Here in the CLS office, there is always at least one person humming or singing a musical phrase on an endless loop, whether it’s the office phone ring tone (we’ve recently changed it one called ‘jazzy night’ and it’s lethal…) or a piece we performed in a recent project / concert.
In this blog post we’ve collected some of these brain-melting melodies that go round and round our minds on a daily basis… You may need this ‘cure for earworms’ after you’ve finished reading!
Over the last few months we’ve been working with our newest trainee, Emma Halnan, a flautist from the Royal Academy of Music, who joined our animateur-in-residence Claire Henry for our latest Key Stage 1 project based around the theme of ‘Wacky Weather’!
We sat down with Emma to ask a few questions about her time as a trainee, including her funniest moments, biggest challenges and favourite memories.
Tell us a little bit about what you did during your time as an animateur.
Whilst working on this project, I had the opportunity to work alongside Claire Henry, a very experienced animateur. We spent three days delivering workshops in schools, preparing the children to watch and participate in the final concert: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. In the first session I mainly observed Claire, but as the project went on, I took on a bigger role. I introduced my flute and performed for the children, taught them about Vivaldi and the Four Seasons, andaccompanied their singingand the raps they had put together, all about the weather!
What would you say was your funniest memory?
Often the children’s extreme reactions to new things – “It’s going to be AMAZING!” – although I’m not sure I’d entirely class this as funny, just really great! Claire’s outfit was also rather brilliant in the final concert.
What did you find most challenging?
In general, the children we worked with were really responsive and well-behaved. We visited one school on the last afternoon before their half term break, which affected the children’s concentration somewhat, and brought its own challenges. It is always a challenge to keep all children equally engaged throughout an entire session, but I do think this actually was a very successful project.
What was your favourite part?
Many parts! I always particularly enjoy the initial session, as so much is new for the children and they get so excited! It was also very satisfying to see everything come together so well.
Was the life of an animateur what you expected it to be?
I have worked in this field before, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect; however, every animateur deals with things very differently – they all have their own unique ideas, strategies, games etc. It is therefore always fascinating to work with somebody new, and to draw upon their knowledge and experience.
Last week our new Patron, Dame Felicity Lott sang in several of our recent Meet the Music projects with young kids, including two concerts for Key Stage 1 children in Tower Hamlets and Harrow. Preceded by a number of workshops with our animateur-in-residence, Claire Henry, the projects were curated as an interactive introduction to the idea of the orchestra, with special activities to demonstrate different instruments and sounds.
Photographs of the culminatory concert in Tower Hamlets, December 2014 taken by Philip Maglieri
Centred on the theme of the ‘Winter Star’, Claire presented the concert as an Arctic explorer who had to navigate her way through the cold blizzards to try and find the star to put on top of the tree! Wowing over 240 children aged 4 – 7 with a heart-pulling performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Felicity Lott acted as the ‘guiding light’ to help find the final piece of star Claire needed! Known to the kids as ‘the woman with the most beautiful voice in the world’, the anticipation and excitement for them to meet the famous soprano was absolutely amazing!
Feedback and drawings from project participants, December 2014
‘Last year I went to see CLS do a programme for children in a church in Shadwell. It was terrific and the orchestra looked to be having a great time playing for the children, who were wide-eyed and enthusiastic. I’ve always wanted to …do something useful, maybe, but wouldn’t know how to go into a classroom and sing for the children- they’d laugh me out of the room! This seems like a good way-in, and the orchestra is really committed to this educational work, which is vital both for building up audiences and more importantly, because music is such a civilising, beneficial art form. Singing together, playing together, without competing, can be so useful and fulfilling, and everyone should know it’s there and can be for them if they like it.’
In preparation for our family concert this Saturday, Crash Bang Wallop! Christmas Star we’ve prepared a fun festive playlist to give you a taste of the kinds of things we’ll be playing. Starring special guest Dame Felicity Lott (who, by the way, is appearing on Classic FM’s live webchat at 11am today!), there is plenty of fun festive tunes as well as carols to sing a long to!