Singing pupils raise the roof at the David Ross Education Trust Primary Music Festival in Northampton

Over 550 primary pupils from the David Ross Education Trust's 13 southern academies sang their hearts out at the annual Primary Music Festival, held at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, with thanks to the support of the Trust's Inspiration Fund and Aldeburgh Music.

The concert saw singers from Northampton’s Briar Hill Primary SchoolCedar Road Primary SchoolEastfield AcademyKings Heath Primary AcademyMalcolm Arnold Preparatory SchoolThe Arbours Primary Academy, Daventry’s Abbey CE AcademyFalconer’s Hill AcademyNewnham Primary School and Welton CE Academy, Market Harborough’s Bringhurst Primary School, Kettering’s Greenfields Primary School and Corby’s Rockingham Primary School take to the stage and perform in front of their parents, family members and special guests from the local community.

As part of the event, performed on the Derngate Main Stage to a capacity audience, pupils performed songs from Aldeburgh Music’s ‘Friday Afternoons’ songbook by Jonathan Dove and Luke Styles, as well as classics from across the ages including Handel’s Zadok the Priestand We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, accompanied by the Malcolm Arnold Academy Big Band.

The concert also featured special performances from the choirs of the Trust’s newest Singing Schools based at The Arbours Primary Academy and Rockingham Primary School, the first performance of the Cedar Road. Boys’ Choir, formed after the inspirational visit of the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, and a moving performance from Year 5 pupils at Briar Hill Primary School, who have learnt to use British Sign Language while they sing.

The Trust’s strong relationship with the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, who provide instrumental tuition in all the Trust’s primary schools in Northamptonshire, was reflected by a spectacular performance from their youngest string orchestra, Country Junior Strings.

British tenor, choral animateur and vocal coach Charles MacDougall conducted the event, accompanied by Justin Miller, Director of Music at St Matthew’s Church Northampton, on piano.


The Primary Music Festival acts as an outstanding platform for pupils to build their confidence and grow their musicianship through live performance.

This incredible opportunity is just one of many events on offer as part of the David Ross Education Trust’s pioneering enrichment programme, supported by the Trust’s Inspiration Fund, that aims to motivate and encourage young people to reach their full potential. This includes an award-winning Singing Schools programme, which was recently awarded the ‘Excellence in Primary/Early Years Music Award’ at the national 2018 Music Teachers Awards for Excellence. This transformational programme is currently taking place across a number of the Trust’s primary academies, including Northampton’s Kings Heath Primary Academy, which has seen boosted SATs results and a significant increase in pupils’ self-esteem since joining the programme.

Simon Toyne, Executive Director of Music at the David Ross Education Trust, said: “Music is at the heart of the Trust’s vision of a well-rounded education. High-profile events such as these provide such exciting opportunities for our children to perform to large audiences in inspiring venues, but they can only happen as a result of well-focused musical activity taking place in schools day to day.

“Our relationship with organisations such as Aldeburgh Music, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust and The Voices Foundation is enabling us to develop a provision in which every child experiences high-quality music-making and every teacher accesses meaningful continual professional development in Music.

“Our thanks go to the many classroom teachers and musicians who have worked so hard over the term to prepare their pupils for this wonderful event.”