After a hiatus of two years, it was wonderful last week for us to be able to resume our programme of learning and outreach work with a series of workshops with over 300 Year 5 and 6 students (ages 9 to 11) at Danesfield and Minehead Middle Schools.
The students were visited by singers from award-winning professional choir The Marian Consort as part of an ongoing project which will see them working with composer Ben Rowarth to create a brand-new piece of music all about ‘The World Around Us’, which they will perform for the first time in specially-devised concerts together with The Marian Consort as part of this May’s Festival.
The focus of the new composition will be the natural world and our impact on it, something that has come into sharper focus in the last year as a result of both the pandemic (and a renewed awareness of the importance of the landscape and our natural environment for our mental health) and also the pressures of climate change, particularly in light of the most recent study by the Natural History Museum showing that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. This will be knitted together with concepts of musical recycling, in parallel with ideas around re-using and recycling and transforming our everyday environment for the better.
We’re hugely grateful to the Somerset Community Foundation, the Michael Tippett Foundation, the Golsoncott Foundation and others, including our fantastic Festival Friends, for their support of this project, which is part of our programme bringing classical music into the local community, particularly to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access it.
Below is some feedback from the students involved:
“I learnt that when you sing a canon, it sounds beautiful” Mylie
“My favourite thing was that we got to sing with them and do lots of different things with our voices” Bethany