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Friday Afternoons set to create a global singing success in celebration of Britten

  • Date: 22 November 2013
  • Area: South East
Children singing at the launch of Friday Afternoons

Children singing at the launch of Friday Afternoons. Credit: Aldeburgh Music, Eamonn McCabe

This Friday (22 November) more than 100,000 children from across the world will come together to sing Friday Afternoons in celebration of Benjamin Britten, who composed this simple set of 12 songs between 1933 and 1935.

The year-long project was conceived by Aldeburgh Music and is one of the largest events taking place in celebration of Benjamin Britten's contribution to music, education and his dedication to encouraging more children and young people to sing. Friday Afternoons is part of the Britten Centenary Celebrations, which is supported by Arts Council England's Britten Centenary commissioned grant.

Originally aimed at bringing together schools and music groups from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - enthusiasm for the project quickly spread, attracting a global audience. As a result, Friday Afternoons will now include children singing from China to Greece and Australia to the USA - as well and thousands of children from the UK.

The culmination of the project will take place on the 100th anniversary of Britten's birth, 22 November 2013, and will start in Melbourne, Australia at 03:00 (GMT). Performance and events will continue through the day until 22:00 (GMT) with a final performance in Santa Monica, California, USA.

Footage from events around the world will be streamed live on the Friday Afternoons website, giving audiences the chance to get involved with the project no matter where they are - as long as they have a suitable device and an internet connection!

Friday Afternoons has been a significant part of the wider Britten Centenary Celebrations and through this project Aldeburgh Music has been supported by a wide range of some of the UK's leading arts organisations including: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, Glyndebourne, Sage Gateshead, Symphony Hall Birmingham and Welsh National Opera; as well as local Music education hubs and schools.

In addition to the main element of the project, there has also been an associated composition competition for under-18 composers to set two lyrics specially written by Anthony Horowitz.