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Liverpool In Harmony makes its debut

17 July 2009

The West Everton Children's Orchestra gave its debut performance on 13 July, playing alongside members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) at Philharmonic Hall, in the presence of Julian Lloyd Webber, schools minister Diana Johnson, and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, writes Glyn Mon Hughes. The concert by the 81-piece orchestra was the culmination of the first phase of the RLPO's In Harmony programme. The programme, being piloted in London and Norwich as well as in Liverpool, is based on the inspirational Venezuelan music project El Sistema.
It is a mere 12 weeks since 92 free instruments were delivered to Faith Primary School in West Everton, a deprived area on the outer fringes of Liverpool city centre, adjacent to the RLPO's rehearsal facility. Every day the children, as well as 11 members of staff including teachers, teaching assistants, the school's headteacher, school secretary and dinner ladies participate in musical activities.
'Today was a highly moving experience,' said Lloyd Webber, chairman of the In Harmony programme. 'We often refer to performances as moving but to see what has been achieved here in 12 weeks is astonishing. just imagine what these children can achieve in the future.'

Llangollen Eisteddfod to become year-round education centre

17 July 2009

A new plan has been launched to turn the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod into a year-round  resource for music education, writes Glyn Mon Hughes. The new venture between the Eisteddfod, held annually in July at the North Wales town, and Wales Arts International, part of the Arts Council of Wales, will see a nine-month pilot project put in place, with the aim of improving choral directing nationally.

'The intention is to move to a greater year-round presence, undertaking more outreach activities,' said Mervyn Cousins, executive director of the Eisteddfod. 'We're in constant touch with our contacts round the world who provide their talents for us on six days each year, but we felt that we weren't really maximising those contacts, and the new poject will help us do that. I certainly hope it will lead to other similar projects in other areas, particularly in the field of education. We feel strongly that by employing these internationally recognised experts we will enable them to act as a conduit for development in Wales.

'While there are many excellent choral irectors in Wales, we are often told that people would like to spend time improving their training techniques or thinking about expanding their repertoire,' added Cousins. 'Now they can do that with some of th best directors from around the world.'

Three days of mentoring from choral directors in Wales are planned, together with a preliminary day at Llangollen in the autumn. with Mervyn Cousins and Peter Broadbent. A two-day event with a range of international music directors is planned for the spring.

Schools department plans a year of music

17 July 2009

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, has announced plans for a national year celebrating music, starting this September.

To coincide with Shine Week, which celebrated young people's talents in everything from sewing to singing, Balls outlined the plan for a national campaign 'to give every child the chance to get more from music', which will run throughout the 2009/10 academic year and offer 'unprecedented opportunities for children and young people across the country to participate in a range of music-related activities'.  In addition to performance, these will include activities such as learning to manage a music production or write lyrics.

The campaign is intended to provide a spotlight for the work schools are already doing as well as to inspire new activity, leadership and commitment to music education. Letters have been sent to schools and potential stakeholders outlining the plans and the Department for Children, Schools and Families will be running a series of briefings during August to discuss engagement opportunities.

Schools performances and workshops at Glyndebourne

16 July 2009

Glyndebourne will once again be offering its Performances For Schools programme this autumn, presenting Cosi fan Tutte and Falstaff for schools and colleges. Aimed at young people of all ages from primary school to university, this initiative gives 3500 students the opportunity to experience professional opera.  

Cosi fan tutte takes place on 20 October at 11am and Falstaff takes place on 23 October at 3pm. Booking forms can be downloaded from the Glyndebourne website.  

In addition, Glyndebourne is offering two schools workshops for teachers to complement the performances. These sessions will be led by a team of workshop leaders from Glyndebourne and will help teachers to prepare students attending a performance, covering a range of skills suitable for practical work and introducing resources which support these skills. Cosi fan tutte is covered on 15 September and Falstaff on 16 September. The cost for each workshop is £40. Availability is strictly limited; email to register your interest.

Spitalfields seeks budding animateurs

15 July 2009

Spitalfields Music will be recruiting up to six apprentices to its Music Animateur Apprentice Scheme this academic year.

The Music Animateur Apprentice Scheme aims to equip those at the beginning of their careers with the skills necessary to lead effective and successful workshops. Apprentices will assist on at least two projects, develop skills in workshop leading and facilitating and attend regular seminar sessions. Each apprentice will receive a training bursary for their involvement.

Application packs can be downloaded here or requested by calling 020 7377 0287. Closing date for applications is 16 September. Auditions and interviews will take place on 2 October.

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