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Seclusion Discs – Saffron van Zwanenberg

Seclusion Discs – Saffron van Zwanenberg

We have asked our tutors while they are marooned in isolation what 8 tracks mean the most to them, so we can share some new listening ideas with you and find out a bit more about them.

First up is our Artistic Director and tutor on two of our courses for singers, Saffron van Zwanenberg. She says:

“This was really hard! I started by making a list of all of the music I couldn’t live without, but that was far too long, so I tried to narrow it down chronologically based on music that has influenced me in some way throughout my life. Unsurprisingly perhaps, there is quite a lot of opera…

Track 1: “Here’s a How De Do” from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan (D’Oyly Carte Company)
Not a very cool choice…My grandparents were huge G&S fans and my earliest musical memory is them taking me to see the Mikado, I think I was about 4, I loved it and still do. They also named all of their pets after G&S characters, so Buttercup the dog and Pish Tush the cat were a big part of my childhood.

Track 2: Trio from Norma – Bellini (Caballé, Sutherland and Pavarotti)
I grew up abroad and had limited access to music, so it was mostly through tapes (cassette tapes!) that my parents had brought with us, which included all of the Decca Pavarotti/ Sutherland recordings which I would sing along with great gusto (and very little technique!) and I have loved Joan and Pav all of my life. This was a particular favourite for all of us, so much so that my Dad made it our answerphone message for years.

Track 3: “O Soave Fanciulla” from La bohème – Puccini (Pavarotti & Freni)
When we moved back to my home town of Newcastle I was lucky enough to go to many performances by Scottish Opera who were at the time the main touring company in the North.

I saw all sorts and I remember realising that opera had the ability to move me more than anything else I had experienced. La bohème is just one of those pieces, I know it so well now, I always think it won’t get me, but at the end I am always crying.

Track 4: “Glitter and be Gay” from Candide – Bernstein (Barbara Cook)
This was another of the Scottish Opera productions, and the moment I heard this was pretty much the moment I decided to become an opera singer…not sure what that says!

Track 5: Die Junge Nonne- Schubert (Felicity Lott/ Graham Johnson)
I didn’t get as much exposure to song as I had to opera until I went to music college, and then I discovered Schubert, who had the same effect on me as Puccini, and still does.

Track 6: Final Chorus from Radamisto – Handel
This was such a difficult one to narrow down, assuming I couldn’t just put Handel and everything he wrote! I chose this in the end not because it is one of his greatest moments but because it means something to me. When I was at the RCM we were fortunate at the time to do an opera with the Handel Society every year. In my final year on the opera course we did Radamisto and I can still remember the feeling of happiness singing this chorus at the end having successfully navigated (survived!) the whole piece alongside some great friends.

Track 7: “Tutto nel mondo è burla” from Falstaff – Verdi
For being simply the best ending to an opera ever, and my favourite opera to boot.

Track 8: Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart (Sir Colin Davis)
Had to have some Mozart, but again found almost impossible to narrow down. I chose this because it makes me feel such anticipation of exciting things yet to happen and it also marked a massive highlight in my career when I conducted it for one of Jackdaws’ projects, Song Story, involving 5 SEND schools, around 80 young people playing it on a range of things you could blow, shake and whack alongside a group of professional instrumentalists, and it was one of the best feelings I have ever had!

We’ve removed deposits

We’ve removed deposits

We’ve made a few changes to the way you register for courses on our website.

    We’ve removed the need to pay a deposit
    Register a no-obligation ‘Note of Interest’

We've removed depositsThis means, if there’s a course that you’ve been thinking about booking on, we understand your hesitation. We want to make it easier for you to let us know that you’d like to come on a course, but we understand that no one knows how things will look in a few months time.

So, you can now submit a ‘Note of Interest’ on our website, which is kept up-to-date with the latest news, or a quick note by email, with no obligation and no deposit required. Just let us know you are considering it, and we’ll contact you if we are able to offer the course.

Remote Learning with Jackdaws

Remote Learning with Jackdaws

This is a time of great change for everyone, and the loss of routine and opportunity to engage with others creatively can be difficult to handle. We have adapted two of our projects to help people to access them remotely so you can still engage in creative activities.

Arts Award
Arts Award LogoCalling young people who have lost the routine of taking exams or may be missing their normal creative outlets – let Jackdaws support you to earn a qualification from quarantine! Arts Award is run by Trinity College, London which provides framework for young people to learn and develop their creativity and leadership skills; it is expressive, valuable, accessible for all and does not require any specialist skills.

Register for free and use the schemes of work to complete tasks in your own time. We will offer support and advice where we can. There is a fee of around £35 for the moderation process, run by Trinity College, to gain the final certification (this process is currently not available because of Covid-19 but there is no time limit on completing the award, so can be submitted when they are up and running again).

For more details, visit our Arts Award page

e-Piano Club
Our monthly Piano Club was a place where pianists of all abilities could come together, have coffee and play for each other in a relaxed environment. In place of this, we are starting an e-Piano Club online using Zoom.

Video conferencing will allow people from across the world to come together to play anything from a work in progress to a full piece. All you need is a tablet, smartphone or computer, and a piano. Details of the meeting will be sent out each week.

Visit our e-Piano Club webpage for more details.

Covid-19 statement

Covid-19 statement

We are of course monitoring and are well aware of the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid 19, and the new guidance issued by the Government.

Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff, participants and colleagues. We had already taken steps to reschedule/amend some of our work and are continuing to do so. If you are a participant, tutor or school directly affected by this you will have received or very shortly be receiving some information about what this means for you.

This is a very challenging time and will have a serious impact on the arts in general and on Jackdaws. If you are able to support us by not asking for refunds/ making a donation as we navigate these unprecedented waters we would be hugely grateful.

Look after yourselves and we will be doing everything we can to continue to bring music to life through these extraordinary times.

Saffron van Zwanenberg
Artistic Director

Year of Bassoon with the Genovia Quartet

Year of Bassoon with the Genovia Quartet

Genovia at Old Cleeve School

For the past week, Jackdaws have been on the road with the Genovia Bassoon Quartet visiting schools and music groups across the whole of Somerset. The four Bassoonists, who are based in Glasgow and have travelled to Somerset for the project, are giving a whole-school concert at every school, and workshops for smaller groups of instrumental players. Players from the workshops will all come together in March and perform en masse at the Grand Finale Concert alongside Genovia at Frome’s Cheese & Grain.

6 days, 19 concerts in schools, over 200 children in workshops, and 4 bassoons!

Genovia Quartet said, “We are so grateful to Jackdaws for inviting us to be a part of The Year of Bassoon 2020. We have been fortunate to work with hundreds of talented young musicians from groups of 30 ukeleles to string sections, brass bands and percussion ensembles. It has been a real privilege to introduce the bassoon to so many through interactive music making and fun activities, and we hope we have inspired them as much as they have us.

“We are so looking forward to returning on 24 March for our Grand Finale Performance at the Cheese & Grain! Thank you to Jackdaws and all of Somerset for making Genovia Quartet feel so welcome!”

The Genovia Bassoon QuartetJackdaws award-winning project, The Year of… is now in its eighth year, and introduces children to a different instrument or chamber ensemble each time. Starting in 2012 with the Carducci String Quartet, we have also worked with percussionist Joby Burgess, the Onyx Brass Quintet, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo and international recorder virtuosos Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus.

In 2017, the project was named the Best Classical Music Education Initiative by the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.

The Genovia Quartet is a dynamic young bassoon ensemble formed of four graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. From their first performance together in 2015, this quartet has had a strong musical bond and close friendship which translates into exciting and spirited performances. Their desire to share their fun together with their audiences is obvious and is helping the group establish its reputation both in the UK and abroad.

Sound Foundation Somerset LogoThe Year of Bassoon is sponsored by Sound Foundation Somerset.

Music for 0-5s at Jackdaws

Music for 0-5s at Jackdaws

Music SessionsJackdaws are running a series of fun and educational music classes for babies and toddlers, using singing games, movement and rhymes to inspire a lifelong love of music.

Our simple songs, singing games and rhymes will introduce musical concepts like tempo, dynamics, rhythm and pitch, giving parents and carers ways to connect, encourage creativity and musically play with their under 5s.

Starting after Easter, sessions run weekly at Jackdaws in Great Elm from Monday 20th April, 10-11am with cafe on site and free parking. In our beautiful setting at Jackdaws’ beautiful Lehane Wishart garden studio overlooking the Rose Garden with a large outside area to play and learn in, we’ll feel close to nature as we sing and dance together, led by Eliza Wylie.

The Jackdaws cafe will also be open for tea, coffee and cake.

Eliza WylieEliza has been teaching music and dance to people of all ages since 2002. Her groups use a mixture of unaccompanied songs and rhymes, some of which will be familiar, and some will be new. As well as using our voices we also do a lot of moving; wiggling, swishing through the air, bouncing and clapping so children and parents quickly understand how to listen for and move to the beat. Our aim is for our children to start singing, continue singing, and never to develop a complex about not being able to sing. 
We use no backing tracks, and songs are easy to learn and sing; simple enough for toddlers to take home and become part of their play and musical learning.
Sessions are £6 drop in, or £45 for the series of 9 (£5 per session – a saving of 17%). For more information and online book visit The Eggs Music Page
Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas with Jackdaws

SOLD OUT! Sorry!
Our annual Christmas concert takes place on Wednesday 18 December at 6:30pm in the beautiful church of St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm, and we invite you to join us.

Mince Pies by Neil Cummings https://www.flickr.com/photos/chanceprojects/Featuring performances from…

• Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg
• Baritone Owain Browne *JUST ANNOUNCED*
• Jackdaws Songbirds
• Jack’s Music Club
• Congregational Carols
• To the piano accompaniment of Colin Hunt

With Mulled wine and mince pies, this charming evening celebration reflects all the faces of Jackdaws musical activities.

All seating is unreserved. The concert should last approximately 2 hours.

Tickets
SOLD OUT!

Wednesday 18 December, 6:30pm (doors open 6pm)
St Mary Magdalene Church, Great Elm

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

During the Winners’ announcement, Sir John Tomlinson, one of the judges, addressed the finalists and said of their recitals, “Thank you for eight excellent performances. You have given us a lot of pleasure and it was difficult reaching a decision.” Philip Fowke, who had also been judging, also described his “great pleasure” at listening to the afternoon of performances.

The Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are:
First Place
Harriet Burns, Soprano

Second Place
Annabel Kennedy, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Place
Caroline Taylor, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Ana Manastireanu, playing for Annabel Kennedy

Audience Prize
Rebecca Leggett, Mezzo-Soprano

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards: 2019 Finalists

The final will be held at the Wigmore Hall, Thursday 14 November, 1-4pm. Adjudicated by Sir John Tomlinson, Emma Bell, Michael Dussek and Chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

One Day Courses this Autumn

One Day Courses this Autumn

Our One Day Courses are open to musicians and non-musicians of all abilities. Running from 10:30am – 4pm, the price includes lunch and tuition, and welcome coffee from 10am. They give the same high-quality tuition you expect at Jackdaws, without taking up a whole weekend.

Lehane-Wishart Studio at JackdawsSinging for the Over Fifties
Penny Jenkins
Sat 30 November

When we ensure that our voices are used correctly, we can continue to enjoy all the benefits that singing brings to our lives as we get older. Penny’s inspirational course is for singers of all abilities, with no upper age limit!
Read more…

Healing with the Voice
Anne Bourne
Sun 1 December

Opera Singer, Teacher and Sound Healer – Anne Bourne gives an introduction to the healing power of your voice. She will encourage you to find your true voice and unlock its healing potential to transform mind, body and spirit. Bring a yoga mat/blanket and notepad.
Read more…

One Day Courses cost £45, including lunch and refreshments.

Understanding Your Voice
Jess Walker

Sat 7 December

With key breathing and vocal exercises to help you develop a healthy and more secure vocal technique, Voice coach Jessica Walker will help you to increase your confidence as a singer and get the most out of your voice.
Read more…

From Panic to Poise
Wendy Skeen
Sun 8 December

Performing can be a deeply enriching experience, yet many musicians experience anxiety when performing in public. Wendy will introduce you to practical strategies drawn from Cognitive Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help manage this anxiety.
Read more…

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