Some of the younger members of Farnham Youth Choir have been involved in producing the first batch of songs for a new National Song Book. This has resulted from the Government’s initiative in pledging £10m to establish a National Singing Programme for all primary schools in England, and the National Song Book (which will eventually include over 300 songs) will be available on the web to everyone.
Key players in putting this all into practice are Faber Music Ltd, the Sage Gateshead, Abbott Meads Vickers and Youth Music, with TV personality Howard Goodall providing the personal focus. Kathryn Knight, Faber’s Publishing Director, encapsulated the challenge this way. “We knew that the success of the song resource would
rely on and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of ownership of the songs by the widest community. Ownership not only by the users of the songs - the children, the schools, the parents - but also those in the community (the songwriters and publishers) who had already created excellent materials for these purposes.”
The FYC members had been taught the seven songs in just two special ninety minute rehearsals with their musical director, ahead of the recording session in Guildford. The chosen songs covered a wide range of styles: a fun-song about football, a song to teach children to count in French, a jokey warm-up, songs about computers, pirates and a spooky roller-coaster, and a traditional Bengali song (Under the lemon tree).
David Victor-Smith (who was conducting the young singers throughout the six hour recording session) enthused about the project. “For a young child, being able to sing is a fundamental skill, yet the activity of singing has been the ‘poor relation’ in music education for far too long. I’m therefore delighted to be able to support this important venture”.
four factors: diversity, integrity, quality