The pint-sized ‘singing ambassadors’ leading their parents in song

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Eight-year-old Emily Grills was looking forward to turning singing teacher this month, drilling her parents on the songs she has been singing with her children’s choir in Bristol.

“Lockdown has been lonely,” she said. “But singing makes me happy and so teaching my parents to sing means we can do it together even when it’s not my lesson time – although my mummy doesn’t sing very well yet.”

Encouraging even their youngest members, such as Emily, to become “singing ambassadors” who help plan and lead lessons, is just one of the new and positive ways that the pandemic has forced Bristol Beacon choir to innovate.

Bristol Beacon is one of the biggest children’s choirs in the UK, engaging with 5,000 children across the city every year. Instead of responding to lockdown by simply replicating live rehearsals online, David Ogden, the head of the Choral Centre at Bristol Beacon, said the choir has treated the crisis as the positive inspiration for a whole new future direction.

“Our plan is to use the necessity for innovation due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic as a springboard for training in the future,” he said.

“The model of singing ambassadors has been developed so that they can teach songs to younger singers in the future, training them to have the confidence as they progress through the choir to become the ‘singing workshop leaders’ of the future in schools and in choirs,” said Ogden…

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