Children from Littlehampton and Rustington have sung at The O2 Arena in London as part of Young Voices 2020.
The concerts form the largest school choir in the world and among those taking part were five schools from our area, Summerlea CP School, Rustington Community Primary School, Georgian Gardens Primary School, White Meadows Primary Academy and East Preston Junior School.
Teacher Dave Burrows, music lead at Summerlea, organised a singing day for the five schools on January 11, to help everyone prepare, though they were not all taking part in Young Voices on the same day.
He said: “The get-together was an opportunity for the children to all come together and rehearse the songs with each other. This was the first time we all pulled together like this and it was great fun.”
Summerlea took 54 members of its Glee Club to The O2 for the concert on Thursday, January 23.
Mr Burrows said: “There were 8,452 children, all singing together. It was a huge undertaking, it was massively tiring but so rewarding and so worthwhile.
“For the concert, they use lots of coloured lights and everyone is so focused because it has the feeling of a really big performance.”
Tassia Wormald, 10, was taking part for a second time.
She said: “Last year seemed different, because I didn’t know what it was and how the atmosphere was going to be. This year, it was really good. I felt I was back there and I was singing my heart out, knowing it was the last time I would be able to take part.
“Sometimes you might forget some words but it is nice to sing everything and there are little microphones so they pick up your voice.
“You get a little wristband and a torch. You see the children waving the lights around and they look like stars.”
Ali Gadelrab, 10, was also taking part for a second time. He said he had been to concerts at The O2 before, so he knew what the venue was like, but sitting up on the upper tier was quite an experience.
He said: “When you go to your seat, you think you are going to fall.”
He really enjoyed the day but found it quite tiring and struggled to stay awake in the coach on the way home.
Ali said: “I came home and just went straight to bed, I didn’t even get into my pyjamas. I just brushed my teeth and went.”
Caitlen Wilkinson-Smith, eight, has sensitive ears but said she was so excited at the concert, she did not need her ear defenders.
She said: “It was my first time and I was really excited. I was not expecting it to be that big at all.”
This year’s main artists were Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, The Shires and Ruti, who won the seventh series of The Voice UK.
Mr Burrows said: “Ruti was an inspiration for them as she sang in Young Voices 10 years ago and now she was back as a big act.”
Andy Instone from street dance company Urban Strides was also there to inspire the children.
Mr Burrows said: “He was an amazing motivator for the children. They have to rehearse for two hours and everyone is tired, but he gets everyone up and dancing again.”