In 2013, over 700 schoolchildren from more than fifteen local schools on the Essex/Suffolk borders were actively involved.
Carnival of the animals
500 children from 12 schools took part in a project based on Saint Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Pupils had the unique opportunity to explore the music in school workshops with top animateur James Redwood and renowned violinist Clara Biss. Pupils then attended a top quality narrated performance by festival musicians at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester.
“The whole experience was fantastic. The workshop was highly engaging and motivating and the performance was thoroughly enjoyed by all. It really provided the children with a brilliant opportunity to explore and be creative.”
Music, words and art workshops
In collaboration with the Pimlott Foundation and firstsite gallery. Pupils used art and music to interpret the Carnival of the Animals, created some artworks and performed to their peers and families at firstsite.
Inspirational leader Dominic Harlan worked in several further primary schools to compose and perform an original piece of music. All schools gave a performance at the Mercury Theatre on Sunday 22nd September.
Thank you very much for your organisation and helping us with tickets. We thoroughly enjoyed the concert and my son is now very keen to get the music at home. James was fantastic and I particularly love the way music is physically accessed by the children.
– Marie-Helene Derry
The following schools took part in our 2013 programmes
THURSTABLE HIGH SCHOOL
ST JAMES CE PRIMARY
ST THOMAS MORE RC PRIMARY
THOMAS LORD AUDLEY PRIMARY
WILLOW BROOK PRIMARY
MERSEA PRIMARY SCHOOL
ST HELENA HIGH SCHOOL
PRETTYGATE JUNIOR SCHOOL
LANGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL
BISHOP WILLIAM WARD SCHOOL
CHASE LANE PRIMARY SCHOOL
STRATFORD ST MARY
HAZLEMERE PRIMARY SCHOOL
WILLOW BROOK PRIMARY
MERSEA PRIMARY SCHOOL
ST JOHNS PRIMARY SCHOOL
We received dozens of lovely handwritten letters from school pupils thanking the festival and the musicians, and also the following emails among others:
(from the head teacher of a local primary school) It was a fantastic experience for adults and children alike. The children had the most marvellous time, whether it was performing at the Mercury with a live orchestra, or watching the performance of Carnival of the Animals. The days spend in school just couldn’t be better. All the musicians that came were so passionate about their work and that enthusiasm was so very infectious. The children had such a unique experience it created a real buzz around the school. Also, Dominic getting the whole audience joining in was incredible, but as the HT perhaps my favourite moment was listening to Amanda sing in our school hall. It brought a lump to my throat. Thank you so very much for such opportunities.
(from the head teacher of a local primary school) The children had a fantastic time thank you. Dominic was brilliant as always. Your communication up to the event was good and we would be very happy to take part again, as I love the event as do my year 5 children.
(from the head teacher of a local primary school) I thought having the violin soloist was brilliant and the percussionist had my school children in awe of his skills he was great. I loved the idea of the youth orchestra working with more experienced musicians too. It made a real show of it. In fact, one of my parents after hearing the opera singing has now booked tickets to go and see Carmen somewhere! I love the festival as it gives my children a chance to work with very talented musicians once a year.
(from the head teacher of a local secondary school) I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the concert yesterday. The Side by Side Orchestra was amazing. It really has been inspirational for our students.
(from a head teacher of a secondary school) “Many thanks for the concert today which was fabulous. It was terrific for the girls to hear such a wide range of music up close and personal. The chosen works provided us with excellent material for several lessons that we spent these past two weeks preparing for what we were going to hear.”
(from a participant) “Thought the whole experience was great and the concert was lovely today, was really good to work with and see the professionals perform.”
(from a participant) “I did enjoy the concert and it was great fun to work with all the professional musicians. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event.”
Other schools requested photographs to use as part of a news story they had written on their school website or for their school magazine.
From an audience member “I had a wonderful visit to RRF. Congratulations on your increasing musical outreach – it brings joy to so many people”
(Photo: Dominic Harlan leads a 2013 festival concert)