Choir hits the right note with High Sheriff

Norham Junior Singers received an award of £500 at the High Sheriff Awards ceremony held at Northumberland Church of England Academy.

Thursday, 30th March 2017, 8:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:07 pm
Lilli-Mae McGurk and Emily Waugh from Norham Junior Singers with the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, the Duchess of Northumberland; Jacqui Budge, Choir Leader and Willy Brown-Swinburn, High Sheriff of Northumberland 2016/17

The group was established in 2012 and currently has around 17 members, 10 of whom are under 10.

It meets on a weekly basis at Norham First School and gives young people the opportunity to learn to sing, learn technique and music theory as well as acting skills. It also provides social activities throughout the year.

Lilli-Mae McGurk and Emily Waugh, from Norham Junior Singers, along with choir leader Jacqui Budge, received their award from the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, the Duchess of Northumberland and Willy Brown-Swinburn, High Sheriff of Northumberland.

Jacqui is the inspiration behind the choir, having set it up in 2012.

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She said: “We’re delighted to have received this award and would like to say a big thank-you to the High Sheriff and the Community Foundation. The award will pay for computer equipment and a sound system for the backing tracks we use with the Junior Singers, enabling us to expand our repertoire.”

The group enables young people to learn vocal techniques and strengthen voices through vocal exercises. It also gives them the opportunity to sing solos, increasing their confidence, to work as part of a team and learn to respect one another’s unique talents and increase their social awareness.

Every month the group sings at the local church family service which has brought families from the village together, while many other people come to the church just to hear the children sing.

It also performs throughout the year including at the village summer fair and the village band Christmas concert and has been asked to sing at a local wedding.Its own summer concerts are always very well attended and the choir has raised money for Children in Need and Comic Relief.

As Norham is a small village, with limited activities for children and young people so the Junior Singers provides an activity for boys and girls aged from six to 16 and above.

One 13-year-old member, who has learning difficulties, has attended the choir since he was eight, and is now one of its best attendees, despite having dropped out of other activities.

This is the second High Sheriff Award the junior choir has received and it was thanks to the award in 2016 that it has been able to purchase a musical learning award scheme to help some of the older children to learn music and choral theory.

The office of High Sheriff is an unpaid voluntary role appointed by the Queen, which today concentrates on upholding and supporting the judiciary, police and law enforcement agencies, emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups, as well as supporting and encouraging the voluntary sector. The role itself is more than 1,000 years old from the days when the High Sheriff was responsible for all law and order in the county. It is the oldest secular appointment in the country.