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Auditions open for new Welsh choir Only Kids Aloud

25 October 2011

Auditions have begun in Wales this week for a new children’s choir, run by Tim Rhys-Evans, musical director of the men's choir Only Men Aloud, which won the BBC's Last Choir Standing in 2008. The group, which will be called Only Kids Aloud, will perform with the Russian Mariinsky Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, next April. Auditions for nine- to 13-year-olds will be held throughout the principality.

Choir director Tim Rhys-Evans said: 'This is a chance for children from all across the country to experience and be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' The new project follows the recent success of Only Boys Aloud, a choir of teenage boys from the south Wales valleys. The new choir will appear with the orchestra, chorus and soloists of the Mariinsky Opera, formerly known as the Kirov, and join forces for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No 8 - Symphony of a Thousand – under Valery Gergiev at the Wales Millennium Centre on 1 April next year. The successful singers will be coached by members of Only Men Aloud in the months leading up to the performance

'This is a unique opportunity for children right across Wales, from all backgrounds, to be involved in an extraordinary project with one of the most prominent international conductors and orchestras in the world,' said Mr Rhys-Evans, who added that he would like to 'inspire a new generation of singers'.

For more details contact the Wales Millennium Centre on 029 2063 6450 or email education@wmc.org.uk.

ABRSM launches international scholarship fund

25 October 2011

ABRSM has unveiled a new fund which is designed to encourage music-making throughout the world. The International Sponsorship Fund will be open to 'any individual, group or music organisation outside the UK and Ireland that is engaged in activities that inspire more people to participate in music, music teaching and learning.'

'As a registered charity, the vast majority of the money generated from our activities is used to provide donations to support music education,' said Guy Perricone, ABRSM’s chief executive.

'We recognise that much worthwhile activity takes place on a local basis and that we could play an active role in furthering this. The launch of our International Sponsorship Fund is a significant step in our mission to support music education worldwide. The fund will support activities that might otherwise be unable to move forward.'

Applicants can apply for up to £2,000 from the fund for a 12-month period, with the potential for renewal. Those applying for funding should contact their local ABRSM Representative for an application form or download one from the website. Applicants have until the end of December to submit their applications this year, while any applications received thereafter will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. ABRSM encourages applicants to work with their local ABRSM representative to fill out and submit application forms.


Tutors and coaches targeted in new tax campaign

10 October 2011

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) today launched a Tax Catch up Plan (TCP), targeted at people providing private lessons regardless of whether or not they have a teaching qualification. TCP is aimed at those who profit from tuition and coaching as a main or secondary income on which the correct tax has not been paid, because they have not told HMRC about it.

Included in TCP is an opportunity for those providing tuition, instruction or coaching to come forward (deadline: 31 March 2012) and tell HMRC about their outstanding tax for the years up to 5 April 2010 and pay what they owe. Those who come forward by the deadline 'are likely to receive the best possible terms' for paying the tax owed, and if they have to pay a penalty, it is 'unlikely' to be more than 20% of the unpaid tax. Those who wait for HMRC to come to them will 'pay much higher penalties or even face criminal prosecution'. After 31 March, using information pulled together from different sources, HMRC will investigate those who have chosen not to come forward.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: 'Our campaigns are designed to ensure tax is paid so that the money is available to spend on public services used by everyone. We are making it as easy as possible for people offering tuition and coaching to use this unique opportunity to put their tax affairs in order by making a full disclosure, and benefit from the best possible terms.

'We are using various intelligence sources to identify and then target those who do not take advantage of this opportunity to declare their full income. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.'


Follow HMRC on Twitter at: @HMRCgovuk

Music mourns the loss of two influential educators

7 October 2011

Composer, music educator and community musician David Bedford has died of lung cancer at the age of 74. Having studied with Lennox Berkeley and Luigi Nono he was a distinguished representative of the Modernist school, but worked comfortably with film and pop music, famously arranging Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells for orchestra. The financial imperative to teach became a lifelong passion; he worked in secondary schools until 1980 and undertook numerous commissions for schoolchildren, youth ensembles and community groups. One of his last works was The Wreck of the Titanic, written for school choirs in Cumbria, Lancashire and Liverpool after being commissioned by local authorities in the region.

Lisa Tregale, director of South West Music School, worked with Bedford at Dartington International Summer School on many occasions. ‘He was amazing,’ she recalls. ‘My lasting memory will be of the Solar Eclipse in 1999 when David coordinated this incredible piece with other composers to create an hour-long site-specific piece for over 100 amateur and professional musicians. As an educator and composer he had such enthusiasm, a lust to create the impossible and an innate ability to empower people to do things that they never dreamed of. This heady cocktail brought everyone together to create a totally inspiring piece. I shall miss his continuation to my musical life.'

New Zealand-born musicologist Christopher Small has died at his home near Barcelona, aged 84. Small was classically trained but took an iconoclastic view of music criticism and music education, expressed in his three influential books, all originally published in the UK: Music, Society, Education (1977), Music of the Common Tongue (1987) and Musicking (1998). He believed that music should be seen as an activity to be treasured as a vital human function, rather than as a ‘thing’, and that it was wrong to try to evaluate classical, pop or world musics in comparative terms.

February 2012's issue of Music Teacher will contain a lengthier tribute to the work of both men.


Join Practice-a-thon fundraiser with CLIC Sargent

5 October 2011

CLIC Sargent, a charity for children and young people with cancer, is encouraging schools and groups to take part in Practice-a-thon, a national fundraiser involving young singers, dancers and musicians of all abilities. Schools and groups can hold sponsored events and raise money to help young people with cancer and their families, with the option of keeping 25% of any funds raised to develop their own activities or facilities.

CLIC Sargent is offering a free resource pack with ideas and advice on what schools and groups might need to hold an event. National events manager Emily Felix-Davies said: ‘Practice-a-thon is a really easy way to raise money for a great cause and feel good by practising at the same time. Lack of funds means that the charity can only support two out of three children and young people with cancer – that’s why your support makes such a difference.’


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