Articles tagged with: Song Story

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.

Song Story Success!

Song Story Success!

Jackdaws Song Story 2016 with William Carslake and Flora CurzonOn 29 June, the final large-scale Jackdaws Education project of 2015-16 saw children from four Somerset schools perform their own response to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a special performance at Robert Blake and Elmwood School in Bridgwater.

Using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi during his original composition, each school developed a response to a particular season with the team. Vivaldi’s sonnets tell a story of the weather and the impact upon humans but our students wanted to update this story to make it more relevant to them, so the four seasons were recomposed to tell of the way we have mistreated Mother Earth, Gaia (ancient English for Earth) so that both her and mankind are now suffering from extreme weather.

All schools agreed that our story needed a superhero; he was to be called Sascha, from Alexander, meaning defender of Mankind. Sascha tries to help Gaia and the people of Earth defend themselves against the weather and the evil duo of the fly-tipping Dr Cuckoo and Lord Bacchus, head of the big oil corporations, poisoning the rivers and oceans.

Ultimately, the people realise they have to work together to help Sascha and unite to save Gaia. Though they succeed, they realise there is still a lot to be done and at the end they pledge to do a better job of looking after the Earth.

The music, mostly adapted from the famous suite of violin concertos, also featured special selections from Vivaldi’s Gloria, and was performed live by Music Director & pianist, William Carslake, violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg. The children performed in choirs and in percussion orchestras.

The unique Song Story project was designed to introduce children to the music of the great composers by engaging them in a live performance, using the composer’s music as inspiration to a dramatic narrative of their own creation.

2013 – A Year in Review

2013 – A Year in Review

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

New Kitchen and Development

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

OperaPLUS

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

Year of the String Quartet

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

Song Story

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

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2013 Winners

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

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

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

Jackdaws Celebrates Britten’s Centenary

2013 is a huge year for Jackdaws. Not only are we celebrating 20 years of Jackdaws, but also the centenary of the birth of England’s greatest composer Benjamin Britten. We did this by coming together with students from Frome College, Oakfield Academy, Selwood Academy and members of the Jack’s club to put on a concert at the College.

Before World War Two broke out, Benjamin Britten had moved to America along with singer Peter Pears, but moved back to England in 1942, where he was registered as a conscientious objector – the idea of not fighting for your country was a terrible crime then. Eventually, Britten was allowed to not fight if he composed and performed for the war effort.

Performing many of Britten’s classics like the War Requiem and Lacrymosa students also worked with local poet Shaun Jackson and composer William Carslake to create music and lyrics about things that meant a lot to Britten – the themes chosen were war, death and peace and belonging. There were even a few fighting scenes performed by Selwood students.

Professional opera singer and Jackdaws’ Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg worked with singers from every school to create the powerfully haunting choral sound similar to that of Britten’s War Requiem and poems were read out that reflected Britten’s opinion of the War and the opinions of those who survived it.

The evening went smoothly – even including a little audience participation – and everyone felt that it had been a successful performance. A little speech from the College’s Principal rounded off a very enjoyable concert.

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