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New Songs Premiere - 14th May!

25 March 2021

New Friday Afternoons songs by composer Russell Hepplewhite with texts by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to receive online world premiere on 14 May 2021!

EVERYTHING – was due to be premiered in 2020 but had to be postponed because of COVID and only two of the twelve songs were released. The ten unheard Friday Afternoons songs by composer Russell Hepplewhite with texts by renowned children’s author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen will now be premiered on 14 May on Britten Pears Arts’ YouTube channel.

EVERYTHING is a cycle of 12 songs about...well, pretty much everything! The elements, human discovery, invention, movement, language, atoms and cells all feature. These songs are designed to fire up the imaginations of infant and primary school children with a healthy dose of fun, humour, playfulness, and heart.

Each of the ten songs that have not yet been heard will be performed by ten choirs who were selected after entering an open call in December last year and hail from across the UK. The ten choirs are:
o Amherst School Choir, Kent
o Cornwall County Choirs
o Dublin Youth Choir
o The Grange Choir, Monmouth Boys' Prep
o Lodge Moor Childrens Choir, Sheffield
o The National Youth Choir of Scotland
o Poco Amabile, Cumbria
o Scunthorpe Co-Operative Junior Choir
o Somerleyton Primary School Choir, Suffolk
o Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs

‘We wanted to create songs for absolutely everybody to enjoy so the cycle is packed with rhymes, patter, curious facts, varied musical moods, and heartfelt melodies that children will hopefully find memorable and inspiring to sing. Some songs are a little more challenging than others, but the cycle is designed so that any of the songs could stand alone in a concert, or alternatively the cycle can be divided neatly into groups of songs which will work well together. For the most ambitious, performing the whole cycle should be quite a showstopper.’ - Russell Hepplewhite

‘It has been a treat and a privilege to be asked to write lyrics for Russell to turn into songs. It's so exciting for me to know that thousands of children will sing these and feel the spirit of the music and ideas in the songs. When I heard Russell's tunes for the first time, it was a bit of magic. It's as if the words had got new clothes and were off out dancing in them. From a personal point of view, I very much hope we are keeping the intentions of Benjamin Britten alive by making new work for all children to sing.’ - Michael Rosen

Our five Ambassadors – Tom Appleton, Emily Barden, Charlotte Brosnan, Dominic Ellis-Peckham and Charles MacDougall – who are all professional choral leaders, have been paired with two of the choirs premiering EVERYTHING to provide support for the choir leaders and young people while preparing for their digital performance. This support has mainly been online, but Emily got to go to Amherst School to run a workshop with them - her first in-school session in over a year!

We can't wait to share these amazing new songs with you!