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(1 February 2013)

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On Monday evening, 37 pupils from Herries Preparatory School in Cookham Dean were invited to perform at the Young Voices concert in the O2 arena in London. The Herries pupils joined around 8,000 other primary school-aged children from across the country and an impressive array of artists from across the musical spectrum, including the African Children’s Choir and Britain’s Got Talent winner, 15 year old Connie Talbot.

Every year, Young Voices brings together over 90,000 children and 6,000 teachers at the UK’s biggest school choir concerts. The idea behind the project is that children from different schools work on a selection of songs during term time, so that they can perform “as one voice” on the night. Parents and friends are invited to watch and the whole event raises a massive amount of money for the children’s cancer charity, CLIK Sargent.

Two Year 6 pupils from Herries, Sam and Alec, were also interviewed on the Nicki Whiteman programme on BBC Radio Berkshire about their Young Voices experience, along with their drama and music teacher, Jami Castell, so it has been a very exciting week for the school.

If your school is interested in finding out more about the Young Voices concert for next year, please go to:

 What teachers, parents and pupils thought of the 02 experience:


"The evening was simply amazing. When the lights went down and 8,000 tiny torches lit up the arena and the all the children burst into song, I really felt like laughing and crying all at the same time. I felt very proud to be a part of such an event which opens children's minds to the wider world and is fantastic fun at the same time. When the African Children’s choir sang ‘Sing’ written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and the children joined in, it really did bring tears to my eyes. Then, ‘Let it Be’ sung by Connie Talbot (Britain’s Got Talent 15 year old winner) and the children brought back memories of my youth. The first song, ‘Musical Memories’ has the line:

"And the memory of today will last a lifetime,

As music fills our hearts and makes us whole.“

I certainly felt that the memories of yesterday evening’s concert will, indeed, last a lifetime.“

Jami Castell, Music and Drama teacher at Herries 


"To see and hear the O2 erupt into a cacophony of sound, generated by our children, and others from all over the UK, was fantastic. It was great to see our children coming together and enjoying themselves so much in a spectacular arena.“

Nigel Watts, Governor and parent at Herries


"Walking into a packed O2 arena to see 8,000 young children sitting in the seats way up high in the Gods is something to behold. At first, it takes your breath away that your cherished ones are sitting there in the 02 arena and when the music starts, it's amazing. To see 8,000 torches flashing and shaking about as the children sing and dance to a Pop Medley from their parents' era is electric. Young Voices is a great concept and a fantastic, memorable evening which the children - and indeed we parents - will not forget.“

Helen Mason, parent at Herries

On the 28th January Herries school went to the 02 Millennium dome to sing in a concert. Young Voices is the biggest children’s choir in the world. I thought it would be outside and all the children in the middle and the parents would be around the sides and I thought it would be bigger! Our conductor was called David Lawrence. He has been conducting orchestras for ages. The African children’s choir was there too! It was amazing because they shone loads of coloured lights on us. Randolph Mathews was really funny because he picked a random person out of the audience and made a song about her. Joe was screaming beside me so I nearly went deaf.
Charlie, Year 4

I sat near the top of the hall next to John. First we had a rehearsal which lasted from 2.30 to 5pm. The actual concert started at 7pm. Our first song was ‘Musical Memories’ and then ‘Hans Christen Anderson’ which aren’t my favourites, but I really like ‘For Those About to Rock’ because it has ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and ‘Born to be Wild’ in it which is SUPER-EPIC! After the concert my mummy collected me at 9.10. She had a sleeping bag and a feather stuffed pillow. I feel asleep in 2 minutes and it took 2 hours and to get home.
Isaac, Year 4

At the 02 there were 8,000 children and 23,000 people. The part I really liked was when it went dark and all the lights were like stars and when the real lights went on and were changing colours. Our parents did a dance and some weird moves. It was so loud it hurt my ears! All I could see was lights. My favourite song was called ‘Sing’ and my other favourite song was ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Randolph Mathews was doing an awesome sound. He said ‘Sound’ in a really funny way.
Joe, Year 4:    

‘I loved the part where Andy, the dance director, made all the parents get up and dance.’
Emily, Year 4

‘The part I really liked best was when it went dark and all the lights were like stars and then the real lights went on and the colours changed. It was so loud that it hurt my ears!’
Jo, Year 4

‘I liked it when we were trying to spot our parents on the other side of the arena and then, we saw them!’
Millie, Year 4

"It was awesome. I loved singing all the songs and I danced all the time. The best parts were seeing Connie Talbot, the African Choir and Randolph, who made lots of cool sounds.“
Holly M, Year 5

"I thought it was fantastic. I loved the African Children‘s Choir and Connie - they were great. I thought the song choices were really good. The best bit was the pop medley. "
Maddie, Year 5

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