Engaging Children in Sacred Music

Free opportunities for children to learn Sacred Music in Nottinghamshire this Autumn.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Free opportunities for children to learn Sacred Music in Nottinghamshire this Autumn.

As part of his role as our Diocesan Director of Music, Greg Treloar is establishing and growing children’s choirs within the diocese. The choirs give children aged 7-14, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to access the Church’s rich tradition of Sacred music. Initially based in the Cathedral, the Girls and Boys programme is now expanding to a second location at St Philip Neri Parish in Mansfield. The choirs are FREE to join and you can register your child for this new academic year, here: https://www.nottinghamcathedralmusic.com/  

The exciting development and expansion of these choirs is all part of the much bigger programme in the diocese called ‘The Nottingham Schools Singing Project’. Thanks to a generous grant from the Hamish Ogston Foundation and the National Schools Singing Project, last September the Diocese was able to launch a bespoke music programme in some of our schools. The programme seeks to teach a music curriculum in schools with a faith-based focus, using sacred music from the riches of our Catholic faith as one of the primary tools in teaching music. It provides schools with the opportunity to have their music curriculum covered by experienced and trained professionals who also run regional choirs which enable children to have further access to musical education.  

In its first year, Greg Treloar worked with over 400 children in 7 schools across the Nottingham area. In addition to this, children from these schools and this area were invited to be part of the Girls’ and Boys’ Choirs at the Cathedral. With the recruitment of an additional choral director this Summer, Mr Chris Davis, the programme will expand this academic year to include an additional 7 schools in the Mansfield area of Nottinghamshire. Another children’s choir will also be set up in the parish of St Philip Neri, Mansfield to provide more local opportunities for  children to engage in the Catholic Church’s beautiful sacred music traditions. The hope is that these programmes will cover every part of the diocese in the years to come.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs at St Barnabas Cathedral and St Philip’s Mansfield are open to all children aged 7-14 and are completely FREE. You can find out more and register your child(ren), here: https://www.nottinghamcathedralmusic.com/  

We took some time to speak with Greg Treloar about his work with the Girls’ and Boys’ Choirs and we hope some of his reflections might encourage you to get your children involved in this fantastic opportunity in our diocese.

Greg, tell us what have you enjoyed about this last year working with the Girls and Boys Choirs at the Cathedral?

I have loved leading these choirs because the children get so much enjoyment from singing. It has been a real privilege to be able to teach music and singing to all the children in the choirs, but especially those children who might struggle to access such opportunities. It is hard work, starting from scratch with many of them, but it is such a great feeling when you then hear them singing so well and with great confidence. It was a particular highlight to have them sing at the sell-out concert we hosted at the Cathedral for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Various civic dignitaries and attendees commented on the children being the stars of the concert and I was very proud of them!  

How have you seen the children grow this last year and what benefits does being part of the choir have for them?  

It is great to see the children grow in confidence and friendship over the course of the last year. It is great to see them develop musically and vocally; they can pick up much more complex pieces a lot faster now. They have a great time together and enjoy meeting new people, learning new skills, learning new music and getting involved in the exciting opportunities that being part of a choir opens up for them, such as singing at the Queen’s Jubilee concert to a packed-out Cathedral.

What are your hopes for the Girls and Boys Choirs over the next year?  

With the ongoing development of the Nottingham choirs and the launch of the Mansfield hub, I hope that we can continue to grow and further establish these choirs and encourage more children to get involved and access this wonderful opportunity. I would like to see the Children’s Choirs perform at more of the major Diocesan celebrations and Masses, as well as take them to Lourdes for the 2023 Diocesan Pilgrimage. Longer term, I would like to see these programmes expanded to cover more of the diocese and continue to reach even more children and pupils. I would also like to develop Youth Choirs so that there are progression routes as our children grow and seek to develop their talents further.

What are you most proud of in this work with the children’s choirs and the Singing Project?

It makes me proud that we are able to give so many children across the City, County and hopefully in time the Diocese, access to music and new skills, regardless of their background. It is also exciting to be able to use music as a means of evangelisation, reaching out to children and families

What would you say to children and parents thinking of getting involved?

To children I say give it a go, it’s so much fun and you will really enjoy it. To parents and carers, it’s a space for your children to grow in new skills, to grow in confidence and to grow in musical ability. And these are skills that will serve them well for life, not just the time they spend with us in our choirs. It is FREE and an opportunity not to be missed!

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