Big Sing comes to Ursuline


By Keran Reilly, Headteacher of Ursuline Academy Ilford


On Wednesday 22nd November, Ursuline students from seven Ursuline schools came together for the “BIG SING- LITURGY THING”. The event organised by the Ursuline Academy Ilford was held in St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church Ilford and saw a mixture of Year 6 and 7 students coming together for a feast of music, song, prayer, sign-language dance & liturgy led by CJM Music.  

CJM Music (led by songwriter, musician and lead vocalist Jo Boyce) has over twenty years’ experience of leading music and liturgy in a variety of settings, with people of all ages – especially working in schools across the UK.


The event involved a full band, two dancers, audio-visual presentation and a two-man tech crew who had travelled down from Birmingham and beyond for the event.  The day’s programme began at 10:30am with introductions welcoming students from all three Ursuline Prep Schools in Brentwood, Ilford and Wimbledon and four Ursuline secondary schools; St. Angela’s Forest Gate, St. Ursula’s Greenwich, Ursuline High School Wimbledon and Ursuline Academy Ilford.  It was the first time our Ursuline schools had collaborated on a Liturgical event and it was a roaring success giving our young people experience of vibrant, dynamic worship.

Reviews from the girls were very positive:

“The Big Sing was a fantastic opportunity to meet all the Ursuline schools.  It was a great way to socialise but also sing our hearts out and praise the Lord.  It was THE BIG SING LITURGY THING!”

“The Big Sing was a wonderful experience and I was glad to have been a part of it.  Meeting Jo, the band and the other Ursuline schools was amazing and I now feel inspired to learn more Christian music.  I am grateful to have been involved in the Big Sing!”

“The Big Sing was a superb and an unforgettable experience.  It was an amazing opportunity for the Ursuline Schools to come together joined by our musical talents, in the presence of God.  I look forward to many more of these opportunities similar to this one!”

“The Big Sing was a fun and joyful experience that got everyone on their feet, jumping and singing.  Jo Boyce and her group taught us a few outstanding hymns and the importance of our names.  God has a special name for us all that defines who we are.  Overall, I’m sure everyone enjoyed their time at the Big Sing and learnt more about themselves as well as meeting other Ursulines.”


For the afternoon liturgy, we were thrilled to be joined by several Ursuline sisters including the Provincial Sister Kathleen Colmer.  Sadly, there are no longer any Ursuline sisters working in our schools but they continue to give their support by attending school events and serving on governing bodies.

On this occasion, the event was fully funded by the Ursuline’s and we were all grateful for their generosity.  Sister Kathleen spoke at the end to thank CJM for leading an inspiring and truly uplifting day.  It was a day we will all remember and a great way to celebrate St. Cecilia’s day, the Patron Saint of Music.  We are already planning how we can collaborate again.  It is great for our students to recognise that they are part of a worldwide family of Ursuline schools united by our motto, Serviam.