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.

Follow us and join in the conversation on Facebook @mfenotts, Twitter @mfenotts and Instagram @mfe.notts #mfenotts

Feeling the chill of winter coming on? Warm it up by booking for one or both of our opportunities for adults, or tickets for the Festival Chorus Concert.

DSC01424Blow the Dust is for instrumentalists, including recorder players, on Saturday 7 January 2017 at Nottingham’s Albert Hall. We suggest Associated Board Grade 2 and above (or equivalent). You will play in different groupings of instruments to give you a wide and enjoyable experience during this orchestral playing day. If you play the recorder, any size of recorder, the ensemble meets in the afternoon only. For more details, click here.

What will we be playing?

The music has been chosen to give scope to players of all abilities and will include Berlioz’s rousing Hungarian March, Tchaikovsky’s lyrical Waltz from his Serenade for Strings especially arranged for full orchestra, the well known Trumpet Tune by Purcell and Elgar’s stirring Pomp and Circumstance March No 4.

There will also be items for windband (conductor Gill Henshaw) and string orchestra (conductor Ann-Marie Shaw). The recorder ensemble will have a varied diet of music carefully chosen by their conductor, Chris McDouall.

MfE-9839The Nottingham Festival Chorus event is spread over two weekends. The rehearsal course, always fun and a challenge to polish up those notes and your singing ability, will be led by Angela Kay, and takes place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January at the Bluecoat Academy, Aspley. The final rehearsal and concert are the following Saturday 4 February in the Albert Hall. For more details, click here.

What will we be singing?

This year, there are two works. One of the favourites of the choral music repertoire, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, which is packed full of memorable themes and classic choruses. And then, from the declamatory opening to the final exultant flourish of chorus and orchestra, Dvorak’s Te Deum is a joyous whirlwind of vitality and excitement! We are delighted to welcome Marcus Farnsworth as guest conductor of the concert. What a privilege and treat.

Concert: To book tickets for the Festival Chorus’s concert, click here.

 

benvenue-fortepiano-trio-mendelssohn-1338472770-article-0This is the splendid Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, known as Felix Mendlessohn to his friends. He is central to some of Music for Everyone’s autumn adult choral events.

On Saturday 1st October, Angela Kay will lead a choral workshop exploring the riches of Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah. There are only a few places left, so sign up soon if you’d like to come. We’re looking forward to seeing you there for a day of singing simply for the joy of it – no concert, no pressure.

The following Saturday, 8th October, the East of England Singers, also conducted by Angela, will give a concert in St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall. Their programme of religious choral music spans 400 years and will include string orchestral pieces by Mozart and Pärt.

Without Mendelssohn, whose piece Beatus Vir opens the concert, the choral music of J S Bach might have been lost for many more years, even for ever. It’s fitting then that the largest work in the concert will be Bach’s glorious motet, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (Sing to the Lord a new song). After the interval the programme travels through the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries with a vareity of well known and lesser known delightful motets. Something for everyone. Click here for tickets.

If you love to sing, Music for Everyone has plenty of choirs for you to join:

Daytime Voices are singing groups based in 5 locations: Southwell, West Bridgford, Wollaton, Sherwood and (new for 2016/17) Ollerton. Although they started this week, you’d still be welcome to join. Click here for info etc.

On Tuesday lunchtimes the Nottingham Lunchtime Choir meets at the Royal Concert Hall for a burst of singing fun. The music ranges from folk and pop to blues and classical.  The rehearsal is short enough to fit into a lunch break for those who work. It doesn’t matter at all if you can’t read music. There will be an exciting opportunity in December to sing in a short concert before the Halle Orchestra’s Christmas Concert. More here.

The East of England Singers (EOES) is an auditioned chamber choir and open to new members. Singers need to have good sight reading ability and time to commit to a busy concert schedule of both EOES concerts and Music for Everyone choral events, where they often form the semi-chorus. The ability to make tea is an advantage.

 

MikeWhat a day! The choir beavered away at their repertoire under the tution of Guy Turner, Mike Gregory, Jane McDouall and MfE’s Artistic Director, Angela Kay. Works being rehearsed are by Rutter Birthday Madrigals, Harris And will ‘a not, Deimer Three Madrigals and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music. The choir then split into upper and lower voices for sectional rehearsals, where tips were also given about technique. The ladies particularly know a lot more anatomy than before they came, and about posture, breathing, core muscles, etc. Singers who normally sing in larger choral societies have expressed enjoyment in singing more intimate works, often sung by chamber groups.

percussion

The full orchestra rehearsed first thing under the baton (newly purchased from the Winblowers stall in the rehearsal hall) of Phil Smith, and played a medley from Kiss me Kate. Instrumentalist split later into the string orchestra and the windband. More about these groups tomorrow. And more in a second post about the Cox Quartet open rehearsal (masterclass in quartet playing) and their concert.

The sun shone again, so coffee, lunch and tea were taken outside by many. Times to chat with old friends and to make new ones.

After lunch, John Florance, a raconteur with a PhD in English Literature and Drama, and former Radio Leicester presenter, explored the importance of music to Shakespeare, and in his plays. He chose a Shakespeare inspired piece from each musical era from the Bard’s time until today, and showed how his words have inspired music of all genres – opera, song, orchestral, ballet, jazz, musical, rock and pop.

JohnFloranceThe man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare.