Tag Archives: Harp

Rutherford Summer Club 2016

Margaret Archibald recalls some highlights of her day at Rutherford School where she and harpist Alexander Thomas were contributing music workshops designed to explore this year’s summer club theme of “Water”. 

It really is astonishing how much stuff I manage to take for one day of workshops!

Setting up the gear 20160801_125738.jpg

It was 1st August, there was no school-run traffic, and I arrived at Rutherford School with more than an hour and a half to spare to set up for a full day of workshops with harpist Alexander Thomas. This was already the second week of the school’s Summer Club, and we would spend the day working with five different groups of children all with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Somehow the time flew by as I unpacked lots of small percussion suitable for the school’s holiday project “water”, raided the music therapy percussion trolley, created a watery décor with water-blue silks and colourful umbrellas, and laid out the props and percussion ready in appropriate batches to be used for successive music items.

Alex and Winnie the Pooh 20160801_125624

Alexander Thomas arrived early too, having allowed plenty of time to drive from Dalston with his harp, the very special instrument chosen to be a new experience for the children. We were conscious that summer club should be fun and engaging, and we hoped that the chance to hear a harp and to feel its vibrations would be a thrilling experience for these wheelchair-bound children. We also wanted the support staff to have fun too, and the ratio of staff to children was mostly 1:1 so it was important that everyone was having a good time. Manoeuvring the wheelchairs really close to the harp was rather tricky, and we needed to be very careful not to damage the harp’s pedal box, but nearly every child was able to get close enough to be able to reach out with staff help and touch the pillar of the harp, feeling the strong vibrations flowing through as Alex played. One little girl, whose head we were told is nearly always down on her chest, lifted her head to gaze at Alex and his harp, and at the end of the workshop during our goodbye song she waved us her farewell.

Alex seen through the strings 20160801_130922

A favourite piece at each session was “Mists”, a dreamy and evocative piece for harp and clarinet that we elaborated with the sound of rainsticks, wind chimes and a thunder drum. First we explored the sounds that could be made with the percussion instruments, and then staff helped the children orchestrate the piece with imaginative, atmospheric sound effects. The opportunity to take part by adding additional percussion sounds and visual props to the music was noted by several members of staff as especially enjoyable for everyone, and by the end of each session we had added ‘seaweed’ (green plastic bag strips tied to coat hangers!), a plastic diver, ocean drums, pebble bag scrunchers, sea shells in a bucket, frog guiros, seed pod rattles and castanets to the list of atmospheric additions to enhance a deep ocean-scape, a pirates’ hornpipe, and the song of boatmen heaving on their oars as they pulled a heavy cargo up the river. Finally we invited a free choice of percussion so that everyone could join in our final goodbye song playing their favourite instrument.

As Alex and I were packing up our gear and gradually returning the school room to its former state, we reflected on how lucky we were to be able to play such lovely music, and to share it with these very special children who cannot share their thoughts in words but whose responses mean so much.

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Violin and Harp mini-tour in Bromley and Croydon

Nicoilne Kraamwinkel and Rosanna Rolton, mum and daughter, charmed audiences during seven concerts over three separate days in late October. They performed “Conversation Pieces” in four nursing homes and day centres, entertained the guests at the Sanderstead Decorative and Fine Arts Society Annual Lunch, and gave two full-length lecture-recitals for “Music Matters” in Whitgift House Chapel, South Croydon and for “Musical Offerings” in St Mark’s Church, Bromley.

“We were very impressed with Nicoline and Rosanna playing the harp and violin beautifully this afternoon”, wrote the Administrator of Fairlight and Fallowfield Nursing Home in Chislehurst. “Our residents thought that the music was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition it was lovely how the musicians interacted with the residents in terms of them being provided with a ‘menu’ of music to choose from, and being told a little background to the pieces.”

“The music session this morning was a great success”, echoed the Activity Co-ordinator at Bertha James Day Centre in Bromley, ” and one I hope we can repeat”.

Here are the musicians in action in the Church Room at St Mark’s Church, performing music from Baroque to Tango, and sharing anecdotes with a delighted audience assembled for the second in our new series of “Musical Offerings” in Bromley:

Tea-time treats at Bromley South
Tea-time treats at Bromley South

The home-made tea loaf and chocolate cake seemed to go down well at the break, and the apple cake containing old-fashioned garden Bramleys seems to have been a particular success. In fact, a couple of large buckets of this year’s huge Bramley harvest taken to the church enabled quite a few of the audience to take apples home with them too!

Music for Violin and Harp – a mother and daughter duo

Tuesday 20 October: Nicoline Kraamwinkel violin and Rosanna Rolton harp introduce their duo programme at Whitgift House, 76, Brighton Road, South Croydon CR2 6AB in The Chapel; doors open 7 for 7.30 – 9.30p.m.

Just to whet your appetite for Tuesday’s lecture-recital of music for violin and harp, here are some pictures of Nicoline and Rosanna in action in day centres in Kingston recently:
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Nicoline Kraamwinkel, Dutch born, studied in the Hague and London. She has worked with many of the chamber orchestras in London, is a member of the London Mozart Players and works for Garsington Opera. Her performance of Brahms’ Violin Concerto in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam was televised. She is a founder member of the Chagall Piano Trio.
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Nicoline’s daughter Rosanna Rolton is an advanced student at the Royal College of Music. She is a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra with whome she has toured widely throughout Europe and has won many competitions, most recently the International Harp Competition in Italy. Rosanna is currently making her first CD and has already given many recitals including in the Royal Festival Hall and at last summer’s Three Choirs Festival, and also in Italy.
If you have to miss Tuesday at Whitgift House then you might like to catch Nicoline and Rosanna in Bromley on Wednesday 28 October at 2.30p.m. for Musical Offerings in the Church Room at St Mark’s Church, Westmoreland Road, BR2 0TB when afternoon tea and home-made cakes will be served.
Entry to non-subscription holders is £10 on the door and contributions towards the refreshments help to support these lecture-recitals.

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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