27 February 2017
The Elmbridge School Choirs Festival gave its first performance at ACS Cobham International School last Friday (24 February).
This new initiative supported by the R.C. Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Borough Council brought together six local schools: Bell Farm, Burhill and Cardinal Newman (Hersham), St. Charles Borromeo and St. James (Weybridge) and Cobham Free School to create a choir of over 200 voices. This festival, which will hopefully become an annual event, is aimed at promoting choirs within schools and showcasing their talent through songs linking to curriculum topics. This year’s chosen theme was ‘Stars and Space’, based on a year 5 topic which proved popular with the children inspired by Tim Peake’s recent adventure.
The festival choir was conducted by Jonathan Kilhams who has extensive experience as a choir master at ‘Walton Voices’ and the ‘Weybridge Male Voice Choir’. Jonathan has had an impressive 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, “We are fortunate to have many choirs in Elmbridge and we want to give them as much support as possible. Children should be encouraged to sing from a very early age. It gives them much joy and fulfilment and there are many physical and psychological benefits attached to it. It is also important for established and new choirs to encourage recruits to join and share this wonderful experience.”
Councillor Tannia Shipley, Mayor of Elmbridge, and Vice-Chairman of the R C Sherriff, said, “Local schools gave a wonderful performance at the Elmbridge School Choirs Festival. It was fantastic to see children from different schools around the borough singing in unison with such passion and dedication under the direction of Jonathan Kilhams. Thank you very much to ACS Cobham International School for opening its doors to the first Elmbridge School Choirs Festival. It was a great success and we want to make it an annual event. Hopefully, many other schools will be inspired to join in next year to create a bigger ensemble with an even wider repertoire.”
For further information about local choirs, please see the leisure and culture page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01372 474 584.