Norwich Singing Squad Pilot
Between September 2005 and March 2006 NORCA ran a major programme of singing development. The Norwich Singing Squad Project aimed to pilot a singing opportunity for young people, offering an exciting fusion of voice and physical theatre. During the development phase we worked in three High Schools, running tasters sessions in-school followed by six weeks (or more) of after-school workshops. In addition, spread throughout the project, five nationally renowned tutors offered day-long workshops in such specialisms as African voice & rhythm, Opera, Brazilian song and Gospel. In the end, as well as the Singing Squad itself, a second group was developed at Sprowston High School. Over 500 young people took part in the development programme, with 90 going on to take part in the more focused sessions and 26 signing up for the Singing Squad.
As well as working on a range of repertoire and pieces specially commissioned for them (included lyrics written by the young people), the group also performed at the Forum (March 2006).
The project also offered professional development opportunities for anyone who teaches voice to young people or uses it in their work, whether a school teacher or independent practitioner. Five day-long workshops were held with inspiring tutors (Eugene Skeef, Brenda Rattray, Bosco D’Oliveira, Michael Harper and Sian Croose) and the a new network was established (the East Anglian Singing Network) for continuing this work and enabling practitioners to share experience and ideas, with 26 members.