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Pioneer of British Kodaly training Cecilia Vajda dies aged 87

30 November 2009

Cecilia Vajda has died at the age of 87. A pupil of Kodaly's, Vajda came to the UK from Hungary in 1967. She went on to found the British Kodaly Society (later Academy), running over 20 summer schools and publising two books on the method. She was also the Academy's first president. This year, Vajda was honoured with the prestigious Bartok-Pasztory Award in recognition of a lifetime's work in Kodaly training.

In Harmony Lambeth opens music portacabin

30 November 2009

In Harmony Lambeth, a community music project based on Venezuela's El Sistema, has acquired a portacabin that has been kitted out for use as a teaching, practice and rehearsal room. The project is based at the community hall of the Lansdowne Green Estate where facilities up to now have been limited; the portacabin will provide valuable extra space. In harmony Lambeth is implemented by Lambeth Music Service with partners the Southbank Centre and Amicus Horizon, based on best known practice in music teaching and social intervention.

MusicLearningLive!2010 to take place at RNCM on 25-26 February

17 November 2009

Zone New Media’s MusicLearningLive!2010 will take place at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music on 25-26 February. A dynamic music education festival, professional development event and trade exhibition, it will offer hands-on workshops, presentations, debates, performances, case-studies and demonstrations, with the aim of showcasing the range of activity going on in the music education sector.

Keynote speeches will be given by ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts and Paul Collard, chief executive at Creativity, Culture and Education. Other highlights will include a pre-General-Election ‘Question Time’, with panelists including former Music Manifesto Champion Marc Jaffrey and Federation of Music Services Chief Executive John Witchell; a performance/workshop with Grammy-award winning composer, teacher and jazz artist Tim Garland; and a workshop with renowned choral coach and educator Sue Hollingworth. There will also be a one-day specialist mini-conference for primary teachers, which will run on both days for delegates who can only attend on one day. In addition, there will be sessions on Kodály, Dalcroze, special needs, ICT and world music.

Fees are £350 plus VAT for the full two days or £215 plus VAT for just one. Places can be reserved online; there are various discounts and concessionary rates available. Email for more information, or call 020 3303 0888.

Classic FM names its Music Teachers of the Year

12 November 2009

Classic FM has teamed up with Yamaha, Sibelius and Music for Youth once again to recognise and reward the nation’s most inspirational music teachers.

As well as recognising primary and secondary school music teachers , the awards also pay tribute to peripatetic music teachers , those who work with children with special needs and newly qualified music teachers .  And for those who have made music teaching their life's work, there's an award for Lifetime Achievement .

The awards were presented at the Music For Youth Schools Proms over the three nights at the Royal Albert Hall. The winners are:

Special Education Needs Teacher : Karen Rough - The Lindfield School, Eastbourne
Peripatetic Teacher: Chris Waters - Midhurst Primary School, West Sussex
Primary School Teacher: Laura Stevens - Kingswood Primary School, South London
Secondary School Teacher: Caroline Gale - Guidlford Country School, Guildford
Lifetime Achievement: John Crouch - North Kesteven School, Lincolnshire

The six winning teachers each receive thousands of pounds worth of musical equipment from Yamaha and Sibelius for their schools.

BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year 2009 announced

9 November 2009

The winners of BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year 2009 competition have been announced. Laurence Kilsby and Jacquelyne Hill won the final, held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 23 October and broadcast on Radio 2 on 1 November.

Having got through two rounds of heats, each of the eight finalists (four boys and four girls) had to sing two verses of a hymn and an anthem in front of an audience, and a panel of judges comprising Lindsay Gray (director of the Royal School of Church Music), singer and actress Barbara Dickson, vocal coach Carrie Grant and composer Karl Jenkins.

Kilsby, an 11-year-old chorister at Tewkesbury Abbey and pupil at Dean’s Close School, won the boys’ section with ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’ and Ireland’s A Thing Most Wonderful, while 17-year-old Hill of St Andrew’s, Tarring, and Steyning Grammar, took the girls’ prize with ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’ and Gounod’s Ave Maria. Hill was one of two finalists from parish church choirs, with Radley and Winchester colleges, and the cathedrals of Peterborough, Winchester and Chester also represented.

Both winners receive a trophy and a choice of lessons with a leading British vocal coach. They will also have the chance to appear on television and radio, including on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday and Radio 4’s Daily Service, with a Songs of Praise appearance being mooted as well.

The annual competition, running for the 24th time, was open to choristers aged between 11 and 17 who are regular members of a choir or other music group, singing in acts of worship of any denomination. The final was hosted by Aled Jones, and the event also included a performance by Only Men Aloud, the winners of BBC One’s Last Choir Standing in 2008.

Bob Shennan, controller of Radio 2, said: ‘These two talented young singers represent the best of religious choral singing in the UK. Radio 2 is delighted to recognise the contribution that young people make to choirs and music groups in places of worship across the UK and give their musical talents a national platform.’

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