College hands Steinway piano over to inner-school primary

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A MUSIC college is getting into the spirit of the season by donating one of its finest pianos to a local inner-city primary school.

Leeds College of Music is also planning to work in partnership with Holy Rosary & St Anne’s Catholic Primary in Chapeltown, Leeds, by running workshops and mentoring pupils.

Two years ago the school launched a bid to become the country’s first state-funded cathedral choir school.

The vision for the Leeds Cathedral Choir School project was to teach every pupil from nursery upwards to sing, read and write music and be able to play an instrument.

Staff at the school and Leeds Cathedral hoped to use 
music as a way of raising pupils’ aspirations and uniting a diverse community where more than 20 languages are spoken inside the classroom.

Pupils have been receiving expert singing tuition and now the school has been given a Steinway piano for the pupils to practise on.

Leeds College of Music’s principal and managing director Prof Philip Meaden said: “The partnership between the school and Leeds College of Music will allow the conservatoire to fulfil part of its commitment to widening participation in a way that is consistent with its mission for excellence in music education. Access to chorale practice can sometimes be limited, and we’re pleased to be able to give the opportunity of equality in learning.”

Prof Meaden is a patron of the Leeds Cathedral Choir School project.

Ben Saunders, director of 
music at the Diocese of Leeds, said: “A primary focus of the choir school project is to raise the academic attainment, self-confidence and ultimately the life chances of the children in inner-city Leeds through music education.

“Working with Leeds College of Music in training their music educators of the future with practical classroom experience provides a innovative and mutually enriching opportunity for the choir school pupils and college students.”

The piano is being delivered to Holy Rosary & St Anne’s Catholic Primary tomorrow.

The school’s business manager, Jackie Coyle, said pupils and staff were excited about the prospect of having access to one of the college’s finest instruments.

Within months of launching the cathedral choir school bid in 2010, Holy Rosary and St Anne’s pupils were given the chance to sing in front of the Pope.

They were one of just two school choirs in the country to perform for the first Papal visit to Britain in almost 30 years. Fifty children from the school performed at an assembly event at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.