MUSIC and singing returned to St Nicholas Church in Guisborough in force last week.

During the pandemic, normal singing in the church had been ceased due to the restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but over two days a celebration of music saw performances by ten primary school choirs from Guisborough, Redcar, and Middlesbrough, plus one from Stockton. Each performed one religious-based song and one secular song, and also a joint song with all the choirs, O Happy Day. A similar event was held in 2019 but had to be postponed in 2020.

The church was full on each day with enthusiastic parents, relatives and friends, supporting the children with a rousing reception. One school, the Pennyman Primary School from Ormesby, had not only the main choir, but also one comprising unit provision children. The event was organised by Chris Nixon, the director of music for St Nicholas Church, overseen by the rector, Rev Alison Phillipson.

On the first day, five choirs performed. First was the Chaloner Primary School, Guisborough, who sang This is Amazing Grace and Conkers. Second was the Wheatlands Primary School, Redcar, singing The Lord is my Shepherd and O Happy Day. Then came the Galleyhill Primary School, Guisborough, with Thank you God for all you have given me and Here am I Lord. Fourth was Ormesby Primary School singing Small part of the World and Welcome to my World. Last but not least was Mill Lane Primary School, Stockton, who sang Friendship and Make your own kind of music.

On the second day, several of the choirs were part of the Tees Valley Education group. The first choir to perform was Brambles Primary Academy from North Ormesby with This is Amazing Grace and The Autumn Song. Second was a choir from Pennyman Primary Academy with This little light of mine and Spring. Next was Dormanstown Primary Academy, who sang Make me a Channel of your Peace and Friendship, my people. A relatively small school, Wilton Primary School, Lazenby, then sang Thank God for all you have done and One little voice. The final songs were from a mixture of discovery and unit provision children at Pennyman Primary School, who sang The Lord is my Shepherd and Just because we can.

Louise Stogdale, head of academy at Pennyman Primary School, part of the Tees Valley Education Trust, after the performance explained the reason for entering two choirs. “For me, both choirs were really important because it gives every child the same opportunity and we shouldn’t be restricting those opportunities," she said. "We pride ourselves on that inclusivity and should be giving all children the same opportunity every single day. My heart sang today – the first time in getting back together, and for me, does make sure that every child has every chance, every single day.”

Musical accompaniment was provided by Chris Nixon, on the piano and organ.