Archive for November 2013

Jazz Jam at Jackdaws

Jazz Jam at Jackdaws

…with Ralf Dorrell

Have you ever wanted to have a go at playing Jazz, but didn’t know quite where to begin?
Try the Jazz Taster Day at Jackdaws on Sunday 15 December and let Ralf show you how it’s done!

In a relaxed, yet supportive environment, Ralf Dorrell will lead a day course for all; absolute beginners and musicians who have played a little jazz and would like to try more. Participants will be encouraged to have fun exploring all of the musical areas and skills required to play jazz, including- basic rhythms, melodies, harmony and improvisation. By the end of the day the target is for the group to be able to perform a couple of simple pieces together.

This course is suitable for any ability and all instrumentalists; this includes so-called “classical” instruments such as flute, violin, cello, etc, alongside more traditional jazz instruments; piano, trumpet, trombone, clarinet as so on.

A participant who attended the Jazz Day last year left the following feedback

“I just wanted to say I enjoyed the jazz course very much. Everyone there learnt something!”

Jackdaws Tutor Ralf DorrellRalf studied for his BMus at Sheffield University, a Masters’ in Composition from Bath Spa University and is working towards a PhD in Composition. He is very active on the South West music scene as a composer, performer (double bass, bass guitar and trombone), bandleader, ensemble director, lecturer, teacher and workshop tutor. He has been leading workshops on improvisation, composition and jazz since 1984. He also conducts Bath Community Big Band and is a tutor at The Jazz Factory, and Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.

His compositions have been performed on BBC Radio 3 and at venues including the Purcell Rooms, South Bank, London and St Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol. As a performer he has played at music festivals both in the UK (including Glastonbury and Edinburgh) and abroad (Le Mans Jazz Festival), and has performed on BBC Radios 2, 3 and 4 as well as on BBC1 and Channel 4 television.

For more information on Ralf, visit his website at

Join Ralf at Jackdaws on Sunday 15 December from 11am to 3pm for a break from the Christmas shopping and enjoy a day of Jolly Jazzy Joyfulness! Lunch is included in the fee of £35, home-cooked by Jackdaws wonderful cooks.

Click here to book your place

Jackdaws Christmas Concert

Jackdaws Christmas Concert


Christmas Concert by Candlelight Jackdaws Christmas Concert 2013

with Mulled wine and Mince Pies

Friday 20 December, 6:30pm
Great Elm Village Church

Tickets £10 in advance, £12 on the door

Celebrate Christmas with Jackdaws at the beautiful church at Great Elm.

Featuring performances from Jack’s Music Club, the Jackdaws Songbirds, Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011 Marta Fontanals-Simmons and seasonal roof raisers to ensure you start the Christmas holiday in a festive mood!

To book visit the booking page or call 01373 812383 or email

Snowy Jackdaws Sign

Christmas with Jackdaws

Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Jackdaws Christmas Robin

Jackdaws Christmas Robin

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg

Saffron van Zwanenberg

Click here to book tickets

Winter One Day Courses at Jackdaws

Winter One Day Courses at Jackdaws

Sing and Play away the winter blues at Jackdaws with a relaxed introductory taster session. These courses are for everyone whatever your ability.

Whether it is singing your favourite opera choruses as part of a group, or taking the first step into playing Jazz, there is something for everyone. With a first class lunch included, the sessions are informative and informal.

Penny Jenkins

Singing for the Over 50s

Penny Jenkins
Saturday 30 November
For the over 50s, or thereabouts, who are young at heart. Penny will help you use your voice in a safe and nurturing way; the singing voice can go on forever!

Jackdaws Tutor Tim Soar

Alexander Technique for Musicians

Tim Soar
Sunday 1 December
Offering a method for enhancing your performance through rediscovery of your natural poise and freedom of movement; Alexander Technique teaches us to co-ordinate our bodies, our awareness and our intentions before we play a single note.


Singing for Beginners

Jessica Walker
Saturday 7 December
Think you can’t sing a note? Scared to sing on your own? Always hiding at the back of the choir? In the space of just one day, you can become a more confident singer.

Eddie Upton of Folk South West

West Country Carols with Folk South West

Eddie Upton & Philippa Toulson
Sunday 8 December
Spend the day exploring seasonal music from the region’s rich heritage of beautiful folk music and encourage you to try a new style of singing.

Will Carslake

Come and Sing an Opera Chorus

William Carslake
Saturday 14 December
Back by popular demand – from the Brindisi to the Anvil Chorus, some of the most uplifting pieces of music are in the opera repertoire. No experience required!

Jackdaws Tutor Ralf Dorrell

How to Play Jazz

Ralf Dorrell
Sunday 15 December
Beginner and “had a go” Jazzers will have fun exploring all the musical skills required to play Jazz, including basic rhythms, melodies, harmony and improvisation.

All Courses are £35 and include a famous Jackdaws lunch.

Courses run from 11am – 3pm, including a break for lunch.
Courses are open to musicians of all abilities – no experience necessary.

A busy December for the Jackdaws Songbirds

A busy December for the Jackdaws Songbirds

Jackdaws SongbirdsThe Jackdaws Songbirds, led by Caroline Radcliffe, are working hard in rehearsals for a busy season of Christmas carols and festive songs. Look out for them at their upcoming concerts during December at the following places in and around Frome:

1 December
Frome Supermarket, Morning
Two performances over the course of the morning – the first outside the George Hotel and the second at the top of Cheap Street.

20 December
Jackdaws Christmas by Candlelight
Great Elm Church, 6:30pm
Tickets £10
Celebrate Christmas with Jackdaws at our annual Christmas Concert in the beautiful setting of Great Elm Village Church. Featuring performances from Jack’s Music Club, Jackdaws Songbirds and Jackdaws’ Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg. Plus, seasonal roof raisers to get you in the festive mood!

20 December
Acoustic Plus
Cheese & Grain, 8pm
Tickets £5
Gather your bunting and bring plenty of pies – it’s The Big Acoustic Plus Christmas Street Party!
Celebration and street-style entertainment, with the Frome Street Bandits, Cabaret Sans Frontières, Doctor Mephisto, choirs (carols?) and other jolly acts to help you dance your way into the holidays.
Eat, drink and be ready for plenty of surprises.

22 December
St John’s Carol Service
St John’s Church, Frome, 6:30pm

Success at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Success at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2013 Winners

Left to Right: Chad Vindin (Accomp Prize), Soraya Mafi (joint 3rd), Anna Sideris (joint 3rd), Raphaela Papadakis (Winner), Frazer B. Scott (2nd & Audience Prize)

Friday 8th November saw the eight finalists sing for their chance at the £2,500 first prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards in the Wigmore Hall. Each participant sang a programme of four pieces, consisting of arias by two set composers, G.F. Handel and Peter Wishart, and two own choice pieces.

These two set composers have always been a part of these awards since the inaugural competition in 1993; Maureen was known for her beautiful performances of Handel on stage, and Peter Wishart was her husband from 1966 until his early death in 1984.

The awards form part of Jackdaws’ Young Artists Programme along with the annual OperaPLUS.

The winners were decided by the distinguished panel of Judges – Dame Felicity Lott, Malcolm Martineau, Ian Partridge CBE and chaired by Jackdaws’ Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

Maureen Lehane Vocal AwardsMaureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2013 Winners
1st Place – Raphaela Papadakis (Soprano)
2nd Place – Frazer B. Scott (Bass-Baritone)
3rd Place – jointly awarded to Soraya Mafi (Soprano) and Anna Sideris (Soprano)
Accompanist Prize – Chad Vindin
Audience Prize – Frazer B. Scott

Have a look at our photo album from the event on Facebook.

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