ABS Choir performs at The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership National Conference

On Thursday, 7th February members of the Archbishop Blanch School Choir opened the national conference for the Church of England, held in the awe inspiring setting of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. Students performed a rousing rendition of ‘This is Me’, later followed by a version of Emilie Sande’s song ‘Read All About It,’ accompanied by a dance routine choreographed and performed by two of our talented year 11 students. Both songs were specifically chosen as their messages supported the theme of the conference: ‘Rethinking Resilience’. As the lyrics state, ‘We’re all wonderful, wonderful people-so when did we all get so fearful? Now we’re finally finding our voices, so take a chance, come help me sing this.’

Students were privileged to not only perform at the conference, but to be able to hear keynote speeches from the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, who encouraged listeners to find their identity in knowing who they are in God and to go beyond the world’s voices, and the inspirational speaker The Revd Rose Hudson- Wilkin, Chaplain to the House of Commons and HM the Queen, reading powerful poems about resilience by Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. The Education Secretary, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, also spoke, setting out his vision for children to build character and resilience; in his speech, the Minister specifically named Archbishop Blanch School’s ‘amazing young people’ from whom ‘. . . we should take heart and a lot of optimism.’

Students were later invited to take part in student leadership workshops and were also treated to private tours of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, thanks to the generosity of Luciana Berger, MP.

Sincere thanks goes to Andy Wolfe, Deputy Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, for inviting the choir to perform and working with them closely during rehearsals. Thanks must also go to the dedication and support of Choir Director Nikki Oztuna and, of course, the talented and inspirational students themselves. 

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