JOY in my Heart! was an entertaining evening of community unity, celebration and, of course, singing! It was organised and hosted by Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET), which has 25 primary schools and five secondary schools in East Durham, South Tyneside and Sunderland, as the finale of its three-year Journeys of Hope project to help people connect with each other and rejoice together.

Pupils from across the Trust’s schools, friends and local community groups performed at the event, held last night [Thursday, 23rd November] at Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring.

Our Journeys of Hope project culminated with this special event, an unforgettable night of singing, connecting and rejoicing,” said Brendan Tapping, CEO of BCCET.

It was wonderful to see all our pupils working together with our parishes and wider communities to share their Joy, and most timely ahead of the festive season. Thanks must go to everyone involved in this wonderful event, in particular our Creative Director, Mike McGrother and his band the Wildcats of Kilkenny.

Siersha Mason, age 9, from St. Leonard’s Catholic Primary School in Sunderland said, “I was really excited about the event, we have been rehearsing for a while. I was really looking forward to it. I liked singing ‘Join the Caravan’ best. It has been fun to work with the other schools.

Excerpts of the Trust’s new Gaudete Mass Setting were also shared at the event sung by pupils from the Trust’s five secondary schools, St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, Sunderland, St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, Sunderland, St Bede’s Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form College, Peterlee, St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Hebburn, and St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields.

Gaudete, which means rejoice, was the result of more than a year’s work with acclaimed composer Will Todd, who worked with pupils from across the Trust’s schools to write the music for the new Mass Setting.

Journeys of Hope is a Trust-wide, community project, which has included We’ll Meet Again for VE Day in May 2020, sung by the Trust’s virtual choir; Angels We Have Heard on High in December 2020, sung by the Trust’s virtual choir; and Footsteps into Paradise in July 2022, held at Durham Cathedral.

For more information, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.