Our club inherited the amazing Children Singing for Children event from the Bicester Rotary Club when it closed and a few of their members moved to Oxford Spires Rotary. Led by Lars this year, with seven schools taking part over two evenings, everyone had great fun and we raised funds for three children’s charities.
Parents, grandparents, friends and staff attended the two evenings, full of talented and enthusiastic singing from the choirs of four Bicester schools on Wednesday 13th March and three schools on Monday 18th March. The event was in its tenth year and held at the beautiful St Edburg’s Church. The children rehearsed their songs in the afternoon and learnt a few new songs in a combined choir with the Musical Director Liz Stock, also a member of Oxford Rotary, and in the evening they performed to a packed church with standing room only on the first evening.
The event raises funds each year for children’s charities. The chosen charities for this year were Makaton, Viva and the Oxfordshire Fund for Music.
The Makaton Charity trains parents, carers and professionals and provides learning resources to help people communicate. Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.
Viva works across the globe connecting charities that support children. It’s aim is to release children from poverty and abuse. In Oxford Viva works with Doorsteps, its partner network that brings together different local groups and encourages a co-ordinated response to the needs of vulnerable children and young people.
The Oxfordshire Fund for Music supports young people with the cost of instrumental tuition. Many children across the county have benefited and have developed a life-long love of music.
On the first evening, the choirs came from Five Acres, Brookside, St Edburg’s and Bardwell schools. On the second evening, the choirs came from Longfield, Chesterton and Kings Meadow schools. The audiences were also delighted to hear from Skye El Shirbiny from Lord Williams School who played the violin on the first evening, and Rachel and Tabitha Appel from Matthew Arnold School who played the cello and violin on the second evening.
Deb Axtell, Oxford Spires club president, explained that Rotary International’s theme for this year is ‘Be the Inspiration’. “This event is a perfect fit with Rotary: inspirational children, having lots of fun, and supporting other children who they may never meet.”
Thank you everyone who made the events such a success: the team leader Lars, the musical director Liz, the compere Mike, the school children, the teachers and conductors, the accompanists, the other volunteers and of course the families and friends of the performers who made up the audiences.
We look forward to running the event again next year!