Annual Infant Music Festival 2017

Thirty-three Chelmsford schools took part in the Annual Infant Music Festival across 13, 14 and 15 March to showcase pupils' musical talents and deliver an environmental message.

Schools from across the city took part in the festival, which was arranged by the Infant Schools Music Association with assistance from Chelmsford City Council. Audiences at Christ Church, New London Road, Chelmsford, were wowed by five performances of the environmental musical 'Eddie the Penguin Saves The World' .

Written by Niki Davies, the musical encourages recycling and eco-friendly living. It follows the journey of Eddie and his family around several countries as they try to find out what is causing their Antarctic ice to melt. The penguins ask the humans they meet to cut down on car use, try to use less power and recycle or reuse. After each performance, City Council staff handed out recycling bins, bags and sacks to the audience.

In each performance, six or seven schools perfomed together. Some children acted as characters in the story, some played percussion instruments and everybody joined in with the songs. Each school also sent a group of dancers, who showed their own dances to 'Colours of the Wind' from Pocahontas.

Sue Read, Chair of the Infant Schools Music Association, said, "The quality of the children's singing was exceptional this year and their enthusiasm really helped to deliver the important recycling message. This is the first year the children have performed with a live band.

Thanks to pianist Kate Gowen, percussionist Mike Kitts and bass guitarist Ben Hearne for giving them this wonderful experience. I am sure the children will take away fond memories of the Festival and hopefully it has helped to promote and support the music-making that is currently being undertaken in our local schools."

Before each performance was a workshop, in which the whole musical was put together. This was not an easy task, since the children - all aged around 7 years - had never met before. Jill Parkin, musical director, was responsible for encouraging the children to deliver their lines clearly and sing with confidence.

Jill said, "It is always a delight to conduct the Infant Music Festival and this year has been no exception. The quality of singing has been excellent and all the schools have worked very hard to get their young actors and dancers to do their very best. Music and drama are such vital elements of a child's education and every year we see the children's confidence grow."

The performance on Wednesday 15 March was attended by a special guest. Councillor Patricia Hughes, the Mayor of Chelmsford, came to see the show and was very impressed. The Mayor commented, "It was fantastic to see so many children getting involved in making music with a really important message. Recycling and sustainable living are all about preserving our environment and resources for the next generation. I thought the young cast were brilliant - so creative and enthusiastic. Well done to you all - and to the organisers too!"

The festival has been taking place in Chelmsford for almost sixty years.

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