Community Music and Music for Educational Projects
A musical story, with narration, originally written for the Leipzig bassoon festival to enable beginners to play with professional bassoonists, so that everyone could have a part which suited their ability. I later extended it to include songs, and the ‘beginner’ parts were played by Primary School children on recorders. The use of percussion, movement and art work from the children in also included. (Please see photo gallery)
The story of a music loving dragon who helps the children take care of the environment. The script for this piece has to be totally re-written for every school in which it is performed, as the point of it is to focus on the immediate environment, and to blur the lines between fact and fantasy. Depending on the school, this work can include art work, any particular skills possessed by individuals or groups of children, as well as a part for each class, including nursery and reception. The creation of this piece was reported in Classical Music.
Wind Dragon 2 The Sequel
Created for one particular school. This event included a cameo role by the local MP (who extended his part with ‘topical gags’).
What happens in a Zoo at Night, when a group of clever, music-loving animals organise a party. This piece leads to other stories which the children will read afterwards, and to some new stories devised by the children. It involves research into animal habits and habitats, art work, as the children will wear animal masks, and can involve many other curriculum areas.
Dave the Musical Caveman
I added 8 songs, some more story, and some solos from the adult musicians to demonstrate the sounds of their instruments to the original Dorset orchestra version (with the permission of Richard Baker, who wrote the Dorset story) to extend this piece to a 50 minute romp through the invention of the first ever orchestra.
In April/May 2010 I created a version of Night Spirits at very short notice, for an education event for Manchester Camerata. It involved a string quartet and a brass ensemble from the Camerata, and children who only knew a few notes on a variety of brass instruments, children playing mainly open strings on the viola, and children of similar standard on guitars.
I was asked to write a children’s operetta to involve a variety of local adult music groups, and primary school children, linked to a famous Marmalade Festival in Cumbria. In view of problems with choice of venue, difficulty of rehearsing etc., I suggested making a musical pageant instead. The plan was for me to write a half hour piece, tracing the history of orange cultivation from prehistoric times through the spread of the Roman empire, Columbus, and including James Keiller and his almost accidental setting up of the first marmalade factory in Scotland. I even set two Elizabethan marmalade recipes to music for the adult choir. There was a chamber orchestra and a large children’s choir. This was to be the trial run in February 2009, so I could meet the participants before the big work – a fantasy taking in the history of Cumbria, certain characters connected with the festival venue, etc. The performance of the 30 minute work in a church in Penrith in February 2009 was very well received. In addition to the musicians who performed, several musicians in the audience offered their services for the work the following year. I spent 9 months writing the story and the music, and it was to end with the ‘wall of light’ – all the beacons being lit along Hadrian’s wall. Then they told me they could not perform it because they did not have any money.