Articles tagged with: Saffron van Zwanenberg

Long Weekends at Jackdaws

Long Weekends at Jackdaws

Our longer weekend courses offer more time for you to spend at Jackdaws this summer, working with some wonderful tutors, to explore something new or to hone your vocal skills. Arrive in the valley on a Thursday evening for a relaxed supper and a chance to meet your tutors and fellow participants, followed by the first class. With full days on the Friday and Saturday, the course comes to an end on the Sunday afternoon.

Jackdaws Three Day Weekend Courses are an excellent opportunity to commit the time you never quite seem to find to working on your singing. With the long Summer evenings, the beautiful countryside and the high-level of tuition, you’ll find you have the space to achieve much more than you set out to.


Saffron van ZwanenbergStaged Opera Scenes with
Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion
Thurs 5 – Sun 8 July 2018

If you’ve always dreamed of singing opera with others, Staged Opera Scenes may be the course for you. Open to All singers, this ensemble course blends performance and technique, under the guidance of Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion. Each participant offers three suggestions of roles and one solo piece that they would like to explore, they will then work on their solo and an ensemble piece. Read more…

I had two major breakthroughs and came home from the course inspired

Jackdaws Tutor Jessica WalkerUnlocking Your Vocal Potential
with Jessica Walker
Thurs 9 – Sun 12 August 2018

In August, Jessica Walker helps singers of all abilities unlock their vocal potential, focussing her weekend on vocal technique and practical exercises. Jessica will work with you both individually and in groups, aiming to improve your singing confidence by the end of the weekend. Read more…

Jackdaws Voice Tutor Phillip ThomasPreparing a Role
with Phillip Thomas
Thurs 23 – Sun 26 August 2018

Phillip Thomas returns to Jackdaws to work with Advanced level singers who wish to explore how to prepare a role. His extensive work with singers and opera companies, knowledge of the repertoire and the demands involved in preparing a full role are unmatched. Singers are invited to choose a role in which to immerse themselves for this longer weekend. You do not need to have prepared the full role just have a good grasp of some of the music and a working knowledge of the rest. Read more…


Course fees include all meals and refreshments at Jackdaws, prepared by our dedicated cooks. Local accommodation is available, which we are happy to book for you.

View all Voice Courses

Jackdaws - Celebrating 25 Years

Sound the Trumpets!

Sound the Trumpets!

SOUND THE TRUMPETS! THE AWARD-WINNING PROJECT “JACKDAWS YEAR OF…” BRINGS WORLD CLASS BRASS QUINTET TO LOCAL SCHOOLS

Onyx Brass by Benjamin Ealovega

Onyx Brass Quintet lead Jackdaws Year of Brass

In February and March, schools across Somerset will be visited by the Onyx Brass Quintet as part of Jackdaws Music Education Trust’s award-winning music project “Year of Brass”, giving children first hand experience at making music alongside a world class ensemble.

JACKDAWS: THE YEAR OF BRASS

The Onyx Brass Quintet will work with fifteen Schools across Somerset before pupils from each school assemble in a large local venue to perform with Onyx in the Grand Finale Concert.

Each school visit begins with a 45-minute interactive performance by the Quintet to the whole school. This performance is designed to inspire the children and demonstrate how wonderful and exciting 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 teaching resources and support from Jackdaws.

25th ANNIVERSARY FANFARE

The Year of Brass coincides with landmark years for both Jackdaws and the Onyx Brass Quintet; both groups celebrate their 25th anniversaries in 2018. To commemorate the occasion, Jackdaws have launched a challenge to participating schools to compose a Birthday Fanfare. The schools which choose to take part will be able to play their fanfare to Onyx at the Grand Finale Concert at Frome’s Cheese & Grain, 5:30pm on Tuesday 20 March.

THE YEAR OF… PROJECT

Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017In five years of the Year of… project, Jackdaws has engaged with thousands of children and young people. With performances and workshops also including teachers, as well as parents, siblings and performers at each of the five Grand Finale performances that number is well over 30,000 people taking part in this project so far. The annual Grand Finale concert is a thrilling event, seeing 100’s of pupils from all participating schools perform en masse with international, professional musicians of the highest standing.

Artistic Director of Jackdaws Music Education Trust, Saffron van Zwanenberg, created “The Year of…” in 2013 in response to a reduction in the number of children learning to play instruments and add a development/enhancement to the flagship 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. Miss van Zwanenberg said:

Year of... Whole School Workshop

A “Year of…” Project Whole School Performance

“Inspiration is usually the spark that lights the fire so if we want more children to start learning instruments and continue to a good level of proficiency, then access to the best performers in the world is the way forward. When children meet and see amazing musicians doing remarkable things with instruments, playing wonderful repertoire, that spark is ignited or an already burning flame is fanned.

If we want orchestras in the future and audiences for chamber music and orchestral works, this first step is vital. 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.”

Year of Guitar

Year of Guitar

“The Year of…” project is flexible, and each year introduces school children to a different chamber or orchestral instrument. It was launched by Jackdaws in 2013 with Year of the String Quartet, featuring the Carducci String Quartet; 2014 was Year of Guitar with the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, 2015 was Year of Percussion with Joby Burgess, 2016 was Year of the Reed with the Gelachter Wind Trio and 2017 was Year of Recorder with Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus.

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.

The Year of Brass is supported by Sound Foundation Somerset, Arts Council England, The Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust, The Radcliffe Trust and Jackdaws Music Education Trust. Tickets are available for the Grand Finale performance on Tuesday 20 March from the Cheese & Grain.


Participant Reactions to “The Year of…”

The Year of the String Quartet

“The Carducci was simply outstanding on Friday!  We were all amazingly impressed at their skill, musicianship and ability to engage with the children in a manner that gave them great pleasure but also taught them music skills and knowledge in an incredibly enjoyable way.

Thank you very much indeed for facilitating this visit.  Having had such a superb experience, we are even more excited about working with you on this and other projects into the future!

With many thanks,

Sue, staff and children at Hayesdown”
(Sue Heal –Head Teacher, Hayesdown First School, Frome)

“The string quartet was brilliant! The children were enchanted!
Naomi” (Naomi Pauley- Head Teacher at Vallis First School, Frome)

“What’s not to love, when you see the Cheese and Grain fuller than ever, with some totally amazed unsuspecting parents, watching their children be a part of that sound (and joining in themselves!)”
Kate Adams (Parent)

The Year of Guitar

“Jackdaws really is making a difference and seeing those children’s faces yesterday really said it all… Working with you and your team is one of the highlights.” Chris Stell (Eden Stell Guitar Duo)

“It’s been our pleasure and privilege to be part of Year of the Guitar. It’s such a wonderful experience to have brought the guitar to so many youngsters many of whom will remember their experience forever …. So what you and the Jackdaws dream team are doing is amazing especially in difficult times … so keep on going and you will always have our support when ever it’s needed.” Mark Eden (Eden Stell Guitar Duo)

“They are so engaging and have pitched it just right for our students, brilliant!”
Andi Nicholson – Head of Expressive Arts, Frome College

The Year of Percussion

“Many thanks once again for such an amazing opportunity for our children.”
Sarah Bullmore – Head Teacher, Christchurch First school, Frome

“Thank you to everyone it was a most memorable occasion for us all. Our children have had a world class experience!”
Theresa Hobbs  Head Teacher, Chilthorne Domer Primary, Yeovil


Jackdaws Music Education TrustContact Details

Saffron van Zwanenberg
Artistic Director at Jackdaws
saffron@jackdaws.org / 01373 812383

Joshua Bishop
Projects and Digital Officer
josh@jackdaws.org / 01373 812383

Jackdaws May 2016Jackdaws Music Education Trust
Great Elm, Frome, BA11 3NY
www.jackdaws.org.uk
music@jackdaws.org
01373 812383
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: JackdawsMusic

Jackdaws Music Education Trust is a registered Charity 1037073.

2017 Review

2017 Review

12 months of activity has given us much to talk about. Our Education projects have excelled themselves, reaching thousands of children across Somerset. We’ve won Awards, reached milestones and made some wonderful music.

Jackdaws Receive the AwardWe started 2017 with our first large-scale project of the year, Year of Recorder, with Recorder virtuosi Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus. The project told the story of “How the Wren Became King”, using music both composed and improvised on recorders of all different shapes and sizes by children from 12 schools performing en masse at Frome’s Cheese & Grain. Less than two weeks before rehearsals and school visits began, we were delighted to win Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence for the second year running  for “The Year of…” project. We continue this project in 2018 with a special Year of Brass, working with Onyx Brass Quintet; join us for the Grand Finale Concert on Tuesday 20 March 2018.

Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017Music Teacher Awards OperaPLUSOperaPLUS (Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2016) revived the successful 2016 production of Donizetti’s The Love Potion, for the composer’s 225th anniversary year with 5 performances with schools across the length and breadth of Somerset in April and May. The humorous and light-hearted tale set on a farm in Somerset of a hopeless lover and his encounter with a trickster street doctor, was a big hit. In 2018, we stay with the work of Donizetti, this time transforming the famous La fille du Régiment into “The Team Mascot”, telling the story of rival football teams and all of the passion that brings.

Song Story focused on the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, telling his story through his music. During the project, 4 Somerset SEND Schools and one Secondary collaborated with Composer William Carslake, Violinist Flora Curzon and Soprano Saffron van Zwanenberg to create an hour-long show, spanning the composer’s child prodigy years through to the tragic unfinished Requiem, encompassing elements of his most famous works played, sung and acted by the group.

On Friday 16 June, the annual Schools Picnic at Jackdaws welcomed 100 children from 5 local schools who all performed and enjoyed a picnic in the Rose Garden. We heard singers, recorder and ukulele players, performing in mixed groups from whole classes down to solo performers. Everyone performed fantastically! Best of all, the rain held off until we had finished our lunch.

Taking the Singing Strategy out of the classroom, the Somerset Singing Festival Frome event on Thursday 13 July was directed by our wonderful singing leader Caroline Radcliffe. It was a heart-warming event, with pupils from schools across the county joining together to sing music they had learnt through the county wide Singing Strategy.

Macbeth at the Jackdaws Summer Production

Macbeth at the Jackdaws Summer Production

We closed the 16-17 academic year with the great news that the first entrants from our Friday club for young people, Jack’s Music Club, had achieved their Bronze Arts Award which they had been working towards through Jack’s. They were the first that Jackdaws have entered for the Award and will now work towards their Silver Award, as the rest of Music Club tackle their Bronze this year. Come and join us on Friday’s at 4.30pm if you want to find out more and make music with other local young people.

At the beginning of the summer holidays our intake of keen young artists were taking part in our Summer Production week. They transformed Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with music inspired by Mahler and set and costume design inspired by graphic designer David Carson.

Judges and Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

With the new academic year came The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017, which marked the 25th Award since its foundation in 1992. The winner was Mezzo-Soprano Ema Nikolovska and we were very privileged to have Mary Nelson, winner of the Award in 1995, judging the competition, alongside renowned accompanist Christopher Glynn and Soprano and Jackdaws Trustee Rosa Mannion. The audience obviously agreed with the judges as Ema won not only the First-place prize, but the Audience Prize as well.

2018

A very big year for Jackdaws as we will be celebrating our 25th birthday!

We will be marking this in a number of ways so please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for further information. Wonderfully, Onyx Brass who are leading our Year of Brass are also celebrating a 25th anniversary in 2018, so schools taking part in the project have the chance to compose a birthday fanfare which Onyx will judge and the winner will be invited to play it at our birthday party in June. There will be cake!

Arts Award LogoWe are also very excited to announce now that we are expanding our opportunities for young people with a brand new Explore the Arts Week, during half term. It will be a chance for children from ages of 7-12 to explore, learn and create using different forms of art. The aim is for the children to take their Discover or Explore Arts Awards, the entry level qualifications, over the course of the week. Get in touch for more information!

Remember that you can stay up to date with all our projects, courses and concerts by signing up to our mailing list at www.jackdaws.org.uk or subscribing at the bottom of this page.

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

Jackdaws Music Education TrustFollowing a close final at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, Jackdaws are delighted to announce the winners of the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards:

First Prize
Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano

Second Prize
Joel Williams, Tenor

Third Prize
Kieran Rayner, Baritone

Accompanist Prize
João Araújo

Audience Prize
Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano

The judges – Mary Nelson, Rosa Mannion, Christopher Glynn and Saffron van Zwanenberg – declared they were thrilled with the standard and commended all who took part.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were started.

The 2017 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of supported from The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Geoffrey & Margaret Batten and a private legacy donation. The Audience Prize was supported by the Jackdaws Trustees.

Ema Nikolovska

Ema Nikolovska by Pablo B. StrongEma Nikolovska is currently on the Artist Masters Course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with Professor Susan McCulloch. Ema was born in Skopje, Macedonia and spent most of her life in Toronto, Canada where she studied voice privately with Helga Tucker for seven years, and also completed undergraduate studies in violin performance on full scholarship at The Glenn Gould School with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. Ema was a semifinalist at the Jack Donnelly Memorial Mozart Competition in London as well as the 3rd International Christmas Singing Competition in Minsk, Belarus. Her work in opera has included covering the role of The Mother in The Consul by Menotti (Guildhall School production, October 2017), and covering the role of Ericlea in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi (Royal Opera House production, January 2018). In Canada, Ema was named a Jeune Ambassadeur Lyrique for 2016, and has performed with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

Ema was a Voice Fellow in the Art of Song Program at the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival 2015 (masterclasses with Soile Isokoski and Martin Katz), a Britten-Pears Young Artist in 2016 for the Slavic Song Course in Aldeburgh (masterclasses with Bernarda Fink), and a participant in the 2017 Masterclasses at the Music Academy of Villecroze with Teresa Berganza. Ema was also a recipient of a Jacqueline Desmarais Grant to attend the Franz-Schubert-Institut 2017 on full scholarship in Baden bei Wien, Austria. Recently, Ema was selected to be part of Thomas Hampson’s Lied Akademie at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, to be held in April 2018. Ema’s studies at Guildhall are generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust and the Elizabeth Sweeting Award.

Humans of Frome Interview with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Humans of Frome Interview with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Saffron van ZwanenbergWalking Vallis Woods to Great Elm from Frome is just about one of the nicest walks that you could find around these parts, at this time of year (October) the trees are in glorious technicolour and we are blessed with these unexpected but very welcome sunshine filled days. The duck pond at Great Elm is a great resting spot, and the view complete with the ancient boathouse on the side of the pond is picture postcard pretty. If you’re luck enough you might even be fortunate enough to hear music emanating from the building hidden behind the boathouse, this is Jackdaws.

Jackdaws is dedicated to improving participation in and enjoyment of music through weekend courses, Education projects, a Young Artists Programme and performances by world class musicians. Their ethos is inspiration, access and inclusion. The charitable trust was established by Opera Singer Maureen Lehane 25 years ago, when she and composer husband Peter Wishart moved to the area. By all accounts Maureen was a powerhouse of a woman with a vision and the determination to match, to this day her legacy lives on in the work of this hidden jewel of a music centre on the fringes of Frome.

Before Maureen died she made very sure that her boots would be filled by just the right feet…..step forward this week’s Human of Frome, Saffron Von Zwanenberg a woman who entered the world of Opera and indeed the Jackdaw’s world by the most unlikely route imaginable.

Born to immigrant parents in 1970s London, Saffron’s Doctor Father is of Dutch extraction and her Artist Mother came to the UK from Palestine at the age of 6. Saffron and her family moved to Newcastle where she lived until she was about 8 years old. I asked if that had been a big move for her, she replied not really and continued with her family tale. The story continues on the remote Island of East New Britain just off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where her Father took up a post in the hospital. That was a big move and city child, Saffron found herself living in Rabaul, famed for having the 5th deepest harbour in the world. The harbour was formed when a prehistoric volcano erupted leaving a circular crater surrounded by newly formed active volcanoes. The Island was small, and continues to remain small as it it lives with the threat of volcanic eruptions every 50 years or so. Saffron recalls happy carefree days, roaming Mango Avenue, the Island’s one shopping street and amusing herself with her Father’s limited tape cassette library. At the age of 13, she returned to Newcastle, the life that she had lived in Papua New Guinea under threat by the imminent eruption of Mount Tarvurvur (which went on to largely destroy Rabaul in 1994).

She describes her return to secondary school in Newcastle as a ‘Baptism of Fire’, explaining that she was quite ‘different’ following her years of carefree childhood in one of the remotest spots on the planet. Saffron talks about bullying but says that that was just a part of life, it didn’t have a label but it was rife in the schools back then…she says however that she was adaptable just like other children and laughingly comments that she had perfected her Geordie accent within her first week back in the city. Music was a saving grace for her, although she was very different to her fellow students in that there was a large gap in her musical knowledge, she didn’t even know who ‘Duran Duran’ were back then. There had been no TV in Rabaul, so if you wanted to enjoy music you had to make it. Her Father had a guitar and a tape recorder that he had bought in Hong Kong on their way out there. Before their departure he had meticulously recorded his entire music collection onto cassette. This left the young Saffron with a limited selection of The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger and Opera to choose from. She chose Opera and the young English girl could be heard regularly singing along to Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti.

Back in 1980’s Newcastle, despite her difference Saffron found her tribe and before too long had established a theatrical company with her friends. This troupe of liberal creatives performed some risque shows in the school hall, including a Full Monty (esque) striptease show (pre The Full Monty), the school however did put their foot down when they suggested putting on their version of The Rocky Horror Show. In this time, one of Saffron’s teachers ‘Mr.Young’ noticed her voice when one day she sang ‘Hey Jude’ with a bunch of other students…Saffron continued singing at the end where the song goes up and up and up, other singers falling by the wayside and open mouthed waiting for her to come back down. Mr.Young was the first person to suggest that she should take singing lessons. Her epiphany came at A level time, she knew then that she had to be an Opera Singer and was supported by her Biology and PE teachers and her parents in her choice.

Saffron secured a place at Trinity College in London where she studied an associate postgraduate course and then went onto achieve a postgraduate in Opera at The Royal College . She eventually left The Royal College as a Junior Fellow. With her academic achievements in her pocket she took a year out and traveled to the USA. Alone, she found herself in New Jersey looking after kids at a religious girl guide camp for a period of months, very out of her comfort zone she persevered as only a Geordie Opera singer via New Guinea can.

Upon her return to the UK she worked for many Opera companies. Disillusioned however with the life of an Opera singer, Saffron gravitated towards the works of a director called Robert Chevara. He hailed from a physical theater background, something in his work resonated with her. She became his assistant for a number of years whilst at the same time developing an interest in Opera and children and its effects on the lives of those who have access to it. Over the years Saffron has worked in many capacities within the world of Opera and education, at one point she commuted weekly from London to Wales where she was Education Officer for Mid Wales. On the recommendation of a conductor friend she participated in her first workshop at Jackdaws nearly a decade ago.

When Maureen Lehane handed the proverbial baton over to Saffron she clearly knew what she was doing. Sounds like she had put her through some rigorous testing over the years, throwing challenges in her path like musical grenades…one of the first being the task of re-creating Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle (the Opera equivalent of The Lord Of the Rings) over a summer period. Of course Saffron rose to the challenge with the same ‘of course, no problem’ attitude as she has approached everything in her life thus far. Now very much a part of the beating heart of Jackdaws, Saffron continues the great legacy of its founder and continuously looks at new and exciting ways to develop it, planning permission and funding have been secured for an extension which will see a new performance hall built on site and an ambitious programme of workshops (over 40) is planned for the coming year.

Jackdaws was a hub of activity on the day that we sat outside chatting, a chorus of birdsong behind us, a flurry of applications arriving for the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, the Trust’s accountant arriving for a meeting, and I am aware that this sleepy little wooded valley is very deceptive….at its heart lies a bustling music education trust and at its helm an unassuming Geordie girl who has had the most extraordinary journey to this place, her spiritual home.

This article was first published by the Frome Times, 24 October 2017.

Humans of Frome was started by Ciara Nolan as a column in the independent newspaper, The Frome Times. It celebrates those individuals who dare to walk their own unique path no matter what difficulties they might have had to overcome along the road. Read more remarkable stories on the Humans of Frome Facebook Page or at The Frome Times.

 

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2017 Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2017 Finalists Announced

Press and Journalists seeking further information should visit the Maureen Lehane EPK

Following two days of auditions, Jackdaws are delighted to present the singers in the final round of the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Award.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Kieran Rayner, Baritone (28)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Catriona Hewitson, Soprano (27)
Accompanied by John Cuthbert (30)

Sinéad O’Kelly, Mezzo-Soprano (26)
Accompanied by Florent Mourier (28)

Joel Williams, Tenor (25)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Eleanor Sanderson-Nash, Soprano (24)
Accompanied by Michael Pandya (22)

Hamish McLaren, Countertenor (23)
Accompanied by Richard Shaw (Official Accompanist)

Timothy Edlin, Bass-Baritone (24)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano (24)
Accompanied by Nathan Tinker (28)

 

Finalists will compete at the Wigmore Hall from 1pm on Friday 10 November. The judges Mary Nelson, Jonathan Lemalu and Christopher Gylnn, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg, will decide who will be the recipient of the £2,000 first prize. The winner will be announced at 3:45pm.

Each performer will present a 15 minute programme made up of four works; one by each of the two set composers, Handel and Peter Wishart, and two own choice selections.

Tickets for the final are available directly from the Wigmore Hall.

The Wigmore Hall

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.

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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