It has been a fantastic half term, with now over 1,000 Primary Robins (from Hayling Island to Durham) singing for thirty minutes every week.
On a rainy Thursday morning I arrived at Redbridge School and instead of walking into Orange class I felt I had entered Fagin's den. The children were singing a wonderful rendition of Consider Yourself with many a possible Artful Dodger and Oliver! The diction was great and they are really beginning to create a lovely legato line by singing through long notes, such as on the –self of yourself.
There has been fierce competition between the classes as to who can sing London's Burning divided into the most groups. David splits them into months in which their birthday falls and Turquoise class are the champions with six.
I am always surprised by which are the favourite songs in each Songbook. Yellow Submarine has been a big hit with the boys. Whilst singing this song, one boy was swaying to and fro - so David asked, "What's going on in your submarine"? His reply was "I am putting passion into it"!!
Winnall School is one of the new schools this year and there is a noticeable difference in their singing compared to those schools that have had a year of Primary Robins – who are more confident, breathe correctly and have a good grasp of pitch, dynamics and rhythm.
David asked the new children to give themselves a big hug and whilst doing so take a deep breath – it is not possible to raise ones shoulders in this position and so the breath is kept low in the tummy.
At another of the new schools, the children taking part in Primary Robins sang Consider Yourself at their school Harvest Festival service. To make the song even more relevant, they changed furniture to festival and well in to well fed. The rest of the school and staff were very impressed with the singing – it is not something they often do here.
My Favourite Things is a favourite song with boys and girls alike in all the schools and many of the new children are beginning to sing it beautifully. I asked the children what an “apple strudel” is – they answered, “an apple from a different country”.
I then asked the children what some of their favourite things were:
Chocolate, football, hamsters, Minecraft, fluffy kittens, ice cream and, now it seems, singing.
You can read the reports our teachers have been writing for us here.
100% of your donation goes to Pimlico Opera (registered charity, no. 1003836). If you would like to be kept informed about future projects, email us to find out how you can help.Download a Support Form
Read Prisoners' Education Trust: Pimlico Opera in HMP Isis
Read Musical Theatre Review: "Forget The Book of Mormon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory..." - Sister Act, 2014
Read Plant Hugill: "A glorious afternoon in the theatre" - Sister Act, 2014
Read On a mission to help young black men avoid prison
Read Arts in prison: why cut our chance to create crime-free futures? (Guardian, Nov 13)
Read Art is the best route to recovery
Read Armed robber who found 'miracle' of art while in prison featured in Koestler at 50 exhibition
Read Camilla watches on as Erlestoke prisoners get their big break
Read Arts Projects for Offenders save taxpayers money
Read Can writing stop prisoners reoffending? (BBC News)
Read Libby Purves' Arts First Night review
Read Q&A session following a performance for inmates and prison staff
Read Guardian blog "Why prisons hold playwrights captive"
Read Surrey Advertiser "Prison hosts hottest show in town"
Read Soroptimists International "How opera can change prisoners' lives"