Category Archives: Intergenerational music

John’s Project – Part 2

John Morris, to whose memory we dedicated our July 2016 “Conversation Pieces – Words and Music uniting the Generations”, gave many hours of administrative time during his retirement years to the Croydon Performing Arts Festival. He was a passionate advocate of the Festival’s Asian Music section, and I think he would have been especially delighted that the second phase of our memorial project this year featured a 14 year old veena player, Malathy Nithiyananthan.

Veena IMG_3501 colour edit

Malathy was able to come and play just at our last performance at Woodcote Grove House, and we were all thrilled to see this large and beautiful instrument at close quarters as she carried it round the room to show everyone before playing a beautiful raga-inspired piece.

Our other two young musicians for the full two-day project on 19 and 20 July were 15 year old Carol Leader who played flute in the ensembles and a Chopin Nocturne as piano soloist, and 16 year old Joseph Mackley, who played mostly alto saxophone in our programme but who also played his French horn, played a piano solo, and truly enchanted everyone when he sang “Some Enchanted Evening”.

19 20 July Joe and Ian FullSizeRender colour edit

Ian Fasham, just emerged from an intensive run of Garsington Opera, was able to join Margaret Archibald to lead the rehearsals and to give a sonorous bass to the ensemble numbers flexibly scored for flute, clarinet, saxophone or horn, and trombone. Given this line-up we needed to create some of our own arrangements and to make imaginative use of pre-existing ones. We put in a solid three-hour rehearsal at Red Court Nursing Home, where we were offered free use of a spare lounge all morning to prepare for our concert there that same afternoon. By the time we were eating our picnic under a garden sunshade we had come up with a programme ranging from a Marenzio Madrigal and a Monteverdi Canzonetta to favourites from the West End, film and TV.

We had picked two of the hottest days of the year for these concerts, and after a short rehearsal and morning concert next day at Beth Ezra Trust we were once again grateful for the offer of a shady patch in the garden to eat our picnic. Then it was just a short drive round the corner to Woodcote Grove House, where a few residents from Orford House across the lawn were able to join us in the elegant lounge for the last concert of the series.

19 20 July tutti FullSizeRender colour edit

“I had hoped that the project would be fun and different”, wrote Carol, “and it certainly was! As well as playing music, I particularly enjoyed talking to the elderly residents at the 3 care homes to learn about them and their story”. Joe had offered us a wide selection of choices from his repertoire and we particularly wanted him to share two of the most popular items. Later Joe wrote “Your choice of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ provided great joy and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ put big smiles on everyone’s face. My expectations were exceeded as we made them happier than I had anticipated. Talking to the residents following our concerts was a wonderful opportunity to find out what they enjoyed and hear about the very interesting and varied lives that they have had. It was a very enjoyable two days and it really made people happy”.

Thanks to the generosity of John’s many friends, over the four days of our project two separate groups of young musicians from the Croydon Performing Arts Festival have rehearsed with their professional colleagues and performed alongside them in six of Croydon’s care centres for older people, and we very much hope that this year’s collaborative project will be the first of many.

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Thank you David!

A lovely picture from David in our audience last Tuesday at Cherry Orchard Centre…

David's Cherry Orchard picture colour edit

…celebrating the music in our concert for flute, clarinet, trumpet and ‘cello.

Everyone Matters is mounting a four-day project this July in memory of John Morris who worked tirelessly over many years as a volunteer administrator for the Croydon Festival of Performing Arts. The project “Conversation Pieces – Words and Music uniting the Generations” was chosen in discussion with John’s family and friends to celebrate music’s power to bring people together regardless of age or circumstance.

Our first two days took place on 4 and 5 July when 18 year-old flautist Daniel Jacob-Ormson and 17 year-old trumpeter Nick Smith, both Festival prize-winners, rehearsed and performed alongside clarinettist Margaret Archibald and ‘cellist Julia Desbruslais in concerts of Baroque, Classical and traditional music. We started our day with a full morning of rehearsal in the Chapel at Whitgift House, working up a programme of Baroque concerto and trio sonata movements by Caldara, Corelli and Reinhart, a “London” Trio by Haydn, a Church Sonata by Mozart, our own arrangement of the famous Tambourin by Gossec, and traditional tunes including the “Pugwash” hornpipe, the glorious “Danny Boy” appropriately played by Dan on the flute, and the Keel Row briefly featuring the piccolo.

Our first concert on the Monday was at the South Croydon Centre, where we offered post-luncheon entertainment to some 20 older people for whom the Centre provides support, company and hot meals. After a good chat over cups of tea all round, we popped back across the road to give our second concert in the newly refurbished and extended Community Room at Whitgift House; it was good to see so many friends from previous visits to this continuing care community in our audience, including a number who also attend our Tuesday night Music Matters lecture-recitals in Whitgift House Chapel, and a former trombonist who especially enjoyed meeting fellow brass player Nick:

Whitgift House P1030856

Tuesday morning began with a short top-up rehearsal followed by our concert at Cherry Orchard Centre that provides day opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. The 50-strong audience ranged from people in their 20’s to others in their 80’s, a lovely reflection of the project’s primary aim to bring the generations together in a shared enjoyment of music. Finally we were off to Wilhelmina House, playing in their new lounge where thankfully we started our afternoon performance just as the bulldozers outside ceased work for the day!

We asked our young colleagues what they most enjoyed about the project; for Nick it was”playing with an ensemble of such a high standard” and for Dan “the response, it was a nice surprise to see how much the audience enjoyed it”.

Whitgift House P1030853

Conversation Pieces – words and music uniting the generations

8.30a.m. is a cruel time of day to start a rehearsal. Nicoline, Ian and I arrived at Langley Park School for Boys on Monday in time to spend a long morning working with eight young musicians in preparation for concerts that same afternoon and on the following day for older people in local care settings. Head of Music David Bullen not only conducted, but also played the piano, played the clarinet and drove the bus, and staff violin specialist Lisa Fry coached and played to complete the ensemble. Some of the boys had only been in the school a couple of weeks as brand new Year 7s, holding their own in a mixed group of violins, cello, flute, bassoon and horn, with Nicoline Kraamwinkel playing the violin and coaching the strings, Ian Fasham playing the bass trombone and coaching the wind alongside me, Margaret Archibald, on clarinet.

Concert 1: at St Barnabas Beckenham, hosted by Father Tim Hide, with a magnificent array of home-made cakes served by a team of volunteers and enjoyed by local people including  a large contingent from the Abbeyfield flats across the road and a group of guests from Bertha James Day Centre on Bromley Common.

Concert 2: a cocktail showcase concert at Langley Park Boys’ School in the magnificent concert hall, the music enjoyed by parents and friends in a “happy hour” with Gin Giardino, Tempo and Fruit Sparkler.

Concert 3: after another early rehearsal to add a couple of extra pieces to our programme, a performance for residents at St Cecilia’s Leonard Cheshire Home in Sundridge Avenue.

Concert 4: afternoon tea at Prince George (Masonic) Duke of Kent Home in Chislehurst, where many of the residents still remembered the previous visit of Langley Boys in a noisier ensemble of woodwind, brass and percussion.

Nicoline and Lisa lead the young strings at Prince George (Masonic) Duke of Kent Home
Nicoline and Lisa lead the young strings at Prince George (Masonic) Duke of Kent Home

National Care Homes Day 2015

Coloma Court Care Home welcomed us back for a second year in a concert celebration of National Care Homes Day. Young musicians from Hayes School, Bromley took part alongside Margaret Archibald clarinet and Ian Fasham trombone from Everyone Matters. All morning was spent in school rehearsing a varied selection of repertoire that included arrangements for full wind ensemble of Washington Post, Dambusters and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, brass consort pieces from the 16th century contrasted with Razzamajazz, a movement of a Trio Sonata for flutes by the Baroque composer Johann Ludwig Krebs and an arrangement for clarinets and saxophone of a Purcell Air, and a spectacular version of Tico Tico for euphonium solo. Our two Mozart Divertimento movements saw the ensemble with the widest age range, led by amateur clarinet player Rosemary whose 80th birthday is in September, with 13 year old Aisling from Langley Park School for Girls on second clarinet.

A retired priest who is now resident at Coloma Court told us of his first encounter with Washington Post when, aged just four, he followed the band for such a distance that his mother had to alert the local constabulary to find him! Another lady, resident in the UK for many years but originally from Germany, became very emotional on hearing the Dambusters March. As the concert came to an end Maria, Manager of the Home, thanked all the performers for their hard work and presented Margaret with a gorgeous bouquet.

A summer bouquet for a summer event
A summer bouquet for a summer event

Joy Corbett, Coloma’s super-energetic Activities Organiser, had ensured a generous supply of cream scones for sharing by performers and audience after the concert, and there was much lively conversation between the generations as fingers became sticky with jam.

This event was supported by Waitrose Bromley South through the  Community Matters “green tiddlywinks” scheme, and by Coloma Court and the Friends of Everyone Matters.

 

Rosanna charms New Malden with her harp

Rosanna Rolton visited Raleigh House on Saturday to give a post-luncheon harp recital to the Dementia Club. “What a wonderful recital Rosanna treated us to on Saturday!” wrote Assistant Day Centre Manager Marion Caldwell. “Everyone was spellbound and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Even members who can be prone to restlessness were taken with the performance “.

 

 

Intimacy and informality charm Rosanna's audience at Raleigh House
Intimacy and informality charm Rosanna’s audience at Raleigh House.
Rosanna demonstrates the harp pedals to a captivated audience.
Rosanna demonstrates the harp pedals to a captivated audience.

Later that same afternoon Rosanna drove her harp round the corner to The White House where once again she offered items from her musical menu  and happily answered questions from those inquisitive about her beautiful instrument. As Rosanna herself explained, “there was much excitement about the harp, many people had never seen a harp close by, which resulted in many questions and stories being shared”.

This day offered the Maldens & Coombe Neighbourhood two extra concerts, thanks largely to donations from the Friends of Everyone Matters. in addition to the six concerts organised during the ’14-’15 season under the local neighbourhood grant scheme.

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National Care Homes Day

Friday 20 June was National Care Homes Day 2014. Coloma Court Care Home was celebrating in style, kicking off in the morning with a junior school art group sharing its enthusiasm for painting with like-minded residents. Meanwhile, a few miles away at Bishop Justus C of E School, Katie Clemmow , Christopher Newport and I were starting an intensive morning of rehearsals with a group of wind players and singers from year 9. With some ten or a dozen items to rehearse we used the morning to the full. Our programme had been chosen to show off the group’s strengths, and featured a number of songs from the shows…

Singers serenadingSingers Lucy, Jess and Sophie serenade residents at Coloma Court

… interspersed with a medley of short instrumental items. These  included  Handel’s “Ouverture” from the Fitzwilliam Museum and adapted for oboe, clarinet and horn by Katie, Margaret and Chris from the original for two high clarinets and hunting horn,  and special items featuring the brass section and the woodwind section that included some old English jigs and reels.

Joy Corbett,  Activities Organiser  at Coloma Court, had been in touch with Everyone Matters months in advance, to request a return visit by young musicians from Bishop Justus School following our previous visit there during our project “Conversation Pieces – words and music uniting young and old” that had been supported by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund. It is always good to make new friends, but even better to revisit old ones, and we were greeted in the upstairs room by a most welcoming audience on this return visit.

“The national care home open day concert which was on friday 20th June was an enormous success!” wrote Joy afterwards. “The combination of the professional musicians from ‘Everyone Matters’ and the students from Bishop Justus school worked beautifully. The variety of the pieces played and the high calibre of all the musicians created a highly enjoyable concert.”

Katie conducts English jigs and reelsKatie conducts English jigs and reels

 “Our residents were amazed by the talents of all concerned and had a thoroughly marvellous time listening to them all,” Joy continued. “The room was packed to capacity and many positive comments were made afterwards by our residents. Comments such as; ‘how good it was to see the two generations playing so well together’, ‘how lovely that they came here and gave their time for us’, ‘I wish I had learnt to play like that’ and ‘will they come again, I really loved it’. These were just a few of the comments said, there were many others! I would just like to finish by sincerely thanking both the students from Bishop Justus for taking the time to practice and play for us and special thanks to Margaret for all the time and effort she puts into these events as without her professionalism and dedication to giving back to others this concert would not have happened!”

A song before teatimeA song before teatime

This one-day project was the third collaboration between Everyone Matters and Bishop Justus, bringing professional musicians into school to work alongside different groups of young musicians in order to perform at local care homes and day centres. The group of year 9 students who took part on this occasion were the youngest yet, and they worked hard to rise to the challenge of putting  a programme together so quickly. They entered with good humour into the spirit of working efficiently with a group of unknown professionals pushing hard to get the results that they wanted, and as the morning turned into afternoon one or two players seemed to think that lunch would never come!  Nonetheless it was impressive to see the way the more secure players gave support to their friends whose instrumental skills were less advanced, and the programme gradually pulled together. Before we knew it the rehearsal time was up, we were packing music, piling music stands ready for the minibus, and double checking that none of the percussion was left behind.  Afterwards Gemma Sheppard, the Subject Leader for Music, wrote “Friday’s workshop was another fantastic experience for a different group of our students from Bishop Justus.  They got so much out of rehearsing with the pro players and it was brilliant the level of detail Margaret went into.  It really pushed some of our top end students.  The performance itself was very gratefully received by the residents of Coloma and it is so worthwhile for students to perform in the community. It is so brilliant that we have been able to work with Everyone Matters for a third time and create such a top quality, well thought out performance together.”

The woodwind and the voices keep in timeThe woodwind and the voices keep in time

The climax of the concert, and an item that had been given great attention during the rehearsal, was the three movement “Toy” Symphony, long considered to have been the work of Haydn but now believed to have been written by Mozart’s father Leopold, himself a professional violinist and composer as well as an incredibly proud dad. We were performing an arrangement created especially for the assembled forces, and our young lady vocalists agreed to join the percussion section on warbling canary (rescued from a Christmas cracker), rattle (taken from an old pram set) and triangle (from the Bishop Justus percussion trolley). Christopher excelled on toy drum, forming an excellent trumpet and drum team with Alex, and Emma gave the whole ensemble a firmly rhythmic and characterful bass line from her trombone.

Year 9 Brass players take the lead in Leopold Mozart's "Toy" Symphony while Christopher, our professional horn players, forsakes his instrument for the toy drum.

Year 9 Brass players take the lead in Leopold Mozart’s “Toy” Symphony while Christopher, our professional horn player, forsakes his usual splendid instrument for a brightly coloured plastic drum.

Elm Singers

John Webber and his Elm Singers shared the platform at St Mary’s Shortlands with Stone Road Single Reeds on Saturday 17 May for a Summer Concert in aid of Everyone Matters. Reverend Morag Finch welcomed us all to her spacious modern church that on this gorgeous summer evening was flooded with both sound and light. Bromley Arts Society mounted an exhibition and the evening’s music juxtaposed Palestrina with Pinafore, Schubert with Shearing. The performers ranged from youngsters in their teens to seniors in their mid-80s, a real advertisement for the power of music to bring the generations together in a shared pleasure. Four young professional clarinet players from the Band of the Grenadier Guards gave their time to support the wind ensemble, and were especially featured in Mozart’s glorious Adagio for 2 clarinets and 3 basset horns K.411. Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock was sung by Margaret Cadney with Margaret Archibald on clarinet obbligato and John at the keyboard. There was an excellent turnout in support of the event, including one friend newly returned from a trip to Vietnam, and another whose house is almost within sight of the church. Barbara’s interval refreshments, the collection plate at the end, and subsequent postal donations have between them raised nearly £400 for Everyone Matters. The funds will help towards several projects requested for June including a new interactive workshop programme for young people with severe learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum that is being devised at the invitation of Priory School;Image

 A post-16 student launches into a spontaneous Cossack move during  an Everyone Matters dance workshop at Priory School in South Norwood.

to be called “Changing Times”, it is to be a musical exploration of changing moods, styles, rhythms and tempi, and will celebrate the school’s move this term to a brand new building.