Calderdale school choir takes inspiration from acapella group Pentatonix as it shakes-up repertoire

Charlie Rhodes has joined Rastrick High School as Director of Choirs
Charlie Rhodes has joined Rastrick High School as Director of Choirs

A young teacher has exciting plans to shake-up the repertoire of an award-winning group of choirs at a Rastrick school to help encourage more students to sing.

Charles Rhodes, 26, has joined Rastrick High School as Teacher of Singing and Director of Choirs, following the recent retirement of Alison Pryce-Jones who held the role for 20 years.

Mr Rhodes, the school’s youngest-ever choirmaster, will work with students to build on the award-winning choirs’ musical repertoires through the introduction of new and progressive music genres.

Read: The Alps have arrived in Halifax as Christmas pop-up comes to The Piece Hall
He said: “It’s fantastic that there are already around 100 students singing across Junior, Senior, Chamber and Boys’ choirs at Rastrick, in addition to our Full School choir.

“The five choirs play a huge part in the school’s dedication to delivering an outstanding music provision, and it is an honour to be able to take over the reins from Mrs Pryce-Jones.

“I have some exciting plans in mind that’ll see the students experimenting with new singing styles and music genres. I’m a huge fan of acapella pop, so we’ll be taking inspiration from the likes of The Pentatonix who are setting YouTube alight at the moment with acapella versions of hits like Havana by Camila Cabello.

Read: Public backing for ambitious A629 bridge plan from Elland bypass
"In my experience, at secondary school the key is to get year seven students singing as soon as possible to encourage them to continue the singing they’ve done in primary school. That means we must provide great performance opportunities and inspiring and engaging music to encourage them to get involved.

“Students who get the opportunity to take part in group activities like choir, orchestras and drama are able to build self-confidence and develop a strong sense of self-worth which they then carry over into other subjects.”

Steve Evans, headteacher at Rastrick High School, said: “I am delighted to welcome Charlie to the school and look forward to working with him to maintain the excellent reputation of our choirs. This is a crucial appointment and attracting someone with Charlie’s energy and engagement underlines our commitment to music at Rastrick.

"Charlie brings a range of skills and experience which will be vital as we continue our ambitious plans to grow and develop the music provision in our school.”

In the last 12 months, Rastrick High School’s choirs have performed with The Yorkshire Regiment Band, Halifax Young Singers, and Brighouse and Rastrick Band. This year, its Junior Choir won its class at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival and its Full School and Senior choirs were placed first and second respectively in the festival’s Senior Youth class.

Read: Plans for 113 homes on land around Rastrick fire station