The School has brought together pupils, parents, teachers and alumni – including some stellar professional singers – to raise their voices and lift their spirits as part of a virtual choir.

Members of the whole School community were invited to learn one part of Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre, choosing from the soprano, alto, tenor or bass parts, then record a video or audio file of themselves performing it.

Former pupils taking part included baritone, Huw Montague Rendall, a 2018 graduate of the International Opera Studio Zürich and Jay Harris and James Miller of popular band The Manatees. They were joined by voices from across the breadth of the Ballard family, from the youngest pupils to grandparents and extended family, prospective pupils to governors and staff – including the Headmaster.

All the recordings were brought together to create one performance piece, conceived and produced in-house by music teachers, Victoria Gray and Barnaby Prangnell, which has now been shared with everyone in the school.

The finished piece includes more than 100 members of the Ballard community singing together in beautiful harmony. Along with footage of the singers, it also includes pupils dancing and clips of some of the activities children and families have been busy with during lockdown.

The project was inspired by Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir projects, which have included a composite piece created with some 8,000 singers from around the world performing Fly to Paradise. Ballard’s choir had also performed the piece for the school previously – so it was the clear choice for their own virtual singing project.

Victoria Gray, Head of Performing Arts, said:

“Music and performing are such a big part of school life at Ballard School, so it was really important for us to try to continue that now.

“We might all be confined to our own homes for now, but we have still been able to share in an experience of making music together, which has been truly uplifting and rewarding – not to mention lots of fun. I commend all the pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school who took part.

“It was also particularly pleasing to see some of our alumni add their voices too, demonstrating the enduring strength of the Ballard family and how important that wider community is to the school.”

Headmaster, Andrew McCleave, said:

“I continue to be hugely impressed by the creativity and commitment of our fantastic team here at Ballard; they have risen to the considerable challenge presented by the closure of the school and the move to remote learning.

“We want to embrace all the possibilities technology offers, to innovate, try new things, to learn and adapt, so that we can maintain the excellence of our pupils’ learning experience, as well as the vitality of our school community. This project was one of the many successful ways we’re doing just that.”


Learn more about our School’s incredible Music offering here.