Introducing the Cornwall County Choirs!
PLEASE NOTE THAT IN ORDER TO KEEP BOTH SINGERS AND VOCAL LEADERS SAFE, WE HAVE CANCELLED ALL CHOIR REHEARSALS THIS TERM AND SONGFEST WILL NOT BE TAKING PLACE NEXT WEEK. WE ARE TRYING TO RESCHEDULE FOR JULY.
The Cornwall Music Education Hub has a network of choirs operating throughout Cornwall, for boys and girls from age 8 up to 19. All our choirs are led by experienced vocal specialists and have numerous performance opportunities. Our choirs are open to singers aged 8-19 who attend school/college in Cornwall. There is an annual membership fee of £90 (£110 for the youth choir), payable in September each year (subsidies are available for children on Free School Meals, Children in Care and Children of Services Families).
The Cornwall County Youth Choir
The Cornwall County Youth Choir is a relatively new Choir managed and organised by the Cornwall Music Education Hub (CMEH), directed by Angela Renshaw, with Julia Knight-Bennett as Assistant Director and our choir voice mentors.
Although the choir was only recently established in April 2016 the choir have performed at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Truro Cathedral, and Hall for Cornwall and have worked with members of the BBC Singers. Several of its members [performed in this year’s opening night of the BBC Proms on July 14th as part of the Proms Youth Chorus. The choir also performed as a guest choir with Brit Award winners ‘Blake’ in the Hall for Cornwall in July 2017.
The Cornwall County Youth Choir rehearses once a month between September and April on Saturdays and Sundays at Truro High School for Girls between 10.00-4.00pm.
The afternoon sessions are then spent rehearsing in Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass Baritone sections as well as full choir. We perform an eclectic range of songs across all vocal genres.
Cornwall Boys and Cornwall Girls Choirs
Membership for these choirs is through an audition process and there will be an annual membership fee of £90. The choirs operate around the whole county, in local satellite rehearsal groups, coming together for mass rehearsals, showcase events and concerts. All choirs sing a varied repertoire of music.
Cornwall Boys Choir
Cornwall Boys Choir is a treble voice choir, for boys in year 4 upwards, through to approximately year 9, once voice change occurs.
CBC was established in 2008 and operates with 5 local satellite rehearsal groups, now established in Truro, St Dennis, Saltash, Penryn and Penzance. Each local rehearsal group meets fortnightly for 1 hour (usually in evenings). All satellite groups meet up for a mass choir rehearsal once a month for a whole Saturday afternoon of singing.
UPDATED 11.02.20 - Cornwall CGC & CBC Schedule 2019/20
Cornwall Girls Choir
This choir is for girls from year 5 upwards, through to end of year 8, from across Cornwall. Girls do not need to be able to read music to qualify for CGC. Schools have been asked to identify students that they wish to put forward for CGC. There will also be open auditions.
CGC operates in local satellite rehearsal groups in West, Mid, North and East Cornwall. Each local rehearsal group meets once every two weeks (twice monthly) for 1 hour and then all groups meet up for a mass choir rehearsal.
UPDATED 11.02.20 - Cornwall CGC & CBC Schedule 2019/20
If your son or daughter is invited to join the choir following the audition, please send a completed membership form to the the CMEH office.
Annual Membership Fees
The current annual fee for the County Boys and Girls Choirs is £90 (£40 for the Saltash Training Chor). The annual fee for the Cornwall County Youth Choir is £110. Please note that the annual membership fee must be paid in before rehearsals start in September and is not refundable in the event of members leaving the choirs.
Subsidised Membership Fees
The CMEH offers a 50% subsidy on the annual membership fee for students who meet one of the following criteria:
- Currently eligible for Free School Meals (eligibility will be checked against the council central register)
- Child of currently serving personnel of British Armed Forces (please provide proof will completed membership form)
- Child in care
All members of the Cornwall County Choirs will receive a Choir T Shirt as part of their membership fee. Additional shirts can be bought by contacting the Hub office - CMEH@cornwall.gov.uk
Other Members of the Cornwall County Choirs Family
Saltash County Singers
The current Saltash Training Choir and Saltash CGC & CBC will merge from September 2019. There will be one choir, the ‘Saltash County Singers’. The group will sing in key CCC events as before, such as Plymouth Songfest in March and hopefully a December concert but singers will not be asked to travel to Truro for monthly rehearsals and the choir’s repertoire will contain bespoke Saltash items.
The Saltash choir will be a 'stand-alone' choir, whilst remaining firmly part of the Cornwall County Choirs family, but without the need to travel to Truro for monthly rehearsals since this has been the main stumbling block for many and has deterred children from joining the choir.
All singers will rehearse on a weekly basis for a one hour rehearsal, max 10 hours per term. The dates for rehearsals are as follows –
- Weekly starting from September 18th. - 18/9, 25/9, 2/10, 9/10, 16/10, HALF TERM , 6/11, 13/11, 20/11, 27/11, 4/12.
- Time – 4:45pm-5:45pm
- Venue - Burraton School
The Saltash choir fees per year will be £40.
The Cornwall County Choir family has been extended to include 2 new groups, Mini Singers for children aged 3 -5 and Junior Mini Singers for children aged 6-8. We will be holding Mini Singer and Junior Mini Singer sessions in two different locations: Penzance (weekly) and Truro (monthly).
There is a fee to attend these sessions, £30 for Mini Singers (per term for Penzance or per year for Truro), £35 for Junior Mini Singers (per term for Penzance or per year for Truro). Any families wishing to sign up for these sessions should complete a membership form and send with a cheque (payable to Cornwall Council) to:
Cornwall Music Education Hub, Room North 2, Chy Trevail, Beacon Technology Park, Bodmin, PL31 2FR.
Truro Session Dates (10 sessions over the year):
Spring Term - 11th January, 1st February, 21st March,
Summer Term - 18th April, 20th June
Penzance Session Dates (10 sessions per term):
Penzance Mini Singers and Junior Mini Singers Dates for Spring Term 2020
January - 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th
February - 4th, 11th
March - 3rd, 10th, 19th (Thursday), 24th
Cornwall County Choir Leads
An introduction to the Cornwall County Choir Team!
Angela Renshaw - Cornwall County Choirs Director and Vocal Strategy Lead
Angela is a specialist music curriculum teacher, choir director and music project leader. Angela has taught across the primary and secondary age ranges, in both state and independent sectors working with children from age 4-18.
She is a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh, CMEH Vocal Strategy Lead and Director of Cornwall County Choirs and Director of music at Truro Prep School.
Angela established the current family of Cornwall County Choirs for children initially with the Cornwall Boys Choir, formed in 2007. With the arrival of the Cornwall Music Education Hub in 2012, she has continued to work to expand both the county choirs family and specialist choral team delivery further with the Cornwall Girls Choir, Cornwall County Youth Choir, Cornwall Training Choirs, and very recently the Cornwall Mini Singers.
Since living in Cornwall Angela has directed several children's and adult choirs. She organised and managed a programme funded by FEAST, designed to promote boys changing voices, called Cornwall Cambiata, who alongside the Cornwall Boys Choir have performed in the Royal Albert Hall and for HRH Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
Angela has had multiple choral accolades throughout her career, including a nomination for the best UK choir leader by the Association of British Choral Directors. In 2017, Angela led Truro Prep School Choir to 3rd place in Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod, where she also won the Conductors Prize and in 2018 her school choir won overall best junior choir in the Cornwall Music Festival.
Angela has developed music projects with both local and national music organisations including Truro Cathedral Education Outreach, National Youth Choir Great Britain, BBC Proms Youth Chorus, Sing Up, as Cornwall Area Leader, Miracle Theatre and KEAP.
Julia Knight-Bennett - Cornwall County Choirs Deputy Director - Julia Knight-Bennett
Julia Knight-Bennett is a teacher and semi-professional musician based in Cornwall. After several years as Head of Music at Redruth School, Julia was appointed as Director of Music at Polwhele House School in 2016. As well as her classroom teaching, Julia directs the school choir and is Singing Mentor to the Performing Arts Scholars. Outside of school, Julia is an established piano and woodwind teacher.
In recent years, Julia has worked with Helston Theatre Company and Falmouth Young Generation as Musical Director for productions such as Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady and Sister Act. She also plays in the pit orchestras for productions at local venues, including the Minack Theatre. Julia is a member of The Four Tunes Saxophone Quartet and Skyliner Big Band.
Julia joined the Cornwall County Choirs team in April 2016 and became Assistant Director in April 2018. Julia coordinates the full choir rehearsals and also assists at local CBC and CGC rehearsals.
Andrew Farris - Saltash Training Choir and Youth Choir Mentor
Andy moved to Cornwall from London in 2011 having worked as a professional singer in the capital for 15 years. Since moving to Cornwall he has got involved with several choirs as a conductor for whom he does his own arrangements. He joined the staff of the Cornwall County Choirs in 2016 and works as a vocal mentor for the senior choir as well as leading and co-leading the junior choirs in Saltash.
He studied for a degree in Choral Conducting at Roehampton University. Outside of the conducting choirs he teaches singing privately and is also a regular member of the choir at Buckfast Abbey.
Alice Browning - Mini Singers and support for Truro CGC / CBC
Alice works independently (Little Bird Music) providing music support to both early years and primary schools in Cornwall. She studied music at York university - plays violin, piano and sings - and worked for Virgin Music and Roland UK for several years before coming to teaching. For many years Alice ran Monkey Music franchises (first Wales then Cornwall) teaching babies and children aged 0 – 4, teaching in early years settings as well as leading groups in Children’s festivals and the community as well as being a mentor and teacher trainer for the organisation.
Now working with primary schools and early years settings,– current work includes; music/singing lead at St Mary's C of E School in Truro, vocal support and First Access delivery to schools in Cornwall, Playground Chorus (playground games/ singing workshops project), Chorus Connections (an inter-generational programme for care homes and early years).
Cheryl Rosevear - Penryn Choir and Youth Choir Mentor
Within the County Choirs family Cheryl Rosevear works as the leader of the Falmouth/Penryn boys and girls choir. She is also a vocal mentor for the youth choir. Alongside her work with the Cornwall Music Education Hub, Cheryl is a singing teacher and soprano soloist. She works within two local schools providing 1 to 1 singing lessons to students ranging from 6 to 18 years of age. Cheryl has been a singing teacher for over 10 years and covers vocal technique, performance skills, music theory, ABRSM and TRINITY examination preparation and offers a broad spectrum of musical styles. She is also required to lead and assist with whole school singing. Cheryl is a graduate of the Royal College of Music with an honours degree and a postgraduate diploma in vocal performance. She is an experienced soprano soloist and sings regularly throughout the County in oratorio and opera. Cheryl started her musical career singing in choirs and is passionate about nurturing young voices and providing them with the best opportunities to develop their musical talents.
Matt Douglas - Wadebridge Choir
Matt Douglas has 20 years of experience within music education and other music settings; as a music teacher, head of department, Music Advanced Skills Teacher, music leader and musical director. He was Head of Music at Brannel School in St Stephen for 14 years and over this time worked with many organisations on educational music projects, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, EMI Music Sound Foundation, the Royal Opera House, Miracle Theatre and Cornwall College. His work as a Music AST for 8 years enabled him to support music across Cornwall in a number of ways, such as leading primary/secondary INSET and NQT sessions, embedding music in primary schemes of work, and delivering a variety of workshops for both staff and pupils.
Since 2013, Matt has chosen a varied musical portfolio career including directing community choirs and school choirs, under-5s sessions at The Eden Project, joint schools projects and piano lessons - always morphing term by term. Work as an artistic director and ensemble leader with the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) has allowed Matt to extend his experience of working with other professionals and young people into the rest of the UK and abroad, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Over the last few years, he has undertaken Quality Assurance and Evaluation work for CMEH across Cornwall. 2013 was also when Matt became a member of the Cornwall County Choirs team, becoming Assistant Director in 2019.
Matt is a keen composer/arranger and in addition to composing and arranging music for Cornwall County Choirs, has written for The Eden Project, Imerys Mid Cornwall Male Choir and Mevagissey Male Choir amongst others. More information about Matt and his music at www.mattdouglas.net.
Alison Harvey – St Austell Girls Choir
Alison Harvey is our CGC St Austell Group Leader, having joined the County Choir family in 2013. Her group rehearses at St Mewan School, where Alison has taught music and singing throughout all key stages for the past 10 years. The school’s two Junior Choirs have gained a very high reputation under her leadership, and both choirs have won many awards in the St Austell and Truro Music Festivals during that time. Her Upper Junior Choir has also competed twice in the Mid Somerset Festival in Bath, winning first place on both occasions. Alison also directs the St Mewan School Community Choir, a 70-strong mixed age choir, who perform regularly at concerts, weddings and community events. Alongside this, Alison is also a well-established singing teacher, and currently has up to 30 pupils shared between the School and her home teaching practice working towards singing competitions and ABRSM exams, with a very high success rate. In 2017, she studied with Voice Workshop to achieve the Certificate in Teaching Young Voices.
As a singer, Alison has played many leading roles in musical theatre, and was a member of St Austell AOS for 15 years. She is known for her numerous appearances as guest soloist for many male voice choirs and bands, more recently as a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ soloist, including the Minack Theatre. She is keen to make sure her skills are up to date to pass onto her pupils, and has recently achieved the ARSM performance diploma through ABRSM.