Gallery: Britten’s legacy inspires young singers

Pupils from schools around Suffolk take part in the Friday Afternoons Big Sing to mark Benjamin Brit

Pupils from schools around Suffolk take part in the Friday Afternoons Big Sing to mark Benjamin Britten's 101st birthday at Snape Maltings. - Credit: Su Anderson

Youngsters from all over Suffolk have lifted their voices to join in a celebration inspired by the county’s best-known composer. Schoolchildren went along to the Snape Maltings Concert Hall to join an international mass singing participation event, celebrating the legacy of Benjamin Britten’s music.

Britten’s 12 songs, called Friday Afternoons, were revived last year for the celebrations of the centenary of his birth, and formed the base for a worldwide sing featuring 67,000 young people across the globe, from New Zealand to America.

The aim was to engage schoolchildren in singing, and now Aldeburgh Music is carrying on the project each year, working to get even more youngsters and schools involved with singing and new music.

The concern has been that music has become a dwindling part of the school curriculum

A website has been created with the resources to enable schools to learn the songs ready to take part.

Last year, 650 children from 19 schools attended the Big Sing day at Snape, and this time 800 from 26 schools took part.

Shoël Stadlen, head of communications for Aldeburgh Music, said: “It was an amazing day and the energy was incredible.”

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The pupils sang a new set of songs commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, by nine composers – Sally Beamish, Jon Boden, Gwyneth Herbert, Nico Muhly, Rachel Portman, Talvin Singh, The Unthanks, John Woolrich and Jason Yarde – whose influences range from classical and folk to jazz and traditional Indian music, chosing a traditional folk song on which to base a new song.

Making up the set of 12 songs was a piece by the winner of last year’s songwriting competition, Zoe Dixon, 14, whose Orford Lighthouse commemorates a Suffolk landmark.

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