Fun and laughs guaranteed as Offley teachers launch Choir On Fire with St Ippolyts taster session

Youth choir leaders Nicky Clarke and Hannah Warne

Youth choir leaders Nicky Clarke and Hannah Warne - Credit: Archant

Two women who make up a musical partnership which has helped establish a much-admired choir at a North Herts primary school are branching out.

Nicky Clark and Hannah Warne have been leading the choir at Offley’s village school for the past six years, performing at events from Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World festival to the Young Voices concerts at The O2 Arena in London.

They have a track record of producing an outstanding sound with a slick, audience-engaging performance – and now they’re responding to pressure from parents to establish an ‘out of school’ option for young singers.

Their new youth choir for Hitchin and the surrounding areas will officially get under way with a free launch session at St Ippolyts Village Hall next Thursday, September 10.

The Choir on Fire recruitment evening will welcome those aged seven to 10 from 6pm to 7pm, and older children in Year 6 and above from 7pm to 8pm.

The group already has its first performance slot sorted, with a date at the switch-on of Hitchin’s Christmas lights in November confirmed.

Nicky said: “If you want to take part in singing and performing as part of a brand new choir, singing a wide range of popular songs cleverly arranged, with the odd move thrown in, where you are not reading from music folders, come and give us a try. Fun and laughs are guaranteed!”

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Hannah is assistant headteacher and music subject leader at the Offley school while Nicky, a professional musician for more than 30 years, is a music specialist who comes in one day per week to teach choir and curriculum music lessons.

They met at adult choir Shockola, one of the many strings to Nicky’s bow – she’s also involved in an Abba tribute band, a rock and roll outfit and an acoustic duo as well as her teaching work.

Hannah, who studied drama and musical theatre as part of her teaching degree, has been a full time teacher for the past 20 years but has also been involved in local theatre groups and has run a local drama group for children in the past.

She said: “Singing and music has been a huge part of my teaching life and now the time is right to extend this passion to children outside my current school.”

One key aim of the new group is to keep youngsters, especially boys, singing.

Nicky said: “Our aim is to keep them singing well into their teens.

“We are particularly aware of the low number of boys participating in singing at primary school and beyond.

“We buck this trend at Offley and often find ourselves with more boys than girls – and boys with really strong voices and great performing skills – so we’re looking forward to continue this with Choir on Fire.”

You can find out full details online at www.choironfire.co.uk

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