Music-lovers among the Great Yorkshire public have spoken – and have sung the praises of the Diocese of Leeds’ Schools Singing Programme in the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) annual music awards, helping it to win the Inspiration award.
For the first time the RPS had asked the public to nominate musicians who had inspired them during lockdown for one of their prestigious awards.
The Schools Singing Programme’s seven choral directors are usually based between Leeds Cathedral and Catholic schools across Yorkshire, but when the pandemic prevented them from teaching in person, they quickly launched lessons on YouTube.
From the safety of their own homes, the young singers have barely missed a beat, keeping engaged musically and socially, much to the relief of teachers and parents.
The singing sessions were structured to fulfil the needs of the school curriculum, but also involved the wider community. By recording their voices individually which their professional choral directors then edited together, the young people were also able to sing on BBC Radio 4. They also broadcast ‘[email protected]’, leading a Songs of Praise-style subtitled singalong for thousands of parishioners across Yorkshire to join in with.
The programme was so loved by the public that they nominated it to win one of the RPS’s coveted awards. In the run-up to the awards ceremony, held virtually from London’s Wigmore Hall, Schools Singing Programme director Thomas Leech had to keep the fact the team had won the Decca Classics-sponsored RPS Inspiration Award a secret from more than 4,500 excited children who take part each week.
The Royal Philharmonic Society celebrates the treasured role that classical music plays in people’s lives.