids from north Belfast have joined forces to form cross-community choirs for a special event in St Anne’s Cathedral.

Around 100 children from Edenbrooke, Cliftonville Integrated and Sacred Heart primary schools will sing in front of family and friends at a service next Sunday.

“The cathedral wanted to do an outreach programme so we looked at other models in place across the United Kingdom and worked out how we could adapt it to Belfast,” said Catherine Harper, who is head of vocal tuition at the iconic Belfast cathedral.

“We wanted a totally cross-community choir and we felt that the cathedral was somewhere for everyone, regardless of religion, school or background.”

Catherine has been visiting the three schools for almost two years and has reported a marked improvement in confidence, behaviour and social interaction.

Joined by master of choristers, David Stevens, and his assistant, Terese Woodfield, the team from Saint Anne’s pick the children up from school in buses and take them to the cathedral where they enjoy snacks, do their homework and then sing.

“It was important that the schools were close together geographically so that not only was it easy for me to go between the schools, but also so that if the children were close together they could work together,” said Catherine.

“The children all get on really well and the interesting thing is that once they start to sing, they forget what school they’re from and any differences and that’s what it’s all about. It’s lovely to see children just lose their inhibitions and enjoy themselves.

“From these children’s perspectives, they carry the positivity from the choir over into all aspects of their lives and I hope that translates into their school work too and they feel like they can achieve.”

Among the songs they will perform are: Food, Glorious Food from Oliver, I Closed my Eyes from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Grandfather Clock by Dunhill.

Everyone is very welcome to attend this concert which begins at 3.30pm on Sunday June 7. Admission is free.

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