Friday Afternoons is a UK-wide and international singing project led by the Suffolk-based arts organisation Snape Maltings which has got more than 80,000 young people singing since its launch in 2013.

It was originally conceived as the culmination of the worldwide 2013 Britten centenary celebrations, taking its name from the set of simple songs the composer wrote for his brother’s school to sing every Friday. Each year Friday Afternoons commissions a new set of songs, over time creating a significant resource of songs especially written for young people’s voices. Now in its fifth year, the annual project champions the joy of collective singing and encourages as many young people as possible to join in. Composer Luke Styles has written this year’s new set with librettist Alan McKendrick which were premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in June.

This year’s Big Sing at Snape Maltings is led by 15 musicians from the Voces Cantabiles Music Foundation, including internationally renowned a cappella ensembles VOCES8 and Apollo5 plus their scholars. 800 students from 21 schools across Suffolk, including primary, high and special educational needs schools, will participate in massed singing activity at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, in the year of its 50th anniversary, performing songs from the Song Bank including pieces by: Luke Styles, Jonathan Dove (2016), Nico Muhly (2015), Gwyneth Herbert, Jason Yarde (2014) and Benjamin Britten’s original songs for Friday Afternoons. In addition, the event will see performances by the professionals and workshops in breakout spaces, using the Friday Afternoons resources as a starting point and encouraging young people to respond creatively.

All the resources to learn the songs, including scores, recordings, teaching resources and interactive material from Charanga, are available to download free of charge from the Friday Afternoons website

Participants already involved in Friday Afternoons this year come from all parts of the country including Music Education Hubs, schools and arts organisations from Nottingham, Saffron Walden, Sevenoaks, Aberdeenshire, Wakefield, Ryedale and London.

Viewers will be able to watch a selection of the performances taking place across the UK on the Friday Afternoons website at a later date.


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