A New Year Carol from Steve Bowles on Vimeo.

New Dimensions participated in Friday Afternoons, an international singing project led by Aldeburgh Music as part of the Britten Centenary celebrations.

New Dimensions is delighted to release A New Year Carol, a short film documenting their project with pupils from Siskin Junior School in Rowner, Gosport. For this project, the children sing Britten’s New Year Carol, a British folk song of Welsh origin that the composer set to music in 1934. A New Year Carol celebrates music and how it can be used to inspire and motivate young people in a vulnerable community. Students were able to learn a piece of music and build up to a performance for family and friends at their local community centre.

A New Year Carol was a piece originally associated with a New Year's Day custom involving sprinkling people with water newly drawn from a well, symbolising new beginnings. Rowner has been identified as a deprived area within Hampshire, and is currently the focus of a major regeneration project, so the song was very appropriate for the pupils of Siskin, as Head of School Fey Wood reflects:

Rowner, as a community, is undergoing a major regeneration at the moment, because it is very vulnerable as a whole. As such, it is hugely important that we serve the community within educational excellence. Hampshire Music Hub ensures that every single one of our children has opportunity to sing or to learn to play an instrument, and that gives them an amazing experience on so many different levels. New Year Carol by definition really is about new beginnings, a new start, new growth, which is very much what Siskin and the Rowner regeneration is all about.

Children from Siskin Junior School in Gosport participated in the project, and will be featured in the film singing one of Britten’s Friday Afternoons songs. They also performed live at Turner Sims on 22 November 2013 as part of a unique event involving 300 local children. Taking place on Britten’s birth date, they joined tens of thousands of people participating nationally and internationally through a live streaming event which included schools and music groups from Australia, Greece, Germany, Italy and the United States.