Leeds Cathedral Choir School
Leeds Cathedral Choir School has its own website with information and news. Please click here.
For the annual fundraising report please click here.
Holy Rosary and St Anne's School in Chapeltown, Leeds, is aiming to become the first state primary choir school in the country. In the future it will change its name to Leeds Cathedral Choir School, there are plans for a purpose-built music block and every child will learn to play an instrument.
To download the appeal brochure please click here.
The Choir School project was launched in 2010 by Bishop Roche, with a visit by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, and local MP Fabian Hamilton. Speaking on BBC 1 News, Ed Balls voiced support for the plan:
"This would be a first in the whole country, but the church here in Leeds is saying that they want it, the whole school is up for being a choir school, every child is enjoying singing, and it would bring confidence and aspiration right here to the very centre of inner city Leeds. I think it's a fantastic idea and I'm right behind it."
Choral Director, Sally Egan went on to explain the rationale for the choir school: "Singing makes you focus on listening with understanding and the children take that discipline, that structure, with them into the classroom. Singing also unlocks something in children so that they can say, ‘I have the confidence to stand up in front of other people and use my voice,' and that confidence is an advantage in every of their lives."
The aim of the project at the Holy Rosary and St Anne's School is to set up a centre of excellence because it has always been difficult to recruit Cathedral Choristers from the inner-city, with most coming from suburbs on the outskirts of Leeds. Director of Music Benjamin Saunders decided that if inner-city children were not going to come to him, then he was going to send a Choral Director to them, with the ultimate aim of creating a Cathedral Choir School for the 21st Century.
A study being conducted by Leeds Metropolitan University is collating hard data to back up what we can see and hear around school. The children are more confident, they love singing and know they're good at it and academic standards are rising across the school.
Leeds Cathedral Choir School project - the first four years
The Cathedral School Choir was the only primary school to sing as a solo group for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK in 2010. They performed at the 'Big Assembly' Catholic Education event in Twickenham.
The Choir won first prize in Huddersfield's prestigious Mrs Sunderland Music Festival in 2011, along with the bursary for Most Promising Choir. They also won first place and the Rodillian Shield at the Rothwell Music Festival in 2012.
In 2012 the Cathedral Choir School gave its first live broadcasts - Sunday Worship on BBC Radio 4 and Midnight Mass from Leeds Cathedral on BBC1 Television.
In 2013 the School Choir was invited to sing at Gabby Logan's installation as Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.
Leeds College of Music entered into a partnership with the Choir School in 2013. The College donated a beautiful piano, made a commitment to help fund the Choir School project over the next five years and LCoM students began placements at the school to learn from Choral Director Sally Egan.
In March 2014 the whole school took part in a concert at Leeds Town Hall to celebrate the Choir School project. Everyone sang, from the 4 year olds in Reception class up, and it was a good chance to celebrate how the project has developed over the past few years.
Report on Choir School Project ( © 2010 BBC Look North, used with permission)
Report on Singing to Pope ( © 2010 BBC Look North, used with permission)