SLIDESHOW: Young voices mark 70 years of Lancaster district’s singing festival

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More than 1,300 local schoolchildren came together to perform four concerts at the Ashton Hall to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Lancaster and District Schools’ Singing Festival.

It saw children between the age of five and 11 from 27 different primary schools from Lancaster, Morecambe and the surrounding districts singing newly composed pieces, as well as pop songs and songs from around the world.
In addition to the wonderful singing, the festival was able to showcase the talents of three talented young musicians: David Whyatt on saxophone, Charlotte Burrows on Trombone and Joel McAllister on clarinet.
The event was run by the festival organising committee, supported by More Music for the Lancashire Music Hub.
The children had all learnt their parts in school with help from their teachers and the project’s leaders.
The festival started 70 years ago. Originally for secondary schools,it switched to primary schools 27 years ago, to raise participation in singing in primary schools. It is led by Debbie Pilkington, chair of the organising Committee, who conducted the Key Stage 1 concerts with the support of Emma Williams, singing leader for the Lancashire Music Hub, who conducted the Key Stage 2 concerts.
Debbie Pilkington said: “It is great to be able to celebrate the longevity of this festival which has helped to enhance the lives of thousands of local children over the years.
“In recent years, the involvement of Lancashire Music Hub and More Music have enabled the festival’s development to be increasingly more current whilst still retaining its core values.”
“The themes were chosen this year to accentuate how important music is to our well-being and we feel sure that the performers and audience alike left with a real sense of this. “
Emma Williams said: “It is an utter joy to be involved with Lancaster and District School Singing Festival; getting to work with so many different primary schools on such a brilliant variety of music is always exciting and I have no doubt that the children involved leave with memories they will never forget.
“It’s particularly special to think that with LDSSF being in its 70th year, some families have been coming for 3 generations. A true musical legacy!
Paul Bowden, headteacher at Slyne-with-Hest St Luke’s CE Primary School and member of the organising committee, said: “It has been wonderful again, in this 70th year of the festival, to see children from a wide range of schools across our district singing enthusiastically and enjoying the whole experience that this annual event offers.
“The setting of the Ashton Hall coupled with performing with a band of live musicians provides an experience that they will hopefully remember for many years to come.”
Erin Hales, a teacher at Poulton-le-Sands CE Primary School, said: “We have participated in the music festival for quite a number of years now and we thoroughly enjoy it every year.
“It has been so lovely to see the positive changes take place such as the involvement of More Music and the fabulous Emma Williams.
“I have always taken my KS2 choir and they absolutely love it each year. They always look forward to it and really enjoy learning new songs and actions too!
“It has been so nice to see lots more schools get involved recently as the children really benefit from joining other schools and getting the experience of singing with lots of other children in a big concert. It really does sound amazing when they all get together to sing.”
Glyn Gibbons, a teacher at North Road Community Primary School, Carnforth, said: “The festival is such a wonderfully creative way of uniting all the children, across the borough, through the joy of song.
“Over the years, I’ve seen the confidence in performing and the appreciation of music, developed brilliantly in so many children, who have taken part in this amazing event. Here’s to another 70 years!”

Lancaster & District Schools Singing Festival.

Lancaster & District Schools Singing Festival.