There was a buzz in the air all day in anticipation of the evening’s performance. Morning and afternoon, instrumental and choral pieces were given a final polish in both the individual and combined groups.

The lunchtime recital was a real treat, given by professional guitarists Saki Kato and Hugh Milington – the Miyabi Duo. Their performance of music spanning several centuries revealed the variety of styles and sounds possible from the guitar, including the use of both body and strings as percussive elements. Like other performers at previous Summer Schools, Hugh had participated in MfE activities as a youngster, though not as a player but a singer!

As you can imagine, arranging a hall to accomodate 150+ performers in wind band, string orchestra, full orchestra and choir formation, with three conducting points, four conductors, two pianos, an organ, two sets of timpani, lots of percussion and a table for tuned wine glasses, while still leaving space for a solist and audience of family and friends, takes some time and is no mean feat, but we did it.

Getting ready for the final rehearsal.

The performance of music reflecting this year’s theme of ‘Voyages of Discovery’ – both in space (Now you understand this blog post’s title!) and at sea – was well received. Everyone sang and played with great enthusism. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in three days of intensive rehearsal with great tutors and conductors. Of course there were a few wrong notes, but there was always the right spirit in the music and the opportunity to perform, which is what Music for Everyone is all about.

The String Orchestra enjoyed a rare opportunity for an amateur group – playing a concerto with a professional soloist. Conductor Abi Smith and leader Isobel Bounford ensured a wonderful balance between orchestra and soloist, Hugh Millington, leading to a beautiful performance of Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto.

The concert ended with a mighty fine I vow to thee my country by all performers and audience – this was within the full orchestra’s rendition of Holst’s Jupiter, which included particularly splendid horn playing.

At every great event, much goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and each participant has a great experience. MfE office staff Amy and Kirstie packed away the urns after the final break having made and served several thousand cups of coffee and tea. (Not forgetting putting out hundreds of biscuits that always disappeared within a few minutes.) They then turned their hands to playing percussion in the evening concert, alongside ‘Events’ Anne tootling her flute and Executive Director Robin compering the evening. And somehow, inbetween and after all that, they collected, set up and served the farewell buffet, then cleared EVERYTHING away until the High School was as though we had never been there.

Huge thanks go to them all, and to conductors Hilary Campbell, Gill Henshaw, Angela Kay and Abi Smith, recitalists and workshop leaders, Richard Cox – THE most amazing accompanist, Nottingham High School for being such fab hosts, and to every participant. We hope you had a great time.

Hilary encouraged the choir to ‘be more Hollywood, less British’, so it seems fitting to say ‘It’s a wrap’ for Summer School 2019! We’ll be back next year with Summer School 2020.

This morning Music for Everyone’s three-day Summer School got underway once more, but at a new venue – Nottingham High School. About 150 instrumentalists and singers arrived looking cheery, pleased to have overcome the absence of trams and the road closures. Or perhaps at the prospect of fresh coffee and pastries…

The day was filled with a rich variety of rehearsals and workshops in preparation for Wednesday’s concert performance. The repertoire for all groups has been themed to complement the 50th anniversaries of both the moon landing and Sir Robin Knox-Johnson’s circumnavigation of the globe.

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars!

More about the wind band and strings tomorrow – today’s focus is on the choir. Angela Kay, Music for Everyone’s founder and artistic director, led the singers through warm ups and into Ola Gjeilo’s Across the Vast Eternal Sky (one of her favourites, apparently). Then she had everyone swinging Fly me to the Moon before ending the morning with a first go at Handel’s Let their celestial concerts, superbly accompanied by Richard Cox. 

Lunch was followed by a recital and workshop with mens’ vocal quartet Scaramella. They entertained us with snatches and glees from 18th century gentlemen’s clubs – as you might imagine, the lyrics featured much wine and were at times on the naughty side! The workshop stretched the singers physically and vocally, and everyone enjoyed exploring Pearsall’s poignant Lay a Garland.

After a cuppa, Jane McDouall, fresh from the south, returned to a warm welcome and led a singing technique session followed by a Q+A. Everyone will be breathing (inhaling, Jane prefers) with shoulders down and the right muscles in play tomorrow. ‘Basically,’ Jane said, ‘there’s no point trying to hold your tummy in and look good if you want to have breath for singing!’ The choir is looking forward to Tuesday’s arrival of visiting conductor and choral director, Hilary Campbell.

“Let those tummy muscles go!”

The combined voices of Nottingham Community Voices and the Nottingham Concert Orchestra put on a show-stopping, dazzling performance at the Albert Hall, Nottingham yesterday afternoon of hits from the stage and screen – including the foot-tapping Mamma Mia medley which raised the roof! ‘Thank you for the Music’ to all our singers…

We also had sparkling solos from our guests Kate Taylor and Simon Theobald and an incredibly moving solo of the Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso from MfE’s very own String Animateur Abigail Smith.

P.S. Don’t miss Vicky McClure’s ‘Our Dementia Choir’ on Thursday night, 8pm, featuring one of our Open Voices members, Bernard Marshall! Our Dementia Choir

Have a good week!

Your friends at MfE.

29/04/2019

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#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s new weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and motivational moments for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.

To subscribe, please email admin@music-for-everyone.org

This year’s Learning Disabilities Week (17-24 June, 2018) is all about health, with a big focus on the Treat Me Well Campaign. This aims to transform the way the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital.

There is much evidence that singing is good for EVERYONE’S health and wellbeing – physically, psychologically and socially.

Music for Everyone determined to offer aDf9GpFbXcAAbdL5 vocal programme – Open Voices – particularly suited to adults with learning disabilities. When the first group started in Sherwood, led by Cliff McArdle and Victoria Barlow, it wasn’t known how many people would come along or whether it would work, but they did and it does! Cliff and Vic engage the choir members in singing an enjoyable range of popular songs. Many singers know the words already, some read them from the projection and others hum along, tap their toes or sway to the music. The group has a mid-session break for a cuppa and chat.

With the success of the programme’s format in Sherwood, a second group opened in West Bridgford, and now there is a third in Beeston. Angela Kay’s younger daughter, Sarah Trevers, has joined the Open Voices music leaders’ team. Singers, volunteer helpers, carers and staff head home feeling that the world is a better place for music and friendship, and with spirits uplifted.

Here’s what Open Wings has noticed about their friends who come to sing at Sherwood Open Voices:

An individual who would never smile now carefully spreads her mouth wide shows her teeth and let’s out a little giggle. An individual who uses a wheelchair, has no verbal communication, but sits next to the piano taking in every single note the wonderful pianist plays, her eyes alight with joy. A unique individual that communicates only through verbal noises volunteering to sing a solo and being so clear when singing Hallelujah! An older man with Aspergers, joining in and singing Let’s go fly a kite, arms up in the air, and clapping his heart out to Lilly the Pink the pink the pink, and a Spoonful of sugar, as he remembered days gone by. A solo of Don’t you want me baby and another of Joseph! Absolutely wonderful to watch the joy on every single participants face.

Such is the power of music! This wonderful project has been made possible through our partnership with Open Wings and Reach and by generous donations from groups and individuals. We are delighted that Mapperley Open Gardens 2018 has made Open Voices one of its three charities this year. The East of England Singers will be singing at one of the participating gardens – 31 Richmond Drive, Sunday 8 July – to assist with the fund-raising.

Saturday 3rd February 2018, 7.30pm | Albert Hall

Angela Kay MBE | Artistic Director

Victoria Barlow | Guest Conductor, East of England Singers

Nottingham Festival Chorus, East of England Singers and Nottingham Concert Orchestra

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • The Nottingham Festival Chorus of 220 singers is likely be the largest choir to perform a choral work of Carmina Burana’s scale in Nottingham this year. Experiencing this music (often used in films and TV) from a seat in the audience is a thrilling and uplifting experience.
  • Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, peformed by the orchestra, and Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, sung by the East of England Singers, are sensual works born of love: Wagner’s for his wife, Cosima, daughter of composer Franz Liszt, and Whitacre’s for his then girlfriend, now wife, the poet and soprano Hila Plitmann.
  • Carmina Burana, meaning Songs of Beuern, is the title of both the collected 13th century poems Carl Orff used as his text and of his composition. The choir sings words in Latin, Middle High German, Old Provencal and Old French. (We always provide translations in our programmes.) The themes of the poems are as familiar in the 21st century as they were when first written: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the mystery of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.
  • Singing in a choir and listening to classical music have been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing. During rehearsals our singers are learning useful Latin phrases from the poems, such as ‘In taberna quando sumas non curamus quid sit humus’, which means ‘When we are in the pub, we do not think how we will go to dust!’

Click here for further information and tickets.

Never mind the nights drawing in, come to a glittering afternoon concert of choral and orchestral music associated with coronations and fireworks, Sunday 29 October 2017, 3.30pm, Nottingham’s Albert Hall. Tickets: (Green button at bottom of link page)

The concert features the Nottingham Festival Chorus, East of England Singers and Nottingham Concert Orchestra, and four very special soloists, all of whom were once singers and players in Music for Everyone’s youth groups and events. They are now all professional musicians.

We are delighted to welcome them back, particularly in this our Year of Youth. Huge efforts are going into offering music making to younger people, many of whom have fewer opportunities for music in schools compared with some years ago, when instruments were loaned, lessons were free, and there was time in the school day for many musical activities. THANK YOU to everyone who has kindly donated so far to help us with this work.

Ruth Provost copy

Ruth Provost, soprano

Emily Hodkinson

Emily Hodkinson, mezzo-soprano

AT-18 copy

Adam Torrance, tenor

Geoff Williams copy

Geoff Williams, baritone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth was a cellist Stringwise participant and later a member of the youth string orchestra. Whilst reading music at Cambridge, she decided to pursue a career in singing. As well as solo performances she has worked with leading choirs – The Sixteen and The Tallis Scholars, to name but two. She is a ‘local’, living in Southwell.

Emily recently graduated from the University of York, where she was awarded the highest Finals Recital mark in her year. She has a career in opera as well as oratoria and  solo performances. She sang in MfE Nottingham Youth Voices and East Midlands Youth Voices when a choral scholar at St Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham.

Adam is currently a fellow at Guidhall School of Music and Drama, where he also studied. He performs operatic roles with a wide variety of companies and is also an accomplished song and oratorio singer. Additionally he is an assistant director. He, along with Geoff, was one the first members of MfE’s Youth Choir, which he enjoyed very much.

Geoff is an accomplished soloist who sings with some of the top London choirs, including Westminster Cathedral, and also enjoys operatic roles. He received a Masters with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music. He has fond memories of his membership of MfE’s Nottingham Youth Choir, where he enjoyed the ambitious and varied repertoire chosen by their then conductor, Jane McDouall.

But back to the concert: The first half is devoted to George Frideric Handel, who was granted British citizenship by act of parliament in 1727. His sparkling Music for the Royal Fireworks is a great concert favourite. Two of his jubilant Coronation Anthems, including Zadok the Priest, will be conducted by another special guest, Jakob Grubbström, who recently conducted the much praised East of England Singers’ concert. The second half opens in the baroque period with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto 3, which has what must be the shortest second movement in the entire classical repertoire – two chords, and if you’re lucky, a short improvisation! This is followed by Mozart’s joyful Coronation Mass, complete with MfE alumni soloists and conductor and MfE Artistic Director, Angela Kay.

Tickets: (Green button at bottom of link page)

 

angelakayHello everyone

As many of you know, this coming Saturday there is gong to be something ‘rather special’ happening at St John’s Church Carrington!  A very rare opportunity to hear a rich variety of both thrilling and soothing music performed by a leading chamber choir, interpreted and conducted by a Swedish conductor, Jakob Grubbström. Do come along if you possibly can, it should be a great evening, and if you feel like letting your creative juices flow during the evening, then why not enter the very first MfE Writing Competition!

Concert information and tickets here until Friday 4pm, and on the door, subject to availability. Doors open 6.45pm.

Angela 
Artistic Director, Music for Everyone
Writing Comp p1 Writing Comp p2

angelakayA message from Music for Everyone’s Artistic Director, Angela Kay MBE

Hello everyone

As many of you know, last year we were raising money for a project to provide music making opportunities for adults with learning difficulties.

Our first meeting of Open Voices (the name we have given the group) took place on Friday 29 September in Sherwood and I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that about 18 people came along (this number included some carers). Everyone enjoyed a morning of music making and they all say they’ll come back next week!

Looking to the future – our plan is to start a 2nd group (probably in West Bridgford) in January and then a 3rd group (probably in the Beeston area) after Easter – the idea being that all three groups come together for a performance in July.

Please do keep spreading the word about this new initiative.

Angela

Open Voices Sherwood

 

Anticipation of the evening concert built throughout the day. It wasn’t possible for all the groups to play every piece studied during the School at the concert, but they enjoyed playing or singing through them for one last time. The orchestra waltzed its way liltingly through Strauss’s Blue Danube.

IMG_5552Baritone Marcus Farnsworth was Wednesday’s guest professional musician. As a local born boy, he sang as a chorister in Southwell Minster.  In 2009 he won first prize in the International Song Competition, and the Song Prize at the 2011 Kathleen Ferrier competion. Marcus arrived fresh from playing Ned Keene in a highly praised staging of Britten’s opera Peter Grimes at the Edinburgh Festival. Five folksongs arranged by Benjamin Britten opened his lunctime recital programme, followed by Gerald Finzi’s song cycle Earth and Air and Rain. The audience was delighted by Marcus’s skilful characterisation of the narrator of each movement. His synthesis of word and music appeared effortless in interpretation and disclosed the true art of performing the musical form, the song. Stefan Reid, who had played for the choir throughout the week, accompanied him with great sensitivity and style.

After a short break, Marcus led the singers in a choral workshop, helping them to develop their technique. A notable point was made about singing consonants. Consonant must be pronouced to convey the lyric, but not in a manner that chops up the phrase. He suggested thinking of consonant as little pegs on a continuous line to anchor rather than break up.

DSC04412Delegates, tutors and staff made their way to the Great Hall in the University of Nottingham’s Trent Building in the late afternoon. After a short break following a final rehearsal, the audience arrived and the singers and musicians took their places. The choir sang such a variety with delicacy and exuberance, including Rutter, Bartok and three songs by our very own Guy Turner. The windband played Old Castle and, combing with the strings, one of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. The string orchestra and Owen Cox gave a stunningly beautiful performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. You could have heard a pin drop in Owen’s closing cadenza. Haydn’s The Heavens are Telling, played and sung by all the Schools’ delegates and conducted by Angela Kay, MfE’s founder and Artistic Director, made for an exhilarating end to a wonderful few days of making both music and new friends.

How fitting that the concert took place on the day Nottingham announced its bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023. Catherine Hocking, the University’s Head of Music, Lakeside Arts, said how well the Summer School fitted this brief. As does all the work of Music for Everyone, with its inclusive policy of arts for all.

We are enormously grateful to the University of Nottingham for their generous hospitality. More photographs of the Summer School can be found on Music for Everyone’s Facebook. Summer School will return in 2018!

IMG_5612

 

Music Background.

Do you play a musical instrument or recorder? Then join this summer’s Blow the Dust off Your Instrument on Saturday 10 June for a day of ensemble playing – string orchestra, windband, full orchestra, recorder consort. An addition to the programme this year is guidance in the Alexander Technique to ease the aches of practising and performing. We know we’ll all find it beneficial. Music for the day is sent out in advance and we make sure there are parts for players of all abilities between Grades 2 (or equivalent) and 8 and above. Click here for more information and to book your place. An informal concert for family and friends begins at 5.00pm.

If you’re a singer, then  sign up to be part of the Nottingham Festival Chorus (NFC) for a weekend. Perform a range of works accompanied by the Albert Hall’s mighty Binns organ. This is a rare and not to be missed opporunity. Singing Parry’s ‘I was Glad’ will be a spine tingling, exultant experience. Workshops take place on Saturday and Sunday 24/25 June culimating in a splendid concert of music performed by the Festival Chorus, conducted by Angela Kay, the East of England Singers, with guest conductor Jakob Grubbström, and organist Michael Overbury. There will be an informal and unticketed concert at 3.00pm on Sunday 25 June (note the earlier than usual start time).

Our annual, popular and praised Summer School for adult singers and instrumantalists is now open for booking. This rich three-day experience includes workshops, concerts and masterclasses from visiting professionals, and social events. It takes place in the easily accessible and pleasant surroudings of the University of Nottingham and University Park. Each year the School has been greatly enjoyed by participants both local and from as far afield as the US and Australia! Take a look at the programme and book your place. We look forward to seeing you there. Accommodation for delegates from further afield is not part of the package but the luxury Orchard Hotel located at the other end of the campus is currently offering great rates – £189.60 for THREE nights bed and breakfast.

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