Review: York school children raise the roof of Sheffield Arena at Young Voices concert

Hello Knavesmire Primary School!
22 Jan 2014 @ 10.15 am
| News
Lighting up Sheffield: the Young Voices concert. Photographs: YorkMix
Lighting up Sheffield: the Young Voices concert. Photographs: YorkMix

Review: Young Voices concert
Venue: Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, January 21

Hundreds of York children helped to lift the roof off Sheffield Motorpoint Arena as they joined with children from across Yorkshire for the Young Voices concert.

Singing everything from folk songs to chart hits with tremendous gusto, the children from primary school choirs across the city delighted family and friends.

Young Voices, the largest children’s choir organiser in the world, is in Sheffield from Monday to Thursday this week (January 20-23). We went along on Tuesday night to join a sell-out crowd at this celebration of song.

York primary schools taking part this year include Acomb, Carr Green, Clifton Green, Dunnington, Elvington, English Martyrs’, Headlands, Huntington, Knavesmire, Naburn, Poppleton Ousebank, St Oswald’s, St Paul’s, St Wilfrid’s, Woodthorpe and Yearsley Grove.

Many brought banners to help parents scanning the vast auditorium to pick out their children.

As well as the youngsters, the concert showcased the talents of adult musicians and dancers.

Keith Semple, winner of the 2002 series of Popstars: The Rivals, galvanised the arena with his energetic rendering of Living On A Prayer, thanks to the backing vocals of a squillion Yorkshire youngsters.

Hello Knavesmire Primary School!
Hello Knavesmire Primary School!
Bathed in blue
Bathed in blue
A favourite with the children… Stacey Solomon
A favourite with the children… Stacey Solomon
Busting some moves: Urban Strides
Busting some moves: Urban Strides
In harmony: the teachers' choir
In harmony: the teachers’ choir

Dance group Urban Strides forced parents to get to our feet and do some moves, which I found hard to forgive, but fortunately we were soon allowed to sit down and watch their own unflagging routines.

Solo voice of the night belonged to Wayne Ellington, whose gospel performances of classics including Down By The Riverside and You Raise Me Up soared to impressive heights.

Leader of the pack, though, was undoubtedly Stacey Solomon, whose every appearance was greeted by screams loud enough to deafen a staycationing Martian.

The X Factor finalist did a couple of tracks from a forthcoming album before returning to do a rousing version of Son Of A Preacher Man.

Of course the real stars of the night were the children. Having spent many hours in school plus the whole day at the arena rehearsing, they gave it their all for two hours. Their singing, particularly in the pop medley, was joyous, their dancing unashameldy energetic, their enjoyment infectious.

In the first hour their finest moments were a film medley, featuring tunes like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a splendid take on ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.

They saved their best till last. It came after a quieter moment, backing the teacher’s choir in their surprisingly melodic version of The Lord’s Prayer. Then it was time to let rip.

Accompanied by the excellent band, and marshalled by conductor David Lawrence, the choirs came together for a pop medley which they clearly relished, belting out favourites by the likes of Taylor Swift and Olly Murs.

Soon it was over and we were out into the cold Yorkshire rain. Reflecting on the night, I would have liked more of the pop music the children most enjoyed.

And I wished the organisers had spent three minutes to properly point out where every choir was sitting, to save myopic parents scanning the seating all night to try and locate our children and their friends (big up to Yearsley Grove!).

Clearly though, the children had the time of their lives. Well done to every young singer – you were electrifying.