New Norfolk choir will nurture the seven-up singers

Younger children will have the chance to equip themselves with the skills they need to sing for the rest of their lives when a new choir is formed in mid-Norfolk this autumn.

It will be aimed at the seven-to-11 age group and will rehearse and perform everything from the Skye Boat Song to sacred works, embracing Britain's great choral heritage along the way.

Director of the mixed choir will be the Rev Rachel Jackson, who is an associate priest in the Barnham Broom and Upper Yare group of parishes between Dereham and Wymondham and whose family has long been involved in choral singing in Norfolk.

She said it would be attached loosely to local churches and would follow the musical tradition already established by the Southburgh Boys' Choir, which existed for 12 years until 2006, and the existing Barnham Broom Youth Choir, comprising mainly singers in their teens.

The children would perform at church services and concerts and would follow the Royal School of Church Music Voice for Life programme.

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Mrs Jackson said many youngsters who had been nurtured through the early stages of singing had now 'aged' into their teenage years, and so the new choir would bring on a new generation.

'The aim is to get them sight-reading, and we've found that they like to learn singing 'in parts',' she said. 'It will be a fairly academic approach, but in a way that is appropriate to their abilities and experience. We want to set them up with the tools that will enable them to carry on singing all their lives, giving them all the wonderful social opportunities this will bring.

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'There is a wealth of church music, and simple anthems to sing, and then there is the huge secular repertoire that includes arrangements of folk songs – 'Speed, bonnie boat...', and so on – that form part of our singing tradition.'

The launch is expected to take place in late September. Rehearsals and a meeting place for the choir will be confirmed later, depending on the singers' availability and where the recruits come from. One proposal is that it may be at Hardingham church.

And Mrs Jackson hopes that one of the youngsters' early singing engagements will be the hugely-popular Mid Norfolk Railway carol service, when choristers sing on the platform at Dereham station before hopping on a train with the congregation to get to the service proper at Thuxton parish church.

l To find out more about the choir call Mrs Jackson on 01362 821032 or email

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