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Wilberforce Primary News


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Last night, pupils from Wilberforce Primary school took to the stage at the Copper Box Arena to perform in a fantastic production of Carmen! alongside their peers from United Learning’s national group of schools.

The pupils joined over 1,000 others for the unique performance of the ‘Choice of Don Jose’ from Bizet’s Carmen! at the Olympic Park.  Their performance is the culmination of a year’s partnership between United Learning, of which Wilberforce Primary is a part, the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company.

Using the Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing learning resources and with teacher training delivered by The Voices Foundation, the pupils at Wilberforce Primary were introduced to opera. Over the past few months, they have immersed themselves in the world of opera, listening and learning to understand the genre, and even more impressively, delivering their very own operatic performance of Carmen!

The colourful and energetic performance, which was staged and directed by the English Pocket Opera Company, delighted over 700 spectators including parents and guests from the world of opera, music and education.  The pupils used the knowledge and skills they acquired through the rehearsal process to deliver an unforgettable performance and came away feeling proud and inspired to continue nurturing their musical abilities.

Mark Jackson, Year 3 teacher at Wilberforce Primary School, said:

“Performing such an iconic opera as Carmen at the Copper Box Arena was an inspirational experience for all of the children.  Year 3 have rehearsed so much and enjoyed the whole journey that to see it all come together on Wednesday evening was very special. Giving the children such great opportunities to sing collaboratively with other United Learning schools and to work with such prestigious partners as the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company will remain with our children forever.  We are incredibly proud of the children’s achievements and can’t wait for next year’s musical extravaganza!”

Year 3 pupil Hebah said:

“I have been looking forward to the performance for such a long time and it was so fun!  We have rehearsed really hard and enjoyed learning the songs and drama for Carmen.”

Claire Macfie, Head Teacher at Wilberforce Primary, said:

“At Wilberforce Primary we embrace every opportunity to give our pupils an Education with Character.  This project has opened up the world of opera to our pupils and given them an opportunity to perform in front of a huge audience.  It has been wonderful to see our pupils grow in confidence over the course of this project and to see how much they have enjoyed learning the music.  I am incredibly proud of how well they performed.  They were a credit to themselves, their families and the entire Wilberforce community.”

Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said:

“All of the pupils gave a superb performance in which their new-found love of opera really shone through.  The sound of 1,000 pupils singing together was mesmerising and was a true celebration of music.  Congratulations to all the pupils who sang and performed magnificently and thank you to our fantastic staff for throwing themselves into this ambitious project with such enthusiasm.

“We are fortunate to have been able to partner with the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company for this project.  With their support, expertise and resources, we were able to give our pupils the very best musical learning opportunities and plant the seeds for a lifelong love of opera and musical performance.

“Projects like these which teach pupils new skills, broaden their horizons and give them memorable experiences are part of United Learning’s commitment to deliver an Education with Character.  As well as introducing our pupils to a new genre of music, this project has given them the opportunity to perform in a fantastic venue, collaborate with their peers from across the country and be part of a special celebration of talent and creativity.  I am delighted that we have been able to provide this for our pupils and I look forward to seeing them build on this experience as they develop into confident, articulate and ambitious young adults.”

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