Youth Choral Worcs in Worcester Cathedral performing Mass in Blue

Last weekend we were invited to a performance of Mass in Blue by Youth Choral Worcs in Worcester Cathedral.

This is a project set-up in 2010 to provide educational choral singing projects to young people in the county, particularly those who have limited opportunity to access this sort of experience.

It is open to any secondary school in Worcestershire and provides the opportunity to learn a major choral work with world class professionals and perform it in a major concert venue. It is the brainchild of Anne Renshaw who has a vision of the highest quality of music in the city being open for all.

Well, the energy, enthusiasm and top-notch performance this week is testament to the success of this project.

Christopher Whitehead and the Royal Grammar School (RGS) from the city were joined by other county schools, Cathedral Youth Choir and international students from the USA together with the project’s Music Director and Conductor Neil Ferris, the composer of Mass in Blue, Will Todd, at the piano with the Will Todd jazz ensemble and soprano soloist Lorna James.

It was an unforgettable performance. The concert was presented by the saxophonist Jess Gillam who performed with her trio as guest artist. What an inspiring role model she is.

The sad thing is that this is exactly the sort of thing that is being cut with a narrowing of the national curriculum and underfunding of the arts.

Anne was twice turned down for financial help from Arts Council England for the project and it was only because of generous funding from The Bransford Trust, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Community Foundation that this could go ahead.

Music provides a great way to learn teamwork and broaden horizons. I know that opportunities like this can literally change a young person’s life. It is a travesty that without opportunities like this, music is often now limited to an affluent few.

Well done to everyone involved and thank you Anne for everything you do.

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