Over the past five years, Highfield has gained an enviable reputation as an outstanding school for singing, which is why, when Yale Glee Club approached Sing Up to recommend a school to visit as part of their British tour, Highfield was at the top of their list!
Yale Glee Club was set up in 1861 for students at the elite American university. Students between the ages of 18 to 22 audition for a coveted place in the choir and only the very best voices get chosen. It has become one of the most critically acclaimed U.S. choirs under the direction of its conductor, the Professor of Conducting, Jeff Douma.
Jeff began the morning by leading a workshop for Yale Glee Club and the Highfield Chamber Choir, starting with a vocal warm up. He focused on breathing techniques and pitching so that by the end all singers were listening to each other and locking into the shared sound.
Once all the voices, both big and small, were warmed up, the Chamber Choir sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to the Glee Club. The applause at the end was overwhelming and as one Yale student said, ‘I have never heard children sing so beautifully; I didn’t think children could sing like that’.
And then the magic really began.
Sing Up Day celebrates the collective experience of singing and how singing together can contribute to self-worth, identity and a sense of community. Jeff, pointed out that the Highfield values displayed on the hall wall, were all integral to singing in a choir. With this in mind, the Yale students sang Hallelujah with the Chamber Choir, adding their own harmonies. The effect was electrifying! Every single person in the hall was, during that song, sharing their passion for singing and their belief in the power of collective singing. It was a truly unforgettable experience!
The sharing of music continued as the Yale students taught the Chamber Choir the refrain of a traditional Yale song (including actions!) which they then performed in a concert to the school.
In the evening, Yale Glee Club, gave a performance in London with Choir with No Name; a choir for those affected by homelessness. It was indeed further evidence that despite the huge geographical, economical and social gulfs that exist in our world, singing together can, albeit it temporarily, bridge those gaps.
Please visit the school media gallery to see:
We will upload further footage shortly.