Powerful performance brings Perse and primary pupils together

Scores of singers from The Perse and local primary schools joined forces in a powerful performance of Carmina Burana.

The Upper and Prep choirs linked up with Year 5 groups from St Alban’s Catholic Primary School, Cambridge, and The Bellbird Primary School in Sawston for the O Fortuna concert at Saffron Hall.

Combined with the might of a full orchestra, a massive and moving sound was created by around 250 singers performing Orff’s classic work.

The concert was the result of a Perse community outreach project which saw Upper Sixth students mentor pupils from St Alban’s and The Bellbird in music, as part of their enrichment sessions.

Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield was thrilled with how the choirs had risen to the occasion and the reaction from the packed audience.

He said: “Whether it was Year 5 pupils just getting into music or professional musicians, every knew the common purpose of what they were working towards and there was a huge amount of support from everyone.”

The class was sitting behind the timpani drums which created an atmosphere and an energy that filled us with excitement and joy. It was truly memorable, the whole thing will stay with me forever.

St Alban’s pupil

Mr Wingfield felt the response to the Carmina Burana project from St Alban’s and The Bellbird had been amazing.

“They were brilliant and really enthusiastic,” he said. “When you’re that age, the size, scale and bawdiness of Carmina Burana is really exciting. When you have the power to make music with 250 people and create something bigger than the sum of its parts, that can be immensely enabling, especially if you have people who aren’t so confident.

“Quite a lot of the children were inspired by the fact that these texts were nearly 1,000 years old and they were singing something from history.

“Our visits to the schools were partly based on games and workshops, so they were about having fun. It was our ambition even with pupils who might not take to singing first time to come away feeling exhilarated.”

The project has helped our children grow in confidence and express themselves. It has made them believe that they can take on difficult challenges and overcome them.

Terri Collins, The Bellbird School

Mr Wingfield believed it had also been a useful experience for the Upper Sixth mentors.

He said: “I’m keen to get our pupils to share their musicianship with people they don’t know, whether it’s in care homes, local churches or primary schools and to get an insight into what it’s like being on the other side of the classroom.

“It’s certainly something we want to do again, now we’ve had a chance to do something which has heavily involved our students working with primary school pupils.”

Bellbird teacher Terri Collins said taking part in O Fortuna had been a wonderful experience for her pupils.

She said: “Mr Wingfield immediately sparked an interest and excitement in our children with his boundless enthusiasm. The Sixth Form students were brilliant in their delivery of the warm-up and our children loved getting to know them.

“The project has helped our children grow in confidence and express themselves. It has made them believe that they can take on difficult challenges and overcome them.

“The concert itself was truly an incredible day and one that our children will remember forever.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Burrows, St Alban’s teacher, commented: “Our children thoroughly enjoyed the O Fortuna project. It was fantastic to see them grow in confidence and competence with their singing, and to see their sheer enjoyment of the music.

“We would like to thank Ben Wingfield and all the Sixth Formers who came and helped our Year 5 class for the performance with their inspiring musical leadership.”


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