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Educating young people who are blind or vision impaired

“A musical opportunity of a lifetime!”

A report by Year 11 student Daniel.

On Saturday 6 November, myself and four other students received what was for most of us an opportunity of a lifetime – to sing in Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with an adult choir; Wolverhampton Chamber Choir, professional soloists and accompanied by a live professional orchestra; The Salomon Ensemble.

We spent just over a month rehearsing what was a fairly difficult but amazing sounding piece of choral music, written and composed all the way back in 1741. Here are some of our reflections on the rehearsals and the big day..

“It’s mid-October and one unassuming lunch time you’re called up to Mrs Christie’s room, and you’re asked if you’d like to take part in a performance of Handel’s Messiah, which I had never heard of, in a month or so. Several questions flood your already-full mind…

“What is Messiah?”
“But how on earth am I supposed to learn this?”
“Who was Handel again?”

“We had a few weeks of rehearsals, with harmonies and timings you just couldn’t wrap your head around and then the day finally arrives.
With anxiety and trepidation in your heart you set out on the 1.5 hour journey, still not fully comprehending what you’re about to do. A final rehearsal and a few sandwiches later, you’re sitting with the choir and boy! have the butterflies made their appearance.”

“As I took my seat in the choir with the sound of chatting people pounding in my ears, I realised my excitement. The live orchestra, choir, and professional soloists. I have never had this sort of treat at NCW and at that moment I realised I probably wouldn’t get it again”

“As the concert began, I listened to the rich sound of the instrumental opening. I had never had such an experience, hearing the instruments on either side of me, and not just playing through headphones and speakers. I would pick things up that I never could if using headphones. As we got up… that was when I found my thoughts for the performance. I sang with the rest of the basses and choir, and never felt so lucky. I relished hearing every note and getting it all right. I could almost sense the excitement of those around me.”

“I feel that performing on Saturday 6 November was, in a way, an unforgettable experience. I would leave NCW in the knowledge that I had done something that I had been advised to do for so long. To pick up a famous piece of choral music such as Handel’s Messiah, join a choir, and sing along. I don’t think I can ever thank Mrs Christie, Jessica our overseas volunteer, and everyone else enough for such a wonderful experience. I will definitely opt for something similar in university and even perhaps life after!”

“It was an amazing experience singing Handel’s Messiah with the choir, a full professional orchestra with a conductor, in a church. It was full of moments we will never forget like the Hallelujah Chorus. Rehearsing was difficult as I am the only alto in the group but it was a great experience especially for my A level. There is nothing like singing with a choir and a full professional orchestra and it was life changing. Thank you Mrs Christie.”

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