Norwich school pupils create opera about pandemic

Prisoners’ chocolate treats from Peterborough church
December 22, 2020
Christmas is a powerful season says Bishop Alan
December 23, 2020
Show all

Norwich school pupils create opera about pandemic

Pupils at St Augustine’s Primary and St Francis of Assisi Primary in Norwich have collaborated with children at four other city schools to share a message in song about the coronavirus pandemic.

Internationally renowned composer Will Todd and Into Opera collaborated with the schools to develop a major artistic song cycle, called 2020: You Won’t Hold Me Back?, that captures a slice of social history and encourages the children to share their thoughts and feelings about the impact of Covid-19 on their lives.  

Mr Todd, who has previously worked with the Halle Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra said: “It’s been incredibly moving to work with the words which the children have shared with us. Their words are heartfelt, thoughtful, kind, grateful, frustrated, funny, sad and utterly brilliant. I hope the music we’ve created with their words can help them express their thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes as they move forward into the next part of their journey. I hope that what these children in Norwich have to say can be an inspiration to everyone who hears them singing these songs.”

During lockdown in July, children at home and in school participated in virtual workshops with Into Opera producing poetry, letters, journals and artwork about their lockdown experiences.

These went on to be curated into lyrics by Into Opera’s artistic director, Genevieve Raghu and performance poet Adisa the Verbalizer then set to music by Mr Todd.

Ms Raghu said: “The public response to the pandemic seems to have been dominated by adults and politicians. We’ve not heard very much from children at all. I wanted to develop a project which would give children a voice and encourage them to dig deep emotionally.”

St Francis of Assisi deputy headteacher Claire Furness said: “The children are so excited that their words, their feelings, their emotions have been put on to paper…it’s not only increased their self-esteem but it’s shown them that their thoughts are valued.”

Premiered on YouTube on December 17 you can watch the video below