With the Schools’ Singing Project Carol services having begun on Monday 4th December, Gregory Treloar and Chris Davies, who form the small but mighty the Diocesan Music Department in the Diocese of Nottingham, are expecting tremendous things from the 1000 children who will take part in the concerts.
Performing at 5 locations across the Diocese of Nottingham, with a total of 13 schools involved, these free carol services allow an opportunity for the children to showcase the skills which they have honed this term during their weekly school visits from Greg and Chris. As well as showcasing their talent, and mastering the art of musical performance, this is an exceptional opportunity for the children, and their staff and families, to pray together using the music and lyrics to offer a joyful song of prayer this Advent.
With two series of carol services behind them, Greg and Chris are excited about these new ones. Due to the enthusiasm of both the staff and students of the thirteen schools, these concerts will feature some of the groups’ most ambitious music yet.
The carol services are free to attend. All are welcome, and there is no need to book, although Greg shares some good advice for those wishing to attend. He said: “They do fill up quickly, so early arrival is encouraged for those who are hoping to get a good view.”
The first few carol services have gone really well, with both services really well attended and the parents enjoying it so much. Roughly 600-700 parents attended the first two nights.
Bishop Patrick McKinney, who attended, spoke of the importance of prayer and reminded the children that when they sing they pray twice. He noted that the enthusiasm of singing, and of prayer, brings to mind something of the joy of the Christmas season, when we encounter that mystery of God living among us, in the innocent child in the manger. We seek something of the closeness of God in our lives every day, and at Christmas we are reminded of this reality: that God came to live among us.
James McGeachie, CEO of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said during the service that part of the mission of Catholic Schools is to instill a sense of awe and wonder in children and that these carol services are a great way to do that.
Mrs F Wadsley, Headteacher of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Bullwell, said: “Thank you to Bishop Patrick and the staff from the Diocesan Music Department for a wonderful Carol Service. I am so proud of how beautifully our children sang. It was a very poignant and moving service. Schools from across our Catholic Multi Academy Trust, coming together in prayer and song, to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of our Lord Jesus, was an amazing way to begin the season of Advent. Thank you again to all involved.”
Mrs T McNamara, Headteacher at Holy Cross, Hucknall, said: “The Carol Service is a joyful community event that our children, staff and parents look forward to attending each year. It is a special time where schools who take part in the Diocesan music partnership in the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAT, come together in unity to prepare in song for Christmas time.”