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Thomas Tallis and the Turbulent Tudors

Thomas Tallis and the Turbulent Tudors

Thomas Tallis and the Turbulent Tudors



In the summer of 2010, children from primary schools in York and Croydon worked with NCEM's learning team and members of The Sixteen to develop their singing voices and to explore sacred music from Tudor England.

During the project, young people learned a number of songs, ranging from Gregorian chant to a Tudor anthem. They have learned about composer Thomas Tallis, who managed to retain his position as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal during the turbulent years of the Reformation, composing music for four successive kings and queens.

Workshops culminated with concerts in Croydon Parish Church on Friday 14 May and at York Minster on 16 July. The concerts were presented by Cathryn Dew, from the National Centre for Early Music, and featured members of the Sixteen, alongside 250 young people in Croydon and 200 children in York. Cathryn and the Sixteen transported the young people back 500 years to the times of the Tudor kings and queens and gave them the chance to learn about the effect the Reformation had on music written for churches at this time. The young people filled both the Minster and Croydon Parish Church with the sound of their voices and had the opportunity to enjoy the hearing this world-famous choir, and to experience the thrill of singing alongside them. 

Comments from the children involved included:

I learnt how to sing harmonies (girl aged 7)
I learned how to keep my voice calm and loved it all (girl aged 8)
The Sixteen is the best singing you will hear (boy aged 9)
The best thing about the project was when we heard the choir singing (boy aged 9)
I learnt how to sing Latin, and about the Tudors, but their voices were amazing (girl aged 9)
I learnt how to blend in with other people (girl aged 9)
I didn't know the Sixteen would be that good (girl aged 8)

The Croydon schools involved in the project were:

Whitgift School
Old Palace of John Whitgift School
Parish Church Junior School


The York schools involved were:

Park Grove Primary School
Fishergate Primary School
Dunnington CE Primary School
Hempland Primary School
New Earswick Primary School