Archive for the category: News

One Day Courses at Jackdaws

We run One Day Courses at Jackdaws to give you the chance to learn from the expertise of our world-class tutors and enjoy our delicious home cooked lunches without giving up a whole weekend.

With tuition from 11am – 4pm, and a free lunch included, One Day Courses at just £45 are excellent value*. We have courses for singers, guitarists and a new course for 2018 – From Panic to Pose – exploring performance anxiety for both instrumentalists and singers.

Autumn at JackdawsSinging for the Over 50s
with Penny Jenkins
Saturday 11 November
A safe and healthy approach for those who continue to sing after 50 (or thereabouts!)

Singing for All the Family
with Caroline Radcliffe NEW TUTOR
Sunday 12 November
We’ll all sing together with Caroline Radcliffe, who welcomes all ages to build a choir in a day!

Singing with Confidence
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 9 December
Scared to sing on your own? Always hiding at the back of the choir? This is the course for you!

“I got the most I could possibly get from a one-day course and felt it was so worthwhile”

One Day Guitar Course
with Chris Stell
Sunday 10 December
Explore the full range of the guitar with classical styles and techniques.

From Panic to Poise
with Wendy Skeen NEW TUTOR
Sunday 8 April 2018
Discover practical strategies to help you enjoy performing and sharing your music-making with others.

Visit individual course pages to book your place, before they disappear like the autumn leaves!

 

*Singing for the Whole Family costs £35 for a group of 2 adults & 2 children, lunch not included. Soup and a sandwich can be ordered for £5 per person.

Jackdaws in Autumn

Music and Singing Days for Wellbeing at Jackdaws

The Concerts at Jackdawsever popular One Day Courses at Jackdaws offer an ideal way for singers and musicians to try something new or to polish skills, with the help of the team of talented tutors. In a supportive and friendly environment, you could work on improving your singing voice or polishing up your guitar skills. Maybe you’d like to take the opportunity to explore how to manage performance anxiety and move from panic to poise?

Courses are open to all singers and musicians and take place at Jackdaws in Great Elm, just 3 miles from Frome. Starting at 10am with welcome drinks and a chance to meet your Tutor and fellow participants, the tutored sessions take place from 10.30am to 4pm. We take a break for a delicious home cooked lunch at 1pm, which is included in the course fee of £45 (except Singing for All the Family, which has a different fee & format).

Vocal tutor Penny Jenkins makes a welcome return on Saturday 11 November for a favourite Jackdaws One Day Course – Singing for the over 50’s, with Accompanist Colin Hunt. Her course is aimed at singers of any ability, with no upper age limit! Come and discover that the singing voice can go on forever. This is a fun course for the over 50’s (or thereabouts), who are young at heart and want to learn to use their singing voice in a safe and nurturing way. Singing is a wonderful physical and social activity, which has been shown to have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. With Penny, you will rediscover your the joy that singing can bring, allowing you to make music for many years to come.

“I found the day to be most enjoyable and instructive. I thought that Penny had a wonderful manner with the participants”

Jackdaws Tutor Caroline RadcliffeOn Sunday 12 November we try something new as we invite all ages to join with Caroline Radcliffe, leader of the Jackdaws Songbirds Choir. Parents, bring your children. Children, bring your parents! At Singing for All the Family we’ll all sing together with Caroline to build a choir in a day! We’ll learn easy songs from near and far; from England and across the world, building harmonies and adding parts to each song to excite all ranges and abilities. Songs will be taught by ear: no need to read music, and no special singing ability required. The cost for Singing for All the family is £35 per group (2 adults & 2 children), lunch is not included for this course; bring your own packed lunch, and we’ll provide squash and hot drinks. Or pre-book a Home-made “Soup and a Sandwich” at £5 per head.

If you think you can’t sing a note, or are scared to sing on your own, or if you are always hiding at the back of the choir, a day with Jessica Walker at ‘Singing with Confidence‘ on Saturday 9 December, is a date for your diary.

Jessica will show you how you can start to become a more confident singer through the use of key breathing and vocal exercises. She will help you to gain a firmer foundation for your singing and encourage you to have the confidence to take the next step. The experienced Colin Hunt will be on hand as Accompanist.

“Jessica is a really great teacher, very encouraging and insightful about what individuals needed. I came away absolutely inspired and feeling I know what to focus on with my singing”

Jackdaws Tutor Chris StellAnother Jackdaws favourite, Chris Stell, will join us in Great Elm to teach the One Day Guitar Course on Sunday 10 December. Chris already leads the Guitar Ensemble weekend at Jackdaws each year with his duo partner Mark Eden, which is always oversubscribed. This One Day course is perfect for the strummer who wants to add to their skills, or the aspiring Spanish/classical player who would benefit from tips from the best in the business! Spend a few hours discovering the full range of the guitar by experimenting with classical style and techniques.

“I learnt a lot throughout the day, I particularly enjoyed the ensemble session”

Looking ahead to 2018, another new tutor brings another exciting new One Day course to Jackdaws. Wendy Skeen introduces her fascinating approach addressing performance anxieties in From Panic to Poise on Sunday 8 April 2018.

Many musicians experience anxiety about performing in public and either struggle through it or avoid performing altogether. If you are one of them, you’re in good company; Artur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Renée Fleming and Vladimir Horowitz (to name just a few) are reported to have struggled with it at various points in their careers. Even Frédéric Chopin disliked playing in front of large audiences.

Wendy’s One Day workshop will explore practical strategies – drawn from Cognitive Hypnotherapy and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) in particular – that can help in managing performance anxiety. Our goal will be to find ways that help you move from ‘panic’ to ‘poise’, so that you can enjoy performing and sharing your music-making with others.

A full list of Jackdaws One Day Courses is available on our website. For further details, to discuss with us or to book a place, contact our office on music@jackdaws.org or by phone (01373 812383).

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards2017 is the landmark 25th anniversary of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards which, over the years, has become a springboard for many wonderful singers including Christopher Maltman, Madeleine Pierard, Ben Johnson, Dawid Kimberg, Amanda Echalaz, Andrew Kennedy and Sarah Fox. With a first prize of £2,000 and final held in the Wigmore Hall it is a very important event, unique in its celebration of potential as well as achievement.

On Friday 10 November, 8 Finalists will perform a 15 minute recital consisting of a song or aria by each of the two set composers Georg Handel and Peter Wishart, in addition to two of their own choice. Watching from the balcony will be the four judges; past Vocal Award Winner Mary Nelson, Jonathan Lemalu and Christopher Glynn, chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron von Zwanenberg.

Every year, the Wigmore Hall Final of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards is a highlight of the Jackdaws Young Artists calendar. Tickets are available now from the Wigmore Hall Box Office.

Catch up on the history of the Awards with the full list of past winners in the Maureen Lehane Archive.

Applications are open and will be accepted until Friday 6 October, when entries close at 5pm.

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson at JackdawsMezzo-Soprano Ameral Gunson studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Walter Gruner before joining the BBC Singers; she continued her studies with Otakar Kraus. After leaving the BBC Singers she quickly established a successful and varied solo career which has included performances throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. She included many operatic roles in her repertoire and appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Alter Oper Frankfurt and the Turin and Helsinki opera houses. Her recordings for EMI and Chandos include Verdi’s Requiem, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia under Richard Hickox, and the Grammy award winning discs of Peter Grimes, also with Hickox.

As a vocal coach, Ameral was second to none. She taught at Jackdaws Music Education Trust for many years, and was one of their longest serving tutors. She attracted a devoted following of students who admired her sensitive, creative and thoughtful approach. Ameral’s annual “Singing and Imagination” weekend course was centered on her belief that “Singing is an activity first and foremost of the imagination,” encouraging pupils to bring props to stimulate their imagination whilst singing. She last visted Jackdaws in October 2016, when she announced plans to retire from teaching.

Ameral passed away in August 2017. She was 68.

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws Music Education TrustJackdaws have announced their 2017-18 Season of weekend music courses. Featuring a selection of new and returning tutors, we are sure that there is something for everybody.

During the upcoming season, we will celebrate the 25th year of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, and commemorate the occasion with an updated logo. Taking place on Friday 10 November at the Wigmore Hall, we do hope you can join us for what will be a wonderful afternoon of music, performed at the highest standard.

Update: Booking is now open online, by phone, email or post. Full information about all Jackdaws courses is available on our website, or get in touch to request a printed brochure.

Jump to Voice, Piano, Wind, Strings & One Day Courses

Voice

Lucy Schaufer by Dan Welldon22 – 24 Sept 2017: Jane Austen Song Celebration with Sarah Walker

6 – 8 Oct: Singing in Russian with Alexandre Naoumenko

20 – 22 Oct: The Healthy Voice with Russell Smythe

17 – 19 Nov: Audition Preparation with Audrey Hyland & Saffron van Zwanenberg

1 – 3 Dec: Voice & Body Integration with Lucy Schaufer

2 – 4 Feb 2018: Sing Sing Sing with Evelyn Tubb & Michael Fields

23 – 25 Feb: Art Songs by Black British & African American Composers with Michael Harper

16 – 18 Mar: English Song with Sarah Leonard & Stephen Varcoe

13 – 15 April: Opera Workshop with Mary Plazas

4 – 6 Apr: Singing Handel with Rosa Mannion

25 – 27 May: The Vocal Technician with Joy Mammen

8 – 10 June: Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

22 – 24 June: A Song By Any Other Name with Richard Jackson

5 – 8 July: Staged Opera Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

20 – 22 July: The Golden Age of Broadway with Paul Knight

9 – 12 Aug: Unlocking Your Vocal Potential with Jessica Walker

23 – 26 Aug: Preparing a Role with Phillip Thomas

31 Aug – 2 Sept: Singing in French with Robin Bowman

21 – 23 Sept: Singing in English with Adrian Thompson

Piano

Jackdaws Tutor Karl Lutchmayer (credit Helen Murray)29 Sept – 1 Oct 2017: Lifelong Learning for the Pianist with Ruth Harte

13 – 15 Oct: Finding Your Voice at the Piano with Stephen Savage

27 – 29 Oct: Improvisation: An Art for Everyone with Mark Polishook

24 – 26 Nov: Practising the Piano with Graham Fitch

9 – 11 Feb 2018: Polishing Your Piano Technique with Melanie Spanswick

9 – 11 Mar: Towards Effortless Piano Playing with Penelope Roskell

23 – 25 Mar: The Complete Pianist with Margaret Fingerhut

27 – 29 Apr: Knowing the Score with Karl Lutchmayer

18 – 20 May: Intermediate Piano Course with Timothy Barratt

15 – 17 June: Realising Your Inner Musical Image with Julian Jacobson

26 – 29 July: Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

14 – 16 Sept: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

One Day Courses

Sat 11 Nov 2017: Singing for the over 50’s with Penny Jenkins

Sun 12 Nov: Singing for All the Family with Caroline Radcliffe

Sat 9 Dec: Singing with Confidence with Jessica Walker

Sun 10 Dec: One Day Guitar Course with Chris Stell

Fri 15 Dec: Jackdaws Christmas Concert at Great Elm Church (concert)

Sun 8 April 2018: From Panic to Poise with Wendy Skeen

Strings

Jackdaws Tutor Flora Curzon25 – 28 Jan 2018: Guitar Ensemble with Eden Stell Guitar Duo

11 – 13 May: Folk Fiddle with Flora Curzon & Holly Harman

29 June – 1 July: Strings & Things Part One with Elizabeth Turnbull

16 – 19 Aug: Strings & Things Part Two with Elizabeth Turnbull

Wind

3 – 5 Nov 2017: Recorder Weekend with Anna Stegmann

16 – 18 Feb 2018: The City Musick: Renaissance Music for Court & City with William Lyons & Richard Thomas

2 – 4 Mar: Clarinets with David Campbell

20 – 22 Apr: Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

1 – 3 June: Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital with Robert Codd

13 – 15 July: Chamber Music with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell & Stephen Gutman

7 – 9 Sept: Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle & Alastair Ross

Jackdaws Tutors 2017-18

Year of Recorder was a huge success!

Year of Recorder was a huge success!

Year of the Recorder Grand Finale“It’s the best performance I’ve ever heard – thank you.”

On Wednesday 22 March, Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus led 170 children from schools across Somerset in the Year of Recorder Grand Finale performance. Their show told the story of “How the Wren Became King”, with performances of music from over 400 years of history – starting with Dutch Renaissance composer Jacob van Eyck (1590-1657) to the 2016 piece “The Language of Birds” by Philip Cashian (b. 1963).

Anna and Tabea performed with children from 11 schools to a sold out Cheese & Grain. Their repertoire not only used the recorder in the traditional way but incorporated extended techniques in a variety of improvisations as well.

“I really like the songs Anna and Tabea played. They were so good and it inspires me more.”

Year of Recorder
The performance came one month after the recorder duo visited the schools to give an interactive performance to the whole-school followed by a workshop with players who would participate in the concert. The performances featured demonstrations of a range of different recorders, from the sopranino to the contrabass.

In the week preceeding the school visits, Jackdaws were delighted to have “The Year of…” project awarded a Music Teacher Award for Excellence, naming it as the Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017.

“Fabulous to see the Frome schools coming together and making music. Thank you Jackdaws.”

Year of Recorder is the fifth installment of “The Year of…” project, which has so far reached around 30,000 people. In previous years, Jackdaws have worked with the Carducci Quartet (Year of the String Quartet, 2013), the Eden Stell Guitar Duo (Year of the Guitar, 2014), Joby Burgess (Year of Percussion, 2015) and the Gelachter Wind Trio (Year of the Reed, 2016). “The Year of…” project is supported by Arts Council England and Sound Foundation Somerset.

Arts Council England and Sound Foundation Somerset

Year of Recorder Tickets on Sale Monday!

Year of Recorder Tickets on Sale Monday!

Year of RecorderOn Monday 13 March, tickets go on sale for the Jackdaws Year of Recorder Grand Finale Concert at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

The Concert features international German recorder virtuosi Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus performing alongside pupils from 12 Somerset schools en masse, following a week of workshops in February.

Supported by Arts Council England and Sound Foundation Somerset, the Year of Recorder project is a large-scale ensemble education project run by Jackdaws Music Education Trust. Each year, Jackdaws invites a prominant chamber musician/ensemble to visit schools across Somerset, performing and leading workshops with pupils to introduce them to different orchestral and chamber instruments. So far, Jackdaws have created 15,000 musical interactions between performers and children over 5 years of the project, introducing students to the String Quartet (2013 – The Carducci Quaret), the Guitar (2014 – Eden Stell Guitar Duo), Percussion (2015 – Joby Burgess), the Wind Trio (2016 – Gelachter Trio) and now the Recorder.

Tickets are extremely limited and likely to sell out well in advance, so please book early to avoid disappointment; only available via phone or in-person at the Cheese & Grain box office. Tickets will not be available online.

Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017Year of Recorder Grand Finale Concert
Wednesday 22 March, 5:30pm
Cheese & Grain
01373 455420
Tickets: £5 adults / £3 under 16s

The concert will last approximately 1 hour.

Arts Council England and Sound Foundation Somerset

Jackdaws wins Best Classical Music Education Initiative… again!

Jackdaws wins Best Classical Music Education Initiative… again!

Jackdaws Receive the Award

L to R: Margherita Taylor, Mark Eden, Helen Reid, Saffron van Zwanenberg, Chris Stell, Sam Jackson.

For the second year running, Jackdaws Music Education Trust has won a prestigious Music Teacher Award for Excellence for Best Classical Music Education Initiative, this year for their large scale education project The Year of…”

Jackdaws, based near Frome in Somerset, retains the award, which is sponsored by Classic FM, having won the same prize in 2016 for their innovative project, OperaPLUS.

Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017Classic FM DJ Margherita Taylor presented Jackdaws with the award during the ceremony in Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel, Mayfair, on the opening day of the Rhinegold Music Education Expo.

RECOGNITION OF OUR IMPACT

The award, celebrating “The Year of…” as the best Classical Music Initiative in the country this year, is recognition of the incredible impact the project has made to music education in Somerset. In the five years of the project, Jackdaws has worked with 44 schools across the county, engaging with more than 15,000 pupils. With performances and workshops also including teachers, as well as parents, siblings and performers at each of the five Grand Finale performances that number increases to over 30,000 people taking part in this project so far.

Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, created the project in 2013 in response to a reduction in the number of children learning and continuing to play instruments and also to add strength to & develop the flagship WCET (Whole Class Ensemble Teaching) programme promoted by the National Plan for Music Education. It has become a key project in Jackdaws’ education output, supporting the organisation’s aim to enable creative expression by bringing music to life in an accessible, inclusive and inspirational way.  Ms van Zwanenberg, who was at the ceremony to collect the award on behalf of the Trust, said:

Year of the Guitar

Year of the Guitar Grand Finale Performance, 2014, with the Eden Stell Guitar Duo

Inspiration is usually the spark that lights the fire and in this case, if we want more children to play instruments and to continue to do so to a good level of proficiency and beyond, then access to the best in the world is the way forward. They meet and see amazing musicians doing remarkable things with instruments and playing wonderful repertoire. If we want orchestras in the future and audiences for chamber music and orchestral works, this first step is vital and it has been our privilege to work with such brilliant artists, who are not only masters in their fields but also as passionate about this as we are. This Award is wonderful recognition of their work and the work we do and will continue to do through active and innovative opportunities.We want to thank everybody who voted for us. As a small organisation, we work extremely hard, with limited resources, to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver projects like this. This Award means a huge amount to us – Thank you.

HISTORY

Thank You Carducci

Drawing by Orrin, “Thank You Carducci”

“The Year of…” project was launched by Jackdaws in 2013 with Year of the String Quartet, featuring the Carducci String Quartet. The project took the Carducci Quartet into 14 Somerset schools to perform and give whole class workshops to the children, culminating in the Grand Finale concert. The heart-warming and eye-opening concert in which over 100 pupils from all 14 schools performed en masse with the Carducci demonstrated that children can and do enjoy listening and participating in classical music.

The Year of… project is flexible, and each year introduces children to a different chamber / orchestral instrument; 2014 was Year of the Guitar with the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, 2015 was Year of Percussion with Joby Burgess and 2016 was Year of the Reed with the Gelachter Wind Trio.

Jackdaws invites artists of international standing, with a history of performing to the highest level and who have a special interest in education and out-reach, to take part in the project.

Watch the Year of the String Quartet video…

2017 THE YEAR OF RECORDER

Tabea Debus and Anna Stegmann lead Jackdaws Year of the RecorderThe Music Teacher Award for Excellence comes just in time for the beginning of the 2017 project; school workshops for the Year of Recorder start Monday 20 February, building on the past successes of “The Year of…” with international virtuosi Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus. The Grand Finale performance, telling the story of “How the Wren became King”, takes place at Frome’s Cheese & Grain, 5:30pm on Wednesday 22 March.

Each school visit begins with a 45-minute interactive performance by the visiting musicians to the whole school. This performance is specially designed to stimulate the children’s imaginations and uses interactive games to excite their curiosity and demonstrate how wonderful these instruments are.

Following this, the musicians work with a smaller group of children to prepare music for the final performance. School teachers also have a chance to learn from the musicians during this workshop, and are supported with free resources including recordings and sheet music for the pieces, all downloadable from the Jackdaws website.

“The Year of…” is supported by Sound Foundation Somerset and has been featured on ClassicFM and in various local press.

Sound Foundation Somerset LogoClassicFM Logo

Workshops start again!

Workshops start again!

The Love PotionHere we are at the start of February, and the Jackdaws year starts with our course bookings in a healthy state. As you will know, much of our work is centred around the projects which we do with Somerset schools and has enabled 15,000 young people to participate in music making over the past five years; the coordination of our two flagship projects in 2017 is now in hand.

Firstly, we have embarked on the Year of the Recorder, which will see children from 10 schools works with inspirational, international Recorder duo Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus. The project culminates in the recorder players, together with children performing on recorders and other instruments, in a Grand Finale Concert at the Cheese & Grain, Forme on Wednesday 22 March.

Meanwhile, our hugely successful, award-winning singing project OperaPLUS has already entered the rehearsal stage. This week, Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg has been travelling to schools across Somerset to give introductory workshops on the songs and choruses of The Love Potion.

Music Teacher Awards OperaPLUSIn OperaPLUS, the instruments of “The Year of…” give way to voices and song; a highly talented group of young opera singers work with children in schools towards the presentation of five concerts in various locations around the county. The professional cast take the principle roles with the children joining in as chorus. 2017 sees a reworking of last year’s production of The Love Potion (L’elisir d’amore) by Donizetti, to celebrate the composers 220th Anniversary year, made accessible through staging set in a local context.

Both projects offer a once in lifetime opportunity for young people, some for the first time, to work with professional musicians of the highest standard. We hope to see you at a performance!

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – what a year it was. We say it every year, but this one really was the busiest we’ve ever known in Great Elm. We welcomed 400 participants on our weekend courses, a third of whom were new to Jackdaws; we delivered award-winning projects across Somerset and appointed our first ever Artists in Residence – the VIDA Guitar Quartet.

Our Projects

Credit Music Teacher Awards 2016

L to R: Margherita Taylor (Classic FM Presenter), René Bloice-Sanders (Company Member), Audrey Hyland (Music Director), Saffron van Zwanenberg (Director) and Sam Taylor (Classic FM Managing Editor). Credit: Music Teacher Awards 2016

The first success of the year was in February, when we attended the Gala Dinner of the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, as our large-scale project OperaPLUS had been nominated for the Best Classical Music Education Initiative of 2015. We were absolutely delighted to hear OperaPLUS announced as the winners by Margherita Taylor, presenter on ClassicFM, who sponsored the prize. The 2016 OperaPLUS project was then a huge success in April; Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg directed five fun-filled performances of Donizetti’s The Love Potion with 18 schools across Somerset packed with acting, singing and segways!

On Tuesday 22 March, the Gelachter Wind Trio performed alongside over 100 children from 12 schools across Somerset in the Grand Finale concert of the Year of the Reed project at the Cheese & Grain Frome. They performed arrangements of music by composers from Duke Ellington to Tchaikovsky interspersed with performances from the Gelachter Trio in the hour long concert.

Song Story 2016 was an exciting and fresh look at Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons concertos. Composer William Carslake, together with Violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg investigated this work with four SEN Somerset schools – Elmwood, Avalon, Critchill and Selworthy. Each school focused on one season, working with the team and using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi’s original composition, to create their own music and play and sing along with Vivaldi’s original score. There was a spectacular final performance of “Saving Earth” on Wednesday 29 June at Elmwood & Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater. The students updated the story to tell of the fight against global warming and how we are saving earth from mankind’s thoughtlessness; a modern retelling which was really effective. It was a truly joyful experience for all involved.

Since September, Jack’s Music Club has been enjoying a new term of varied experiences and sound worlds. We have a whole new intake of keen young musicians attending each week, who gave two fantastic performances at the Jackdaws Christmas Concert, celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven (the concert happened to take place on 16 December, the maestro’s birthday). Jackdaws is now also an Arts Award centre and Jack’s members have the opportunity to earn a qualification during their usual weekly session.

We have continued to develop our work with the Music Hub for Somerset, taking a very active part in the Singing Strategy for Somerset schools, offering a mixed-programme of teacher training and in-school sessions, and the first Somerset Schools Singing Festival, which took place in the Summer term.

Caecilia AndriessenSaying ‘Vaarwel’

In May, we said a very sad farewell to Caecilia Andriessen, who retired. Caecilia was one of the very first tutors at Jackdaws and has been leading her unique “Pianos for All” ensemble course for the last 21 years, making the trip over from The Hague with several faithful students every year since 1995. The Pianos for All weekend involved groups of pianists playing music arranged for two, three and four pianos! We will miss this very special and joyful part of our annual calendar.

Saying ‘Hello’ to our Artists in Residence

In the Summer, the VIDA Guitar Quartet became the first Jackdaws Artists in Residence. It is the first time that such an appointment has been made by Jackdaws, and we are looking forward to unveiling future plans and discovering how the new relationship will bear fruit.

VIDA Concert at Jackdaws in December 2016VIDA celebrated this announcement with a fundraising concert on Saturday 3 December; their last before heading off on tour to the United States at the beginning of 2017. The concert raised important funds for Jackdaws and was a great treat for the local community.

The VIDA Quartet have a strong association with Jackdaws through the longstanding relationship between two members, Mark Eden and Christopher Stell (who also perform as the Eden Stell Guitar Duo). The Duo have been teaching at Jackdaws for more than 20 years and, as Artists in Residence, the Quartet will be ambassadors for Jackdaws in the UK and around the world.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The 2016 Vocal Awards continued with the same high standards set in previous years. This year it was Nardus Williams, a young soprano currently studying at the Guildhall with Yvonne Kenny, who took First Place as well as the Audience Prize. The Judges – Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg – were very impressed with her performance.

We are all looking forward to the Vocal Awards 2017, which will be the 25th year of the competition. Keep your eyes peeled for details of how we are going to celebrate this significant milestone, which kickstarts the celebrations for Jackdaws 25th anniversary in 2018.

Two Great Losses

Sadly, we lost two great friends in 2016. The first was very early in the year when we heard of loss of tutor Kenneth van Barthold on 16 February. He was 88 years old and had been giving courses at Jackdaws for many years. An exceptional man, his obituary in the Telegraph shows just how respected he was.

sarah-wheeler-at-maureen-memorial-concertThen, in April, we received news that a long-time supporter of Jackdaws, Sarah Wheeler, had also passed away. She was a supporter of Jackdaws from the beginning, and a long time friend of Maureen. Sarah led the fundraising campaign that allowed us to buy our building, and when Maureen passed away in 2010, it was she who helped to organise the concert in her memory. She was a great lover of art and music and was a passionate believer in the healing power of both. As a result, she founded the Mental Fight Club and later the Dragon Cafe to share the benefit of both with others. She will be very sadly missed in Great Elm.

New Technology

We ended the year by releasing a video about our weekend courses. Produced by Tambrisk pictures, the four-minute video showcases our facilities and surroundings whilst answering questions a new-comer might have about their first visit to a Jackdaws music course. Watch the video here…

The Staff and Trustsees at Jackdaws want to thank all friends, supporters, colleagues and organisations who have helped us this year including;
Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation, Rosemary Bugden Trust, the Mercers’ Trust, the Mackintosh Foundation, Frome Voices, Cooper Hall Foundation.

Grants were also received from a number of local councils and funding bodies;
Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council, South Somerset District Council.

We are also extremely grateful to the number of individuals who have made donations both large and small, and to Friends of Jackdaws, whose regular contributions ensure that Jackdaws can continue to facilitate the joy of music participation for everyone.

If you would like to make a donation to Jackdaws, you can do so by becoming a Friend, or making a one-off donation. For more information read Supporting Jackdaws.

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