Choirs from 20 schools in England and Wales have been selected to be part of the ceremonies that will officially welcome teams to Rugby World Cup 2015.
The 20 successful choirs were chosen following an application process that was led by Youth Sport Trust. They will feature in ceremonies that will also include the formal presentation of official Tournament caps and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medals.
A total of 116 applications were submitted and the high standard resulted in a competitive judging process which was carried out by Tournament organisers, England Rugby 2015 and the Youth Sport Trust.
Managing Director of England Rugby 2015 Stephen Brown said: "We were really pleased with the response that we got from schools wanting to be part of the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. The standard of the applications was very high and I would like to thank all schools that took the time to apply.
"We now have 20 excellent choirs from across England and Wales that will help us to welcome the competing teams to the Tournament and make it a celebration of the local community."
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver added: "We are very excited to be able to offer this unique opportunity for schools to be involved in the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. We hope that it will impact not only the pupils performing, but the whole school to engage with the tournament in a way that inspires learning.
"The Youth Sport Trust is delighted to support and work with England Rugby 2015 and we look forward to seeing great creativity in the school performances."
The successful schools are a mixture of state and private schools with both primary and secondary age groups involved. The choirs vary in size from 18 to 50 pupils and perform in a range of musical styles, including choral and gospel. Each choir has been asked to sing the official Rugby World Cup song, World in Union, during the ceremonies that will officially welcome the 20 teams to the Tournament.
The successful schools are:
- Chestnuts Primary School from Bletchley, Milton Keynes, will welcome Samoa in Brighton
- The Maynard School from Exeter will welcome Australia in Bath
- Westdene Primary School from Brighton will welcome Japan in Brighton
- St Aubyn's School from South Woodford, Essex, will welcome Romania in London
- Eastbourne College will welcome South Africa in Eastbourne
- The Queen's Church of England Primary School, Richmond, will welcome Italy in London
- Trinity School from Croydon will welcome France in London
- Longcroft School from Beverley, East Yorkshire, will welcome England in London
- Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen from Bethesda, Gwynedd in Wales, will welcome Canada in Swansea
- Bishop's Cleeve Primary Academy from Cheltenham will welcome Tonga in Cheltenham
- Queen Elizabeth's School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will welcome USA in Portsmouth
- Thurstable School from Colchester, Essex, will welcome Fiji in London
- St Brendan's Sixth Form College from Bristol, will welcome Georgia in Bristol
- St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School from Reigate will welcome Wales in London
- Isbourne Valley School from Gloucestershire will welcome Scotland in Gloucester
- Hawthorn Primary School from Pontypridd Wales, will welcome Uruguay in Cardiff
- Chase Bridge Primary School from Twickenham will welcome Namibia in London
- St Angela's Ursuline School from Forest Gate, London, will welcome New Zealand in London
- Alderman's Green Primary School from Coventry will welcome Ireland in Burton Upon Trent
- Haileybury School from Hertford will welcome Argentina in Hertford
Rugby Development Director of the RFU Steve Grainger said: "Schools across the nation are eagerly looking forward to Rugby World Cup 2015 and it is fantastic to see such a wide range of them playing an active role in the Welcome Ceremonies.
"We are working hard to expose more schools to Rugby Union and its values, encouraging students to watch games, take up the sport and join local clubs. Through our All Schools programme we will have 400 more secondary schools playing Rugby by the time the Tournament starts, over 1,000 have signed up so far to the online schools resource pack linked to the Tournament and there has been a great response from schools to the Festival of Rugby, which will run from 10 June until 31 October."
Headteacher of Longcroft School Mr Ian O'Donnell, which will be welcoming England, said: "Longcroft School is thrilled to be part of this prestigious international event. Alongside other successes, the school has a long history of both sporting and musical achievements, which makes welcoming the England Rugby team all the more special. We are very proud of our Gospel Choir, which continues to go from strength to strength. Everyone at Longcroft wishes them luck and will be flying the flag for England, as they compete against other teams from around the world in Rugby World Cup 2015."
Head of Music at Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen Hefin Evans, who will be welcoming Canada, said: "Such an event as Rugby World Cup 2015 is eagerly anticipated in Bethesda. As might be expected, the whole area, as well as the school pupils, is fanatical in support for the Welsh Rugby team! The choir were ecstatic when they discovered that they had been selected to take part in one of the Welcoming Ceremonies. Such an opportunity is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. As the music teacher, I have decided that controlling their enthusiasm is an impossible job therefore we will all embrace the opportunity to perform with passion and joy."
The venues for the ceremonies will be announced in the coming months. For more information on England Rugby 2015, click here