Articles tagged with: Cheese & Grain

Vote for Year of…

Vote for Year of…

Music Teacher Awards OperaPLUS

Vote for Jackdaws on the ClassicFM website now! Voting closes 30 November.

At the start of 2016, we were delighted to be awarded with the ClassicFM Best Classical Music Education Initiative for our innovative project OperaPLUS. Well, the finalists for the 2017 award have just been announced, and we’re are finalists for a second year running. This time, with our large scale project The Year of….

The Year of… Project
The Year of project was started in 2013 by Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, who wanted to bring exceptional musicians to schools in Somerset to inspire and support children to start, and continue, playing an instrument.

In each Year of… project, a different ensemble or artist highlights their musical instrument with a whole school performance workshop, followed by smaller group work with up to 30 ‘players’ from each school playing a wide range of instruments in preparation for a Grand Finale concert where all the schools perform en masse alongside the professionals in Frome’s Cheese & Grain.

So far, the Year of project has involved the Carducci String Quartet (2013 – Year of the String Quartet), the Eden Stell Guitar Duo (2014 – Year of Guitar), Percussionist Joby Burgess (2015 – Year of Percussion), the Gelachter Wind Trio (2016 – Year of the Reed) and we are just embarking on 2017 – Year of the Recorder, which will be led by the recorder virtuosi Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus.

In the four years of this project so far we have worked with nearly 50 schools in hard to reach areas of Somerset and engaged with over 15,000 children, young people and their teachers, introducing them to inspiring celebrated  musicians from the orchesetral and chamber music worlds.

Preparations for Year of the Recorder in 2017 are already well underway and will involve up to a further 12 schools and all of their pupils

We are grateful to all of the funders who have made this project possible – Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, The Radcliffe Trust, Austin Hope Pilkington Trust, Cavatina Trust, Frome Town Council.

Please vote for Jackdaws on the ClassicFM website now. Thank you. Voting closes 30 November.

OperaPLUS – The Love Potion

OperaPLUS – The Love Potion

Award winning Education project, Jackdaws OperaPLUS, returns with a production of Donizetti’s The Love Potion (L’elisir d’amore), a comic tale of unrequited love set in the heartland of Somerset.

Featuring 18 Somerset schools performing alongside the professional cast in 5 performances at venues across the county.

Music Teacher Awards OperaPLUSPerformances
21 & 22 April: Holyrood School, Chard
27 & 28 April: The Blue School, Wells
29 April: Cheese & Grain, Frome

All performances start at 5:30pm

Tickets available on the door (and in advance from the Cheese & Grain for the 29th), priced between £2 – £5.

English translation by Arthur Jacobs (copyright Ricordi).

If you are a school looking for the resources page, you will find it here.

Love Potion is Generously supported by Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council and South Somerset District Council

Year of the Reed Tickets available now

Year of the Reed Tickets available now

Jackdaws Year of the Reed with the Gelachter TrioTickets went on sale this morning for the fourth “Year of…” project, the Year of the Reed featuring the Gelächter Trio. There are just over 100 tickets available for the performance, which will see almost 200 school children performing en masse with the Gelächter Trio on Tuesday 22 March at 5:30pm.

The programme will feature the Trio performing several solo items, in amongst pieces such as Tchaikovsky’s Theme from Swan Lake and the Duke Ellington Jazz standard “C Jam Blues”.

Lasting around 1 hour, the concert is always a highlight on the calendar of Jackdaws Education projects.

Year of the Reed
featuring the Gelächter Trio
with 12 Somerset Schools
Tuesday 22 March, 5:30pm
Cheese & Grain, Frome
Tickets: £5 / £2 under 16
Available from: 01373 455420

2015 – Year in Review

Well, what a year 2015 was. Our Education work expanded our reach across to the far side of Somerset with OperaPLUS and in Year of Percussion with percussionist Joby Burgess, and our Piano courses we were voted second place in the Best Piano Courses in the UK in a survey by piano blog the Cross Eyed Pianist.

OperaPLUS

Music Teacher Awards for ExcellenceThe first major project of 2015 was April’s OperaPLUS production of ‘The Stylist of Somerset’ (also known as Rossini’s Barber of Seville). OperaPLUS brings together groups of aspiring young opera singers and primary school children who then work together under the guidance of Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg and Audrey Hyland (Royal Academy) to produce five performances at venues across Somerset. This year, the OperaPLUS project expanded to include over 100 children participating in each performance.

We are delighted that OperaPLUS has been nominated as ‘Best Classical Music Education Initiative’ in the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, sponsored by ClassicFM. Please vote for us! (And hurry – voting closes on Friday 22nd January!)

Year of Percussion

Jackdaws Year of Percussion with Joby BurgessJune saw the final performance of another of our large scale projects – Year of Percussion – which gave the opportunity to students from a dozen schools to take part in workshops under the leadership of internationally acclaimed percussionist, Joby Burgess. Their work culminated in a concert held at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, in which the children performed en mass together with Joby who introduced the sold out audience to an unusual array of percussion instruments during the show. This was the fourth year this project has run and which has now involved over 6000 children; we are looking forward to 2016, which continues our journey around the orchestra with ‘Year of the Reed’.

Summer Production

Summer ProductionOur attempts to involve as many young people as possible in a wide spectrum of music based activities continued in July with the ‘Summer Production’. Children between the ages of 10 and 17 spent a week working with Saffron, Will Carslake (music director) and designer Sarah Lawton in which the children chose to perform Macbeth in combination with music by and based on Mozart with design inspied by the work of contemporary American artist Kiki Smith. This is a largely participant driven event and the performance demonstrated the children’s creative skills in acting, music and the various elements of stage design. The final show took place at Frome’s unique Silk Mill on the Friday.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards: Winners & Judges outside the Wigmore Hall 2015Every November our focus moves from the schools of Somerset into London’s Wigmore Hall for the annual Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, the highlight of our Young Artist’s calendar. Following preliminary auditions, the final seven singers each sang an aria by Handel, a song by Peter Wishart and a piece of their own choosing for the Wigmore audience. Sadley, Oliver Johnston was forced to withdraw through ill-health on the day before the finals, so his place was taken by the first reserve singer, baritone Julien Mellaerts. Astonishingly, with such a short warning, Julien was able to produce the winning performance and walked away with the £2,000 first prize.

Roll on 2016!

Year of Percussion Tickets Now Available!

Year of Percussion Tickets Now Available!

Year of the...Tickets are now available for the Year of Percussion Grand Finale Concert, featuring international percussionist Joby Burgess playing en mass with hundreds of pupils from schools in Somerset.

In March, Joby visited 14 schools in Frome, Radstock and Wells. Armed with his Xylosynth (half xylophone, half synthesiser) and a battery of percussion, he presented a performance workshop for all students as well as a more involved session for a smaller group of players focusing on a few different pieces. Since that time, these students have been working on their pieces and it is these smaller groups of players who join us for this celebration of all things percussion at the Cheese & Grain this June.

The Grand Finale Concert takes place on Wednesday 10 June at 5:30pm in Frome’s Cheese & Grain. Tickets must be purchased by phone (01373 455420) or from the Box Office in person. Due to limited capacity, there is a restriction of two tickets per customer and issued on a first come, first served basis – there will be over 250 performers in this concert!

The Year of Percussion project follows similar events with the Carducci String Quartet (Year of the String Quartet, 2013) and the Eden Stell Guitar Duo (Year of Guitar, 2014). It has sold out every year and early indications are that it will for a third consecutive year.

One of Britain’s most diverse percussionists, Joby is best known for his virtuosic, often lissom performances, daring collaborations, extensive education work, and regularly appears throughout Europe, the USA and beyond.

Each year Joby gives master-classes and leads numerous creative workshops for organisations such as the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Percussive Arts Society; focusing on rhythm, composition and improvisation, often using West African music as the stimulus. From 2004 to 2012 Joby was professor of percussion and director of percussion ensembles at Junior Trinity College of Music, Greenwich. Joby studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London.

Joby Burgess image by Kathy HindeYear of Percussion Grand Finale Concert
Featuring Joby Burgess
Wednesday 10 June, 5:30pm
The Cheese & Grain, Frome
Tickets: £5 / £2 under 16
Limit of two tickets per customer
Box Office: 01373 455420
(Tickets not available online)

Frome Voices sing Elijah

Frome Voices sing Elijah

Frome Voices LogoFrome Voices, a choir of over one hundred singers from various musical backgrounds, have chosen Felix Mendelssohn’s great oratorio Elijah for their annual concert. Taking place on Sunday 22nd March at the Cheese and Grain, Frome, at 7.30pm, the soloists will be Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, Jackdaws tutor Penelope Davies, 2012 Vocal Awards Finalist baritone Thomas Humphreys and tenor David Webb.

The Music

Elijah was first performed in the Birmingham Town Hall on the morning of 26th August 1846 with an orchestra of 125 and a choir of 79 sopranos, 69 altos (all male), 60 tenors and 72 basses. The performance was an immense success with The Times reporting “Never was there a more complete triumph, never a more thorough and speedy recognition of a great work of art”.

Structurally, the work is clearly influenced by the choral masterpieces of Bach and Handel, but its highly dramatic style, at times bordering on the operatic, constitutes a significant step forward from its baroque predecessors. Unlike many of these oratorios, Elijah does not follow a continuous story, but is a succession of tableaux depicting scenes from the prophet’s life, interspersed with prayer-like meditations.

Part One

Frome Voices ReheasalAhab, the King of Israel, has married Jezabel, the daughter of the Phoenician King of Sidon. Jezabel persuades Ahab that the worship of the Phoenician god Baal should become the official state religion, and that those who remained faithful to Jehovah should be punished. Elijah now appears and prophesies a drought in the land of Israel in punishment for their worship of this false new god. Ahab’s followers now search in vain for Elijah who has taken refuge with a widow in Zarephath, but she has only enough food for one meal. She is told by Elijah to trust in the Lord who will provide, and her stock of food is miraculously replenished during each night that Elijah spends in her house. During this time her son becomes ill and dies, but he is restored to life after Elijah prays three times over his body.

After three years Elijah returns to confront Ahab and challenges his priests to invoke the power of their god Baal by lighting a fire under a sacrificial offering on Mount Carmel. The priests pray in vain during which time they are mocked by Elijah who then prays to Jehovah who answers by sending down a column of fire which consumes the sacrifice. The people of Israel now repent, and the priests of Baal are executed. Elijah now prays to God for an end to the drought, and rain falls on the parched land.

“Never was there a more complete triumph” The Times, after Elijah’s first performance

Part Two

Elijah’s victory is short lived and Jezabel provokes the crowd against him, forcing him to retreat once more to the desert. He despairs over his inability to restore the Israelites back to the true faith, but an angel appears to him and instructs him to go the summit of Mount Horeb where the Lord will appear to him. There now comes a mighty wind followed by an earthquake, and finally a raging fire; Jehovah is not to be found in any of these, but he comes in a still, small voice which tells Elijah to return to Israel where he has a final confrontation with Ahab together with his son Ahaziah who both repent and return to the true faith. Elijah has been instructing his own successor, Elisha, who watches in awe and wonder as a fiery chariot with fiery horses appears, and the prophet is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind.

Mendelssohn’s Elijah
Frome Voices and Frome Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 22nd March 2015
Cheese & Grain, Frome
Tickets £10
Click here for Tickets

Frome Symphony Orchestra

“this local group is fast becoming a well honed and superbly musical entity” – Alastair Johnston on Frome Symphony

Year of Percussion

Year of Percussion

Today we have exciting news about the lucky schools which will be participating in our Year of Percussion project with Joby Burgess. The lucky schools are:

Joby Burgess image by Kathy HindeFrome Area
Beckington CofE First School
Christ Church CofE First School
Critchill
Frome Community College
Nunney First School
Steiner Academy, Frome
Selwood Academy
St John’s CofE First School
St Louis VA Catholic School

Wells Area
Croscombe & Stoke St Michael Primary Federation
Ditcheat Primary

Illminster Area
Chilthorne Domer Primary School
Greenfylde CofE First School

Radstock Area
Kilmersdon CofE VA Primary School

The final performance will take place at the Cheese & Grain, Frome on Wednesday 10 June. Contact Jackdaws on 01373 812383 or music@jackdaws.org for tickets.

Read more about Percussionist Joby Burgess on our tutor profile page!

As always, we are entirely indebted to the organisations, trusts and individuals whose donations make our education projects like Year of Percussion possible. For their generosity, we wish to thank: Sound Foundation Somerset, Arts Council England and Austin and Hope Pilkington.

2014 – Year in Review

2014 – Year in Review

The year 2014 at Jackdaws was a continuation and building upon the successes of 2013.

We have grown the OperaPLUS, Year of Guitar, Jack’s Music Club and continued to build on the success of previous years of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, Gifted & Talented sessions, Summer Production and more. Read on…

OperaPLUS

OperaPLUS 2014The first major education project of our year took place between 28 April and 9 May. A team of Young Artists from various music colleges around the country worked with Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg and Music Director Audrey Hyland to put on two semi-staged performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. But, we are Jackdaws, and we like to do things a little differently…

Rossini’s reworked Stylist of Somerset was sung in English and involved no less than six schools over the two performances. The first performance, in Bridgwater, saw the Robert Blake Science College, Elmwood SEN and Penrose schools performing the chorus roles to a packed hall. This performance included an exciting depiction of a thunderstorm by the Elmwood pupils – an OperaPLUS first!

The second performance, at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, was to the largest audience ever for our OperaPLUS (we sold out, and then some!) Featuring Critchill SEN, St John’s and Hayesdown First schools, the Stylist of Somerset created a storm of its own, playing to audience who were happy to stand just to see it after the venue had sold out of chairs!

In 2015, The Stylist of Somerset will be hopping on a tour bus and performing a number of shows across region! This is a new adventure for the OperaPLUS project and Jackdaws as a whole. We are already hard at work to make sure it is a success; look out for the dates soon, we’d love you to join us.

Year of Guitar

Year of Guitar with Eden StellThe Year of Guitar followed from the hugely successful Year of the String Quartet with the Carducci in 2013 and precedes 2015’s Year of Percussion with Joby Burgess. Once again, every school in Frome took part with a record number of children participating.

On Friday 6 June, the massed ensemble of children from local schools with whom the Eden Stell Guitar Duo had worked met with the Duo again for a fantastic hour long performance at the Cheese & Grain. This year, Year of… was extended when we took a group of Frome College pupils to perform with Mark & Chris at the Sound Foundation Somerset Music Festival in Taunton on Sunday 13 July, and then again the next week at Later… with Frome College!

The Eden Stell Duo have been coming to Jackdaws to lead their annual Guitar weekend course since Jackdaws’ humble beginnings over 20 years ago. What a pleasure it was to celebrate their 25th anniversary with them in 2014 with this wonderful project. Heading into 2015, their course is an extra day longer than it has been before and has already sold out!

In 2015, the phenomenal Joby Burgess joins us for Year of Percussion and we are delighted to have already filled all the school places. For Year of Percussion, we are extending beyond Frome further into Somerset. More details will be released soon.

Jack’s and Theory Club

Jacks Music Club at JackdawsOur weekly music club has been running for a few years now but for the start of the 2014-15 academic year we added a new twist. Following from the 4:30-6pm music club is a new Theory club, led by Jackdaws team member Joshua Bishop. Each week he has covered a different aspect of music theory with the group using games, drawing and performing. We write music, we play music, we understand music.

If you’re amazed that teenagers would come of their own accord to a music theory club (on a Friday evening no less!), we are happy to reveal this top secret industry tip… provide cake from famous Jackdaws cooks!

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Winners 2014The 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Award was the most closely contested competition of recent years. Ultimately, 25 year old Counter Tenor Patrick Terry triumphed.

Patrick, originally from Minneapolis, is pursuing his Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Chance and is the only Counter Tenor to have won the Maureen Lahane.

We were privileged to have a distinguished judging panel consisting of Dame Felicity Palmer, Andrew Shore and Simon Lepper, chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

Further to these successes, our Summer Production sold out both participants and the final performance, and produced a wonderful show of Animal Farm, with music in the style of Lutoslawski and design inspired by artist Gary Bunt. Our Christmas Concert sold out and was recorded with highlights broadcast on Christmas day by our friends at FromeFM. Gifted and Talented workshops also continued throughout the year, as did Singing Skills and Twilight Sessions.

After a restful holiday, we’re ready to go again. Roll on 2015 – we’ve got so much more to do!

The Stylist of Somerset – “Pure magic!”

The Stylist of Somerset – “Pure magic!”

“Sometimes something quite exceptional can happen when you’re least expecting it… Thank you. Encore. Encore.” – Jo Woodward

Thursday 8th and Friday 9th May saw something quite exceptional happen involving children from 6 Somerset schools, 6 Jackdaws Young Artists and a Rossini opera.

Jackdaws annual OperaPLUS project culminated two weeks of intense rehearsals and workshops with performances of “The Stylist of Somerset” (also known as Rossini’s Barber of Seville) at Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater and the Cheese & Grain, Frome with children singing as part of the opera performance.

Three schools were involved in each performance – Robert Blake, Elmwood and Penrose in Bridgwater and Critchill, Hayesdown and St John’s in Frome.

“All the children were fully engaged both as performers and as onlookers.” – Alan Burgess

OperaPLUS RehearsalsIn the two weeks preceding the shows, six Jackdaws Young Artists – all currently studying at one of the major British Music Conservatoires – led workshops with children at all six schools and Jack’s Music Club, working with the children on the part they would play and teaching the songs they later sang in the production.

The opera selected was Rossini’s opera buffa Barber of Seville, which was given a fresh and exciting spin and renamed “The Stylist of Somerset“. Based on popular TV talent shows, the evil Dr Bartolo was compared with a certain infamous judge with Rosina as his next star talent, Almaviva is a Pop star and, of course, Figaro is the best stylist in all of Somerset! Alan Burgess, headteacher of St John’s School who participated, said “Perhaps the greatest testimony of the production’s success was evidenced in the faces of everyone watching: they were enthralled from start to finish.

The performance was enjoyed by performers, children, parents and teachers alike.

“I am sure that neither of our sons (our 10 year old was in the audience with us) would have chosen to watch an opera with us. But they, like us were gripped from the very start.” – Kelly Newton

2014 is the 5th year that the OperaPLUS project has taken place. Previous years have seen productions of The Magic Flute, La Cenerentola and Semele, each time involving schools as far afield as Dulverton and Bridgwater.
As a parent I am feeling so very fortunate to have been able to share with my child in such an experience; as I felt so very much part of it as he did.” Charlotte Deniz Sanches

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg addressed the audience immediately after the Frome performance, saying “It’s really very simple… Bring it to them and they love it.

Funder Logos

Read our introduction to the Stylist of Somerset.

Introduction to OperaPLUS 2014

Introduction to OperaPLUS 2014

RossiniOperaPLUS 2014 will be focus on Rossini’s Barber of Seville in a brand new production, with a Jackdaws twist.

Gioacchino Rossini
…was born in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He is Italy’s greatest loved composer of opera buffa (comic opera). Born on 29 February 1792, a leap year. He died 76 years later on 13 November 1868 (aged 18!)

Rossini’s operas earned him fame and money during his lifetime, which was, and is, unusual for a composer. A keen chef, his culinary legacy also lives on in the form of several pasta dishes and a strawberry cocktail made with champagne.

He was known for the speed with which he composed and once boasted that he could set a shopping list to music. Unusually for a composer, he retired from composition in 1829 having written 39 operas, although did write several smaller scale pieces after this. His opera buffa, La Cenerentola (1817), based on the story of Cinderella, was Jackdaws’ focus for OperaPLUS 2012 and was received with great acclaim. The 2014 programme focuses on Rossini’s most famous work, The Barber of Seville, written in 1815 (aged 23).

The Barber of Seville
The two-act libretto by Cesare Sterbini is based on Pierre Beaumarchais’ renowned comedic stage play “Le Barbier de Séville“, the first in his ‘Figaro trilogy’. Mozart famously set the second play in his Le nozze di Figaro.

With a comical libretto, the piece is an Opera buffa and indeed is often considered the best example of the Buffa style – it is certainly the most well known opera from the genre, and contains the famous Patter song ‘Largo al Factotum‘.

Rossini CocktailRossini Key Terms
Bel Canto – literally “beautiful voice”, a style of Italian singing characterised by its grace, virtuosity and agility
Libretto – like the text of a play, these are the words the composer sets to music
Opera buffa – literally “comic opera”, with a humorous libretto as well as visual gags
Overture – an instrumental introduction heard at the start of each Act, which often includes melodies which will be heard
Rossini Crescendo – a passage of music which gets louder over a repeated pattern. Rossini’s frequent employment of this device earned him the nickname ‘Signor Crescendo’

The Barber story follows Rosina, a young heiress, who is being pursued by her guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who wants to keep her fortune by marrying her himself. But Rosina has fallen in love with Count Almaviva and together with Figaro the Barber, they outsmart Dr. Bartolo so Rosina and the Count can marry.

Jackdaws OperaPLUS production, the Stylist of Somerset, takes a slightly different angle. Set in the style of popular television Talent shows, Rosina is a hopeful young contestant auditioning for Bartolo, a judge. She is in love with the already famous superstar Almaviva, who loves her back. Almaviva and Rosina ask their stylist, Figaro, to help them outsmart the evil Bartolo.

Jackdaws’ OperaPLUS production of the Stylist of Somerset will be performed twice:
Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater on May 8 at 12:30pm
Cheese & Grain, Frome on May 9 at 5:30pm

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