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WATCH: Elrick school choir ‘makes history’ at national Glee competition

Months of dedication and perseverance from pupils paid off as they earned top spot at the contest.

After months of practice, 40 talented primary pupils from Aberdeenshire sang their hearts out to be crowned the victors at a national competition.

Elrick Primary School in Westhill earned the top spot at the Frisson Foundation’s Glee Challenge national finals last week.

The final round of the competition, which took place in Dundee’s Caird Hall, had 40 Elrick pupils from P6 and P7 performing two space-themed songs.

148 schools from across Scotland competed in the annual Glee choir competition – all with different songs and choreographed routines.

A glee choir, unlike a traditional choir, incorporates song and dance into their performances.

Months of dedication and perseverance from Elrick pupils

Nara Morrison said two of her children have performed in the Glee club, including her P7 son who was a part of the winning choir last week.

She said: “It feels like everyone is a part of something big. The kids just feel so proud of themselves. For the ones in P7, it’s like a happy goodbye to their primary school days.

“They practised week after week – my son would practise a lot at home too. Their dedication and perseverance was unbelievable.”

Nara also described the “brilliant atmosphere” at the national finals in Dundee.

“It didn’t matter what team was onstage, everyone was cheering and happy for each other. There was an atmosphere of celebration,” she said.

“What makes Glee so amazing is its whole idea of participation and inclusivity.”

students at elrick performing on stage
The Elrick team had to compete through regional heats to make it to the national final. Image: Frisson Foundation

Elrick Primary Glee club makes history

Lauren Wade, mum to a pupil in the Elrick choir, said: “It was really exciting – Elrick Primary have never made it to a national final before.

“Elrick performed last so there was a lot of build-up. All of us parents watching felt nervous and we had butterflies when we waited for the results.

“Third and second were announced, then we thought that we had a large chance of winning.”

The pupils performed two space-themed songs. Image: Frisson Foundation

The songs performed by the school were Major Tom (Coming Home), originally performed by Peter Schilling, and Shooting Star by Flip and Fill.

Major Tom (Coming Home) is a follow-up to David Bowie’s Space Oddity and continues the story of Major Tom, an astronaut who cuts off communication with earth and floats into space.

Lauren added that the glee choir is a “huge deal” for all the kids at the school. The club is limited to P6 and P7 pupils due to the large amount of interest, and they have even had to start holding internal auditions for competing in the Glee Challenge.

This year, 63 children underwent a constructive audition process for 40 places in the choir.

Elrick primary teacher is ‘amazing’

Jenny Anderson and trophies
Depute headteacher Jenny Anderson has led the club for seven years.

Depute head teacher Jenny Anderson has led the club for seven years, but this was the first time the team have reached the national finals.

“I’m so glad Jenny finally got recognised. She’s been absolutely fantastic and has organised the club for years,” Lauren added.

“She has been so amazing, especially as she uses her free time after school for practice sessions.

Nara said: “So many kids want to be a part of this as it really is something special. The way Jenny communicates with pupils and makes them want to unite around each other is amazing.

“She has really strong values when it comes to teamwork.”

Jenny Anderson said: “I’ve been leading the group ever since Glee has been going on in Aberdeenshire, so since 2017, and have absolutely loved it.

“The pupils make me really proud. They’re all keen to do well and they always surpass my expectations.

“Leading the choir brings together my passion of building pupils into a team, as well as helping them build their motivation and confidence to perform.”

Elrick pupils outside before the competition
The pupils have spent months practising in preparation for the competition.

Frisson Foundation creating opportunities for children

When the Frisson Foundation started the Glee Challenge several years ago, there were only four Aberdeenshire schools who took part. The competition is now so popular that there are over 40 north-east schools involved.

Jenny said: “The Frisson Foundation provide such a good opportunity for children. The amazing team volunteer to run the Glee Challenge for schools each year.”

Teachers from the school who aren’t affiliated with the choir even made the trip down to Dundee support the pupils.

Jenny Anderson is now stepping down as choir leader, and passing on the role to teacher Robyn Smith who has previously helped with the group.