Members of the CRSO visited Danecourt School in Gillingham recently to spend the day with the children exploring music and musical instruments. In this week’s blog entry, CRSO Orchestral Manager Lis Sadler reports on this great example of living the CRSO’s mission to “nurture excellence in our community through music“:
“What is our vision for CRSO? We would like to be at the heart of our community, making music for our local population in Medway and beyond, and inspiring them with love for our cultural heritage. In particular, we would like to engage with the younger generation, inspiring them to listen to live music, perform and compose. With this aim in mind, I went to meet with the music coordinators of the Medway primary schools two months ago. I offered to work with them and asked for ideas.
As a result of this meeting, 14 of us from the CRSO (and Karen Brown from our friends at the Old Barn Orchestral Society kindly helping us out on the flute) spent the day at Danecourt School last Wednesday, performing and making music with five different groups of children. We were supporting Danecourt’s project week and the topic was ‘Minibeasts’, so we had lots of fun with ‘Incy Wincy Spider’, ‘Beetle, Beetle’, ‘There’s a Worm at the Bottom of the Garden’ and ‘Colin the Conducting Snail’. I found out that some of our members have true hidden talents when it comes to letting their hair down and improvising on nursery rhymes.
The children also got the chance to experience four short pieces of classical music. They were allowed to join in with Bach’s Badinerie by playing percussion instruments, and to join in with Holst’s Dance from the Brook Green Suite by wriggling scarves to express the ‘wiggly’ energy of the piece. Whilst the orchestra performed Rutter’s Prelude from the Suite Antique (arranged by Jacob Bride), Sarah Mann, the Danecourt teacher, recited a beautiful minibeasts poem.
Shannan Smith performed the first movement of Bach’s A-minor violin concerto and the children listened beautifully. When asked what they enjoyed the most, the children had many different answers: ‘the singing’, ‘the violins’, ‘the flute’, ‘the cellos’, ‘everything’. It was heart-warming to hear their enthusiasm.
At the end of the day, we were totally shattered and full of admiration for Sarah, who not only planned and taught the five lessons last Wednesday, but also teaches and inspires those children with the same amount of energy every day, year in year out.
We are looking forward to going into more schools. It would be wonderful if we could attract funding to support musical tuition in the schools that we visit. We feel very strongly that if we support music amongst young local people now, Medway will be a hub for creativity and culture in the future.”