What has your choir got planned this summer? An end of year concert? Almost definitely. An exciting European tour? Possibly. Performing for Rugby World Champions? Only if you’re in the choir of St Angela’s Ursuline School in Newham! Whilst most music departments are looking forward to a relaxing summer holiday, Will Ramos of St Angela’s will be calling his choir in for extra rehearsals! They will be choreographing and fine-tuning for a very important performance in September when they’ll sing for the New Zealand All Blacks at a welcome ceremony prior to the beginning of the Rugby World Cup.
For the last 12 months we have been working with Mr Ramos to organise his choir’s tour to Venice, from which they have just returned. When we learned that the choir’s international summer isn’t set to end with the tour, we spoke to Mr Ramos to congratulate him and ask how his choir came to have this amazing opportunity. He told us that more than 100 choirs from across England and Wales applied to take part in ceremonies that will ofﬁcially welcome the 20 competing nations and St Angela’s passed a tough audition process to be selected to greet the All Blacks. Why did he decide to enter the competition?
“I saw it as an incredible opportunity for our choir to be involved in a global event, raising the profile of our school and our music department. We had worked with Youth Sport Trust back in May 2012 (the organisation who are collaborating with England Rugby 2015 to set up the Welcome Ceremonies) as our choir was chosen to perform in the Olympic Park for the Sainsbury’s School Games 2012 (including the closing ceremony!), a nationwide schools event to test run the facilities for the Olympics. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience and I wanted the new members to get the chance to be involved in another sporting event.”
Year 11 student Princess Olowogboye has been performing with the choir for ﬁve years and summarises perfectly what this opportunity means to her and the other members of the choir:
“I enjoy the feeling of when we sing together because it creates a warm atmosphere and people feel welcome. I am looking forward to performing for the New Zealand team because it’s a great opportunity not only for the choir but for the school too. It really puts St Angela’s on the map.”
The choir returned from their Venice tour late on Monday night. After a week of concerts and sightseeing in and around the city, they were back in London for less than 48 hours before their summer concert on Wednesday night. They will now be busy until the end of term practising choreography for the welcome ceremony which, added to the rehearsals in the holidays, won’t leave much time to relax. We asked Mr Ramos what he is looking forward to most:
“I am looking forward to all three events immensely for different reasons and it is these experiences that keep student interest high with over sixty members in this choir alone.”
The welcome ceremony will take place at a famous London landmark but the choir has been sworn to secrecy. Mr Ramos told us, “It is in London, it is iconic and it’s not the Olympic Stadium. More than that, I cannot tell you.” We’ll just have to wait until September to find out!