Scrapping of Shetland Islands' free music tuition put on hold
18 June 2010
Plans to charge £140 a year for peripatetic music lessons in the Shetland Islands suffered a blow yesterday as local councillors agreed to hold a review into the scheme, which had been due to start in the new school year.
The current scheme of free music tuition had been under threat as councillors tried to cut £10m from the council's overall budget. The council had agreed in February that tuition fees would come into force, estimating that this would bring in revenue of around £130,000.
However, at yesterday's council meeting, Shetland South councillor Rick Nickerson supported a review of the plans, disputing that such revenue could be made. Mr Nickerson said he hoped to return to the council on 25 November with a package that would save more than £130,000 from the music service without removing free tuition from the islands’ schools. Plans for a review were finally supported by eleven votes to eight.
Councillor Betty Fullerton was concerned that after agreeing to consult on closing schools during the same meeting, members were considering going back on a decision to stop free music tuition.
“I am quite angry about this. We have to make savings, and maybe we should charge more. Moray charges £258,” she was quoted as saying.
A petition signed by over 6,000 people in protest at the removal of free music lessons was handed over to the council on Wednesday, after a campaign led by local musicians.
Vetting and Barring Scheme to be put on hold
15 June 2010
New home secretary Theresa May has announced plans to halt the Labour government’s controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme. Registration, which would have been compulsory for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was due to begin this month; this will now be put on hold while the government contacts 66,000 organisations, charities and education bodies to inform them that a full-scale review of the scheme is to take place.
Speaking to the BBC, May described the scheme as ‘draconian’: ‘You were assumed to be guilty until you were proven innocent. All sorts of groups out there were deeply concerned about this and how it would affect them. Schools were very concerned that foreign exchanges could be finished as a result of this, and parents were worried about looking after other people’s children after school.’
Education leaders complained that the registration of nine million people would create an unacceptable atmosphere of suspicion. Children’s authors including Philip Pullman threatened to end school readings if forced to sign up, and headteachers argued that longstanding volunteer workers would be lost. A concern for music teachers was that adults were to be charged £64 to register, whereas the cost of the current CRB check is often carried by employers. The CRB check will remain in place while the review is carried out, although the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the organisation set up to run the scheme and the database it would have produced, will continue to decide who is to be barred from certain jobs. It will also manage the lists of individuals barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.
The Vetting and Barring Scheme was intended to tighten the rules on who could work in which jobs, and would have been the biggest child protection database in the world, covering one in four adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It would have brought together information from a number of separate lists and eliminated the need for repeated CRB checks, which was thought by some to be a positive step.
The review looks likely to result in a scaling down of regulations, resulting in fewer people being required to register. A detailed ministerial announcement is expected shortly.
Educators, performers and composers named in Birthday Honours list
14 June 2010
Composers George Benjamin and Karl Jenkins have been awarded the CBE for services to music in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Terence Alan Clarke, assistant headteacher and arts coordinator at Langley School, Solihull, was also awarded the CBE, for services to education. Langley School is a specialist performing arts college with a strong take-up for GCSE music, offering ensembles including a rock band, choir, orchestra, saxophone/clarinet ensemble and Key Stage 3 band. William Ashton, life president of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, was awarded the OBE.
Veteran musicians and teachers Richard and Julia Moss were awarded the MBE for services to classical music in Kenya. The Mosses have been leading figures in Nairobi’s music education for half a century, during which time they have taught in many of the city’s schools and worked for the City Council’s music teachers’ division. For the last 12 years they have run the Quaver Orchestra, a children’s orchestra that brings together young musicians from across the city. They are about to publish Quavers on the Equator, a history of the Nairobi Orchestra.
Others awarded the MBE include David Young, conductor of Dublin Welsh Male Choir; Leonard Andrews, for voluntary service to brass band music in Warrington, Cheshire; Richard Best De La Rue, for services to music and the community in Guernsey; Margaret Houghton, for voluntary service to choral music in Cambridgeshire; Philip Kelsall, resident organist, Tower Ballroom, Blackpool; Janet Townsend, for services to music and to the community in Port Isaac, Cornwall; and Evelyn Robins, principal, Eve Trew School of Dancing and Gateshead Children’s Arts and Theatre School, for services to the arts in the North East.
BBC Proms releases Family Events brochure
14 June 2010
The BBC Proms has published a mini-brochure which lists all the festival's family events from 16 July to 11 September.
Highlights include the return of the popular Doctor Who Prom, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales joined by real-life Doctor Matt Smith and his companion Karen Gillan for a programme including Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Holst's Mars from The Planets and a selection of music from the show itself.
Also look out for two family concerts on the August Bank Holiday (30 August): the Children's Prom in the morning features young performers from the National Children's Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Chamber Orchestra and professional Aurora Orchestra performing pieces by Brahms, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Satie; while the evening concert will feature a sing-along medley of famous cinema themes as well as the BBC Proms Family Orchestra and Chorus (made up of families from Cornwall and London) giving the premiere of PK, a new work by Graham Fitkin.
Meanwhile there will be seven 'Family Music Intros' as part of the Proms Plus series - accessible introductions to the music at that evening's concert given by presenters and members of the performing orchestra - and a series of workshops held by the Proms in collaboration with the Royal College of Music's Sparks project: Summer Music Workshops for ages 6-12 (27 July; 3, 10, 18, 26 August); Summer Springboard weekends for ages 13-15 and 16-18 (28-30 July and 4-6 August respectively); and the Fantastic Journeys Workshop with the National Youth Orchestra (7 August).
Charles Wood Summer School, Armagh, 22-29 August
14 June 2010
The 17th annual Charles Wood Summer School for choral directors, singers and organists will take place in Armagh, Northern Ireland, on August 22-29. David Hill will direct the Charles Wood Singers, the choir which forms annually for the festival, and will be assisted by Daniel Hyde; the festival's Boys' Choir will be directed by Nigel McClintock and assisted by Ian Keatley; and specialist vocal coach Paul Farrington will also attend.
The festival includes a number of teaching or workshop sessions, starting with a day's choral conducting seminar (23 August) in four parts: 'Choir training', a discussion between participants, David Hill and Daniel Hyde with assistance from summer school singers; 'How does the voice work best?' with Paul Farrington; an open rehearsal with David Hill, Daniel Hyde and the Charles Wood Singers; and a 'Come and sing' performance of Mozart's Requiem. There will be another open rehearsal, with David Hill, Paul Farrington and the Charles Wood Singers, on 24 August, and an organ workshop with Daniel Hyde on the same day. Paul Farrington will give two vocal workshops on 25 and 26 August, while both he and Daniel Hyde will be available to give individual lessons during the week.
There will also be a number of concerts and recitals during the week, with the new addition of three lunchtime recitals. Highlights include the opening organ recital by David Hill and Stephen Hamill (22 August), a candlelit concert of Victoria and Franck (25 August), the fesitval's gala concert (27 August), and the closing festal evensong (29 August).
Events are priced individually, with details available in a published brochure or through the festival's website. The Royal College of Organists has joined the festival to offer a scholarship for one person to include attendance fees, accommodation and travel expenses. See the website for details.
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