PHIL KIDS / PHIL YOUTH / CHAMBER CHOIR
Phil Kids was founded in 2006 by Belfast Philharmonic Society with assistance from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and now has around 320 children in four choirs from ages 7-22 years old.
Music in general, and singing in particular, is a very important part of a child’s education. Young people have the opportunity to sing weekly with a highly trained group, combining singing with games and musicianship training.
Concerts are given usually twice annually and occasionally with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir and the Ulster Orchestra. These are very special relationships and provide a unique experience not available elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
In 2012 Belfast Philharmonic entered into a partnership with the National Youth Choir of Scotland. This provides opportunities for staff training and development as well as opportunities for singers to participate in some NYCoS activities. The musicianship programme uses the ABRSM accredited ‘Going for Gold’ resources developed by NYCoS using Kodály principles.
There are now four choirs:
• Phil Kids - ages 7-11 (P4-P7)
• Phil Youth Choir – young people aged 11-14 singing in three parts
• Phil Youth Ensemble – young people aged 14-17 singing in three parts
• Belfast Philharmonic Chamber Choir – a four part mixed voice choir of young people aged 15 – 22
Phil Kids recruits each May and June through workshops with P3 and P4 children.
Young people in the Youth and Chamber choirs are re-assessed annually in September. Enquiries from interested young people are welcomed.
The aims of the choir are to encourage singing to the best of the singer’s ability; to learn to read music and to develop and train the voice. The emphasis is on singing for fun, and on the establishment of good pitching and a good ear using the Kodály Method, a plan for young singers developed in Hungary by the composer Zoltan Kodály. Musicanship sessions take the form of small groups with pitching and rhythm games. Principles of sol-fa and notation reading are introduced.