Children from across the Greater Manchester area are hoping to bring a sprinkling of cheer during this season of goodwill to the city’s homeless and low-income families with an inter-school festival of song fundraiser at Manchester Cathedral on 4th December. 

Around 250 pupils from six local primary schools and a senior choir from Withington Girls’ School – joined by WGS musicians – will be performing at the inaugural Manchester Sings event before an audience of up to 600 guests to raise money for the local homeless charity the Booth Centre and to provide Christmas gifts for children supported by Wood Street Mission. 

Participating choirs – from New Islington Free School, St Kentigern’s RC Primary, St Luke’s CofE Primary (Bury), Wilbraham Primary, Whitefield Community Primary, Broadfield Primary (Oldham) and Withington’s Senior ‘Pop Up’ Choir – have been busy rehearsing over the past few months with Manchester Sings organiser and WGS Director of Music, Mrs Gilly Sargent. The first time they will all sing together, she said, will be at the event itself. 

“Watching these children practising so hard, enjoying their music and growing in confidence has been incredibly inspiring.  I was particularly touched to hear one boy comment to me, ‘I didn’t even know I could sing!’. It will be wonderful to see these young pupils from different parts of Manchester performing as one at this magnificent venue in the very heart of our great city and I don’t believe there will be a dry eye in the house.”

The medley, which will begin with Sing by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, has been designed to tell a story of hope, with all songs selected specifically for the poignancy of their words – and Mrs Sargent added that she was delighted to have received an encouraging note from Lord Lloyd-Webber himself wishing the performers good luck with the event. 

“Music is such a powerful force for good, it’s so many things to different people. Everyone has a voice, and every voice has a song – this is what we would like to capture with Manchester Sings. It is impossible to walk around our city and not be moved by the plight of the homeless and other vulnerable members of our community. We hope that, in bringing these schools together to sing at the Cathedral, we can all do something positive to help. We’ve been very much encouraged by the response we’ve had and are aiming to make this a regular occasion,” said Mrs Sargent.

The hour-long Manchester Sings event will start at 3pm and is open to the general public. Tickets are free of charge and can be booked through the Manchester Cathedral website  or via Eventbrite

All proceeds raised on the day will go to the Booth Centre, a day centre for homeless people, while families supported by Wood Street Mission will benefit from gift donations; a target of 150 Christmas gifts has been set to mark the charity’s 150th anniversary this year.  Beaverbrooks Jewellers is the sponsor of Manchester Sings

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