Year seven pupils at Emerson Park Academy rehearsing for the music competition

Emerson Park Academy, Hornchurch: X Factor’s Joe Cox to help school houses go head-to-head in singing competition

Thursday, November 8, 2012
9.50 AM

Visitors to Emerson Park Academy might be surprised to find year seven students taking part in a “house music” competition.

But the youngsters aren’t involved in a 1990s dance music revival – rather, the music department is pitting the four school houses against each other in a singing contest that will be judged by some big names.

X Factor performer Joe Cox, of Upminster, will join YouTube Rn’B singer Kurt Collins and singing teacher Caitlin Downie from Havering Music School judging the competition later this month.

It’s a move to get schoolchildren interested in singing at an early stage, according to Emma Hignett, head of music and performing arts at the Hornchurch school.

“I was trying to think of a way of getting kids involved in music,” she said. “I wanted to get rid of that horrible stigma that goes with being involved with singing, and so I decided to hold a competition.

“They’re all going to sing a compulsory number, which is ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis, and each head of house has chosen a second number that’s individual and specific to their house.”

The four houses – Brunel, Cavell, Hepworth and Redgrave – will go head-to-head in an all-star show accompanied by a live band on November 23. One hundred and forty-five tickets have already been sold to parents, pupils and staff.

“I wanted to try and change the culture in the school,” Mrs Hignett added, “so when we start auditioning for our production of Bugsy Malone there won’t be that stigma attached to singing.”

The houses’ own chosen songs include Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, chosen by the Brunel house, and a unique mash-up of Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Maroon 5’s “Payphone”, put together by the Redgrave house.