Wassail! Carols of Comfort and Joy, which was commissioned by United Learning and premiered in two concerts in December, bringing together over 1000 staff and students from across our schools, has won the Classic FM Best Classical Music Education Initiative at this year’s Music Teachers Awards.
The piece, which was written by celebrated composer Alexander L’Estrange and conducted by him at the two premieres, was created to inspire collaboration, musical excellence and joy through choral singing. Performers from United Learning academies and independent schools across the country took part in the premieres in London and Manchester, side by side with acclaimed vocal ensemble Apollo 5 in a unique national initiative that also included teacher training, schools’ workshops, recording sessions and design.
The award, which was presented to Catherine Barker, United Learning’s Head of Music and Performing Arts, was voted for by the general public via Classic FM.
Receiving the award, Catherine Barker said:
“It’s wonderful that the hard work of our students, teachers and musical partners has been recognised with this award– thank you to everyone who voted for Wassail! The project lives on through Alexander L’Estrange’s beautiful piece of music; we hope it continues to inspire schools and their communities to sing together for many years to come.”
Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, congratulated everyone involved:
“Wassail! was a great project which thoroughly deserved to win the award.”
Alexander L’Estrange said:
“I’m incredibly proud of Wassail! From writing the work, recording and rehearsing it across the country with hundreds of amazing students and their brilliant teachers, to conducting the premieres – the whole process has been a complete joy. Thank you to everyone at United Learning and our supporters!”