Elmbridge School Choirs

The Elmbridge School Choirs Festival (ESCF) returned to ACS Cobham International School last Thursday and Friday for a stellar performance based on ‘The Elements’, a subject which is part of the national school curriculum.

The schools taking part in the festival this year were:

  • Bell Farm Primary School

  • Burhill School

  • Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School

  • Chandlers Field School

  • Claygate Primary School

  • Cobham Free School

  • Cranmere School

  • Royal Kent Oxshott School

  • St. James School Weybridge

  • Walton Oak School

ESCF, now in its second year, is the brainchild of Musical Director Jonathan Kilhams, working in partnership with The RC Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Borough Council.  Jonathan was keen to have a festival for primary schools from across the Borough that gets children singing while linking to a subject they are studying at school. As well as bringing pupils together to perform as ‘one choir’, Jonathan’s aim was to give schools the opportunity to showcase their individual talent by offering them a chance to have their ‘moment’ in the spotlight.

Undoubtedly, Jonathan’s hopes have been fulfilled. The schools have been working extremely hard over the past few months learning the five collaborative pieces as well as their own songs inspired by the Festival’s theme and the result was a truly spectacular display of young talent. The audience was treated to music made famous by a diverse number of singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Coldplay and many more. The children’s rendition of these popular songs was delightful and captivated the spectators.

Of course, Jonathan Kilhams who is choir master at ‘Walton Voices’ and the ‘Weybridge Male Voice Choir’ is no stranger of stage excellence himself. He has an impressive singing record in his own right. He has spent most of this career teaching singing to primary school children and adults. When he is not conducting choirs, he's often singing in them and enjoys a successful solo career as well. He has performed in prestigious venues such as The Barbican Centre, Royal Festival Hall, and The Royal Albert Hall. Jonathan is a member of the cutting-edge choir, Lumina and sings regularly with the National Portrait Choir.

Councillor Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said, “Being part of a choir is a wonderful experience for children. It gives them joy, confidence, and the opportunity to form friendships while having fun learning lifelong skills. There are also many physical and psychological benefits attached to singing. I hope that following their performance at the Elmbridge School Choirs Festival, they will join their local choirs to take this wonderful experience further.”

Councillor Barry Cheyne, Chairman of The R C Sherriff Trust, said, “The ESCF is exactly the type of initiative that the RC Sherriff Trust has been supporting for 25 years. It not only offers schools across the Borough a wonderful opportunity to showcase their pupils but it underlines the importance of the arts in developing confidence and self-esteem in young people.  Congratulations to everyone who helped make this fantastic Festival the success it was.” 

For further information about local choirs, please visit our leisure and culture webpages, email arts@elmbridge.gov.uk or call 01372 474 584.

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