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Striking the Right Note

With her stunning singing voice 15-year-old LEH student Catherine James, who was a finalist in the BBC's Young Chorister of the Year, is helping to raise money for our Bursary Fund.

11 Nov 2020
School News

We are incredibly grateful that she and her 13-year-old brother William, have donated 50 copies of their album ‘Over The Rainbow’ to us.  All proceeds from their sale will go directly to our fund, which currently supports 58 students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend LEH.

Please show her your support by buying one for £9.99 on our 'Give Back' page here.   We will be able to send out the CDs after the official release date of 4 December 2020.  They would make a wonderful Christmas present for any fan of classical cross over music. 

The talented siblings have always enjoyed music but haven’t really sung together until lockdown. Catherine says that singing not only makes them feel really positive but also brings a sense of calm.  They were inspired to record the album after deciding to sing ‘Over The Rainbow’ together, as a thank you to the NHS and key workers for their sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The album also features many of their favourite choral, classical and popular songs, specially selected to be uplifting for people during the pandemic. Other tracks include ‘Pie Jesu’, ‘Lord of all Hopefulness’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’.

Catherine says: “I think it was our similar chorister and vocal training, but contrasting sibling voices, that appealed to the label.” Both she and her brother, who attends Kings College School in Wimbledon, were BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister Finalists last year and both study voice at The Royal Academy of Music.

She adds: “Duets were written especially for us by George Arthur (the great grandson of Ralph Vaughan Williams) who works with the label, so that was a real honour. We were enormously fortunate to receive vocal coaching for the album from Malcolm Archer, the ex-organist and director of music at St. Paul’s and Wells Cathedrals, and to work with Sarah Butcher who plays cello with the London Mozart Players.”

Catherine and William usually hold a charity music concert each Spring in Hampton, in aid of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, but it was obviously cancelled this year due to lockdown, so they have decided to use this CD project instead to raise funds for them, but also for Princess Alice Hospice and the LEH Bursary Fund. Catherine says: “We were concerned when we heard on the local news in March that our local hospices were facing possible closure as a result of the pandemic.  We are keen to support them as well as expressing our thanks to the NHS.”

She goes on to explain: “As well as helping those facing hardship during the pandemic, our donation of CDs was a way of us saying thank you to our schools and our music teachers for all their help and encouragement with our music. We hope the CD can bring people a little cheer, comfort and peace during these difficult times, as well as supporting our charities and schools as best we can through some of its sales.”

The Bursary Fund is the cornerstone of LEH’s fundraising efforts.  The school’s ambition is to make the opportunity of an LEH education available to any bright girl who wishes to attend, regardless of her family’s financial circumstances.  Having a diverse mix of pupils enriches learning and benefits all students as well as the wider school community.

Last year applications for support increased by more than 50% and current circumstances mean that need is likely to be even more acute in the coming months and years.  LEH has set itself the ambitious target of providing 100 bursary places by 2025.  We are very grateful to all our supporters.  Please show us and Catherine James your support by buying a copy of ‘Over The Rainbow’.

‘Over The Rainbow’, which has been made by Convivium Records, will be on sale from 4th December.  It is available through all the usual digital channels (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Naxos UK/US). To buy your copy of the CD, please click here.

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