Archive for January 2014

The Armed Man

The Armed Man

Rehearsals begin this Friday 31st January for Frome Voices production of Karl Jenkins’ powerful and acclaimed “The Armed Man“.

In 2013, the group performed Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, a beautiful work as challenging as it is moving. For this year’s production they have teamed up with Frome Symphony and professional soloists to present a community performance of ‘The Armed Man’ by living Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. The performance will be on March 29th at the Cheese & Grain, conducted by Alan Burgess with soloists provided by Jackdaws.

The Armed ManThe Armed Man was composed in 2000 and seems a fitting work for the year in which we commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. The composer subtitled the work, “A Mass for Peace”.

The music and words draw on poems and musical traditions from around the world, set around the Latin mass with the powerful central message of “better is peace than evermore war“.

“Better is peace than evermore war”

Starting as a UK Millennium commission, The Armed Man has had nearly one thousand performances since 2000, which equates to two per week somewhere in the world and makes it, along with Jenkins’ Requiem the most performed piece of Classical music by a living composer in the world today. This will be the first performance of the work in Frome.

The final performance will be on Saturday 29 March at the Cheese & Grain with Frome Symphony Orchestra.

Book your tickets on the Cheese & Grain website.

Chamber Philharmonic Europe

Chamber Philharmonic Europe

Chamber Philharmonic EuropeAfter playing to a full house last year, the Chamber Philharmonic Europe return to Rook Lane Chapel to perform again on Sunday 30 March. There are now just a few tickets left for what promises to be another sell-out concert. This talented ensemble charmed their audience with their energy, enthusiasm and personality, and has planned a full programme of new pieces for this year’s concert, featuring music by Bach, Vivaldi, Host and Mozart.

The Chamber Philharmonic Europe was founded in 2006 and, true to their name, features musicians from 18 nations across the continent. A fresh and spirited ensemble, they delight in engaging with the audience and are a joy to listen to. The Conductor will be Leonid Tritus with Soloists Pawel Zuzanski (Violin) and Kirill Gusarov (Trumpet) for this Joint Promotion between Rook Lane Arts, Frome Concerts Group and Jackdaws Music Education Trust.

They return to Rook Lane Chapel
Sunday 30 March at 2pm

Chamber Philharmonic EuropeFull programme:
Vivaldi: ‘Concerto di Parigi’ RV157
Albinoni: Trumpet Concert in Eb ‘Saint Marc
Bach: Concerto for Violin and Orchesetra in A minor BWV1041
Holst: St Paul’s Suite
Borodin: Nocturne for String Orchestra
Mozart: Divertimento in F, KV138

Soloists: Pawel Zuzanski (Violin) and Kirill Gusarov (Trumpet)
Conductor: Leonid Tritus

Book your tickets in advance to receive the special lower price.
£14 in advance (£9 concession – under 18)
or £16 on the door (£11 concession)
To book yours call 01373 812383 or email

Joint Promotion between Rook Lane Arts, Frome Concerts Group and Jackdaws Music Education Trust.
Rook Lane, Frome Concerts Group, Jackdaws

South West Adult Learners Concert

South West Adult Learners Concert

“On a sunny Sunday in January, 23 musicians gathered at the Bristol Music Club in Clifton for an afternoon of music making, tea drinking and cake eating!”

Last weekend, regular Jackdaws participant, Gill Jones, held an Adult Learners Concert in Bristol and generously donated the profits to Jackdaws.

I found out about concerts for adult learners on the ABRSM website forums. They were set up to give adult learners of all instruments and all abilities the opportunity to perform in front of others in a friendly, supportive environment. I hadn’t heard of one being held in the south west so thought I’d try and set one up.
So, on a sunny Sunday in January, 23 musicians gathered at the Bristol Music Club in Clifton for an afternoon of music making, tea drinking and cake eating!
I found it to be a great day especially after the nervous anticipation of having to play had passed!
I used the idea of having feedback envelopes – everyone is invited to give positive feedback on the performance they heard – no criticism allowed. This seemed popular and everyone left clutching their envelopes which no doubt gave them a nice warm glow when they read the comments inside!
There was lots of jolly chatter going on at the interval and the end and I know that new contacts were made – became a sort of networking event too! I have had lots of lovely comments about the day but I was surrounded by such a wonderful group of people, they made it very easy for me.
We managed to raise £196.30 for Jackdaws and I would like to thank them for their support in promoting the event. I hope to organise another one towards the end of the year so do get in touch if you are interested in coming and sharing your music.
Gill Jones
For more information about the South West Adult Learners concert visit their website:

We feel incredibly blessed at Jackdaws to have such enthusiastic supporters doing their best to not only support our own work, but who are also passionate enough about education to put on their own events which are such valuable resources for amateur musicians looking for opportunities to perform.

Gill’s Adult Learners Concert raised £196.30 for Jackdaws
Thank you Gill!

Most importantly of all, the cake was delicious. We’re sure you’ll agree that this is very fitting for a Jackdaws fundraiser!

If you are interested in raising money for Jackdaws visit our Fundraising area or speak to Josh

From Reed to Recital

From Reed to Recital

Jackdaws Tutor Maria MealeyJackdaws’ specialist Bassoon and Reed course, ‘From Reed to Recital‘ runs again this March 28th – 30th. Robert Codd and Maria Mealey have been running this course almost since Jackdaws started.

We spoke to Maria about how she first became involved with tutoring this course,

“I first met Robert at a freelance concert and he suggested I should write to the BBC to be put on their “extras ” list. This seems like an awfully long time ago, 15 or even 20 years ago. Since then I’ve been going into the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on a fairly regular basis an extra player on bassoon and contra.

After a few years Robert asked if I would be interested in helping him on his Jackdaws bassoon course, this must have been 14 Years ago, and I’ve been tutoring with him ever since. It has always been a great pleasure to work with a wonderful musician, I’ve also learned a lot from him and his wonderful sense of humour always makes me laugh.”

Maria studied bassoon at the Geneva Conservatoire with Roger Birnstingl where she received the Prix de Virtosite in 1989. She has played with several European orchestras and has held the position of second bassoon and contra bassoon with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. She taught the Birmingham Conservatoire for 11 years and currently teaches at Cheltenham Ladies College.

The weekend with Maria and Robert is a wonderful experience; relaxed, friendly and not at all competitive. Maria says, “I like to think people who come on the course can be relaxed and share in all the bassoon knowledge that everyone brings to the course, be it tutor or participant.”

“We always try and choose a theme for the course, perhaps unaccompanied pieces, cadenzas or fingerings but we also ask the participants what they are struggling with and then try and structure the various sessions around these problems so that we can all learn how to deal with them.

Ensemble work is the central part of the course and we have a wide variety of pieces that generally suit people’s different strengths so that it is not a problem if someone has a lot or a little experience of playing in ensembles. We try to make everyone feel as confident as possible within the group so that they can perform at their best.”

Asking Maria, she says that the most gratifying thing about teaching at Jackdaws is, “when people come back time after time particularly when we can hear how their playing improves year after year and I hope that perhaps, the Jackdaws course will have contributed to that, at least a little. ”

From Reed to Recital Course Details
Friday 28 – Sunday 30 March
Course No. 3087
Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Fee £190
B&B available from £30 per night
Click here to book

2013 – A Year in Review

2013 – A Year in Review

The past year has seen our largest range of education projects in Jackdaws’ history. Our small team has facilitated just over 5,000 musical interactions with children over the course of seven unique Education projects. We must give a huge thank you to all the musicians and tutors who have assisted us in this over the past year. Alongside this, we have continued to run our broad range of courses, with 42 courses taking place in a wide variety of disciplines.

New Kitchen and Development

Jackdaws New KitchenWe were delighted to start the year by unveiling a refurbished kitchen and dining area (which has also doubled as a concert space thanks to the Eden Stell guitar duo!)
Since then we have been making steady progress with work towards our new build. Last autumn we began preliminary work on the outside of the building by re-routing power and telephone cables to make way for the new build. We still need to raise further funds to ensure a more sustainable future for Jackdaws, so please donate on our JustGiving if you are able and read more about the 20Jackdaws plans here.


In April, the annual OperaPLUS saw Semele by Handel being performed by Young Artists and children from six schools. The course was expanded with help from Sound Foundation Somerset and included not only three schools from Frome – Critchill, Hayesdown and Nunney – but also the three schools of the Exmoor Federation in Dulverton (an early start for the two hour drive to South West Somerset!) Following the two performances with these schools, a one off gala performance in Abingdon was a unique addition to the schedule.

Year of the String Quartet

Our largest project of 2013 was the Year of the String Quartet project. This saw the renowned Carducci String Quartet visit 14 local schools to give an interactive performance for every child, introducing quartet repertoire from Haydn to Webern. Following the performance, the four players led workshops with string players, recorder players, percussion players and guitarists from the schools working on pieces to be performed with all the children en masse at what turned out to be a very moving celebration concert at the Cheese and Grain on 28th June. This wonderful video by Michael Rouse at Tambrisk Pictures follows the story of the performance.
[vimeo id=”78617742″ width=”500″ height=”281″]
2014 is the Year of the Guitar and we are delighted to be working with Eden Stell Guitar duo. We still need to raise funds towards this year’s event so if you would like to make a donation specific to this event please call the office on 01373 812383.

Song Story

As the whole of Britain went Britten crazy to celebrate our favourite composer’s 100th birthday, we devised the Song Story project to bring his music to life with school children in Frome. Working with composer Will Carslake, poet Shaun Jackson and singer Saffron van Zwanenberg, the team helped local children use Britten’s music as inspiration for their own show, which was performed to a large audience at Frome Community College on 21st June.

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)

This year’s Wigmore Hall final of the Maureen Lehane awards took place on Friday 8th November. The deserving winner, Raphaela Papadakis, a soprano studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, performed a stunning programme of Schumann and Schoenberg alongside the set composers Peter Wishart and Handel, accompanied by Catherine Norton.

As you can see, a fantastically busy year without even mentioning the Summer Production, Gifted and Talented workshops, Jack’s Music Club, Nature & Nurture and Singing Skills & Twilight Sessions, all of which were either new, expanded or busier than before! We are looking forward to another wonderful year of inspiration, access and inclusion.

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