Peterborough Sings! is a unique music education charity which supports three award-winning choirs, Peterborough Male Voice Choir, Peterborough Voices and Peterborough Youth Choir as well as delivering the Arts-Council England-funded Peterborough Singing Strategy which is transforming provision for singing in the city’s schools.
Our mission is to make singing inclusive and accessible to everyone and to engage a broader and younger demographic in group singing, encouraging children and young people into the activity. As part of our outreach programme we are developing boys’ choirs at schools across the city with a specific focus on the challenges faced by those with changing voices.
Since 2010 Peterborough Sings! has run eight extremely successful recruitment campaigns using the model of a self-contained pop-up project with a rehearsal period of 12 weeks. Sing for Heroes, Sing for Life and Men United in Song have engaged hundreds of men and women across the city, resulting in a surge in membership for our choirs as well as raising many thousands of pounds for charity.
We are regularly approached by other organisations to share this business model which has resulted in collaborations with male choirs in Bournemouth, Northampton, Leeds and Kendal.
In 2015 we were awarded a grant by Arts Council England to commission Hawks and Horses, a new work written specially for our choirs by celebrated composer Errollyn Wallen and performed in partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at St Johns Smith Square in London and at the Broadway Theatre Peterborough.
We provide our members with exceptional performance opportunities and collaborators include Grimethorpe Colliery Band, the King’s Singers, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the Band of the RAF Regiment, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra, among many others.
Peterborough Sings! gratefully acknowledges financial support from Arts Council England, PRS For Music Foundation, Peterborough Music Hub, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation and the Earl Fitzwilliam Charitable Trust.
Peterborough Singing Strategy
Peterborough Sings! delivers the Arts Council England-funded city-wide Singing Strategy on behalf of Peterborough Music Hub and Peterborough City Council.
The Singing Strategy has broad aims to transform provision for singing in the city’s primary schools and is delivered through a programme of CPD workshops for staff and leaders and large-scale “big sing” events, each of which is themed to give an insight into a particular style or genre of music. Themes have included Big Band Swing, Broadway, Rock’n’Roll and Film Music as well as two curriculum-linked singing days to mark the World War One centenary in 2014, featuring specially commissioned music by popular children’s composer Rowland Lee.
Each of the “big sing” events features a live band or orchestra, and as well as having the opportunity to rehearse and perform with them the children are able to meet the musicians and learn about their instruments during interactive “meet the band” sessions.
Directed by William Prideaux, these “big sing” events have engaged thousands of children from over 40 local primary schools across Peterborough and beyond and have been fantastically well received by staff, children and parents alike. “Something new for Peterborough” says Clive Butters of the Beeches Primary School “we can’t wait for the next one”. William Prideaux says “I wholeheartedly recommend the project. This is a once in a generation opportunity for schools and community groups their teachers and leaders to develop their skills and aspirations.”
Peterborough Boys’ Singing Project
Peterborough Sings! is working with considerable success to develop boys’ choirs at schools across the city. As school music budgets are in decline, the Boys’ Singing Project delivers expert tuition in music and singing free of charge to over one hundred boys who would not otherwise have access to these resources.
Singing is an activity from which boys often feel subconsciously excluded: research shows that fewer and fewer boys sing and that – although boys’ voices peak between the ages of 11 and 14 – they tend to stop at puberty. The Peterborough Boys’ Singing Project aims to introduce boys to new experiences and expand their musical futures, providing a safe space for them to explore their creativity and artistry without judgement.
Nationally recognised as an authority on the male voice genre, director William Prideaux has a track record of working with boys with changing voices, keeping them singing into adulthood. Several Peterborough Youth choir boys have successfully auditioned for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain while others as young as 15 have made the transition to Peterborough Male Voice Choir.
The Peterborough Boys’ Choir participated in the 2017 Cornwall International Male Choral Festival, competing and performing in Truro’s Hall for Cornwall alongside some of the world’s leading boys’ choirs including the legendary St Petersburg Boys’ Choir. Aged between 7 and 19 the boys also featured in the Regional Gala Concert in Launceston a well as singing informally at the Eden Project and the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.
“It’s so important to get boys excited about singing and this weekend has been really inspiring” says director William Prideaux. “We’re thrilled to have been able to make the experience accessible to the lads and we’ll definitely be looking to return to Cornwall in 2019.”
Our director, William Prideaux is a graduate of Liverpool and Cambridge Universities and the Royal Academy of Music. He is nationally recognised as an expert in the male voice genre and was a guest speaker at the 2011 International Male Voice Choir Symposium. In 2012, he was identified by Creative Peterborough as one of the city’s most influential people in the arts and in 2016 was presented with a Civic Award by Peterborough City Council for his contribution to arts and culture. He is assisted by Alessandro Viale (accompanist) who is a Junior Fellow at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of London.
Peterborough Sings! employs a full-time administrator and a marketing manager. The six Trustees of the charity have expertise in HR, business and strategic management.