Worcester Cathedral

On a warm summer’s day earlier this month, in what has now become an annual tradition for Bath Abbey’s youngest choir, the Melody Makers set off up the M5 for their final performance of the season. This year it was the turn of Worcester Cathedral to host the choir.

On arrival, and before all the seriousness of singing could be undertaken, the choir was given a short tour of the Cathedral. It’s always beneficial to sneak some eduction into these trips, and yet whist touring the cloisters many of the children were heard to mutter how much it reminded them of Harry Potter, to which they were told Harry Potter was in fact filmed in Gloucester Cathedral, and that visit was two years ago. Nevertheless – and young wizards aside – they enjoyed their tour before setting up in the nave for a rehearsal and concert.

IMG_0637The lunchtime concert, which as usual for these trips was an informal affair, nonetheless attracted a decent-sized audience who were treated to mixed repertoire including Litany to the Holy Spirit, I Will Sing with the Spirits, Summer, Three Cold Blackbirds, and the haunting Little Girl of Rain. Once again the songs were performed with the Melody Makers usual mix of fun, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Prior to the group singing their final upbeat song of A la Cart by Judith Waston, it was time to say goodbye to those Melody Makers who have reached the end of Year Six and must therefore leave the choir. This year was particularly poignant because a record eight choristers are leaving, but even more so because a number of these children represent the very last of the founder members. It is good to know, however, that three of these Melody Makers have gone on the join the Girls’ Choir.

IMG_0675A fact-finding trail around the cathedral was followed by a brief visit to the shop, where the obligatory collection of souvenirs ranging from note pads, to snap-bands, to cannon-shaped pencil sharpeners were eagerly snapped up by the choir. (If the Bath Abbey souvenir shop ever requires an influx of funds, it might not be such a bad idea to let the Melody Makers loose in there!)

The choir then boarded the coach and headed to Gloucester Cathedral for Evensong. This service marked the end to a lovely day out and indeed a wonderful year for the Melody Makers; a year where the children have once again been involved in the world premiere performance of a specially commissioned piece and have also appeared live on BBC One.

Shean and the Melody Makers would like to thank all at Worcester Cathedral for welcoming the Melody Makers, and especially, Justin Miller, Worcester’s assistant sub organist who stepped in the very last moment to accompany the choir when the original pianist unfortunately fell ill.

It is just left to say a huge, huge thank you to Shean and the Melody Minders for the amazing work they do during the year to bring so many wonderful experiences to this wonderful little choir.

Thank you.

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The Little Road to Global Exposure

The Melody Makers finally got their big TV debut on Christmas day when they performed in the Christmas Eucharist broadcast on BBC One, which went out to over 50 countries. They treated us to a beautiful rendition of Michael Head’s Little Road to Bethlehem, prompting a further rise in the moisture levels of many an eye in that Abbey on that emotional morning.

As predicted, the children did themselves proud in their three minutes of fame, as well as Mr Bowers and all of the Melody Makers staff. They were also featured in the Bath Chronicle’s write-up of the day too. Not bad for a morning’s work.

In case you weren’t aware, their performance is now on YouTube, so any grannies and granddads, aunties and uncles, or long-lost cousins who missed it the first time around can go and watch the choir in action, while the rest of us can relive the magic whenever we like…

BBC rehearsals

Last night the Melody Makers, along side the Bath Abbey Boys, Girls and Men arrived at the Abbey for their first rehearsal with the BBC.

 

We sang through our piece, making sure everything was well prepared in time for the full run through just over 12 hours later.

 

Here are a few pictures:

 

 

Don’t forget to tune in – 10am on BBC 1 tomorrow or we look forward to see you there if you’re luck enough to have a ticket.

Carols for Choir and Audience

Our Melody Makers once again took the stage to stand-proud and sing their hearts out in front of a full Abbey last Saturday for the annual Carols for Choir and Audience concert. Relishing their chance to sing alongside the Girls’ and Boys’ choirs, the date is always a highlight in the Melody Makers performance calendar, and this night was no exception.

The choir competently sang us Child of the New World and Little Road to Bethlehem, followed later on in the evening by Nativity. At the close of this piece it was lovely to see Jools Scott, the composer and Sue Curtis the librettist, welcomed onto the stage. Hopefully there will be more to come from this successful collaboration — you may recall that Extraordinary Creatures was also by the same composer.

The evening was rounded off by the three choirs singing together and then the usual rousing rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, which in typical form attempts to take the Abbey roof off.

It was a wonderful evening of festive songs and entertainment and – being a week closer to Christmas this time – the concert really left the audience feeling excited about the coming celebrations.

The next outing will be live on Christmas Morning for the BBC One broadcast of the Christmas Morning service. That will be a real feather in the choir’s cap, and our choristers, staff and parents are all very much looking forward to it.

Carols in the Christmas Market

The shoppers of Bath Christmas Market were treated to a festive repertoire by the Melody Makers recently, who took to the Abbey doors for their annual performance of Christmas carols.
The choir gave us two wonderful recitals, which included traditional songs such as Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Jingle Bells, as well as some of the children’s own favourites, Little Road to Bethlehem by Micheal Head and Child of the New World by Paul Hilsom. In addition to the choir singing beautifully as a group, there was also the opportunity for individuals to shine as the older choristers competently delivered a number of solos and duets. 
This was the first public performance by this season’s Melody Makers and, as such, it was lovely to see a number of new faces in attendance. As usual, the energy levels were high, the diction was excellent and the children did themselves proud. Mr Bowers did his customary great job of guiding the choir through an hour of singing, even when interrupted by an enthusiastic lady who seemed incredibly impressed by these wonderful young voices. She wasn’t alone in her praise for the children by any means, and with an ear on the audience one could easily discern their delight at the proficiency of this young choir. 
These carols marked the first in a series of three concerts by the Melody Makers this Christmas, the second of which will be the carols for Choir and Audience next week in the Abbey itself, alongside the Boy’s and Girl’s choirs. We shall look forward to that.

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Liverpool Day 3

Apologies for the late posting of the final day of our Liverpool tour photographs.

 

On day three we rose early and walked just down the road from where we were staying to visit the Albert Docks.

 

 

After a wonder round we went to the Maritime Museum, which had an exhibition about Titanic, where we had fun learning about how the vessel was connected with Liverpool (and some of us even tried on lifejackets).

 

 

The Next item on the itinerary had many of the adults stomachs spinning – a trip on the ‘Big Wheel’.

 

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… but the views were spectacular.

 

After a very well timed lunch (thank you to Pizza Express for being so accommodating) we sped up to the Metropolitan Cathedral for evensong followed by our second concert.

 

 

 

Sadly this was all we had time for and we hopped straight on the bus after the concert and headed home. There were a lot of tired and sleeping children (and adults) on the bus.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who helped to make the trip so special, especially to Mr Bowers and the team of helpers for Organising and implementing such an enjoyable trip.

We are really looking forward to the next trip!