Newsletter - Autumn 2014
Brighton Early Music Festival (BREMF) is the second-largest festival of early music in the UK and is a vibrant part of the autumn cultural landscape in Brighton and Hove. 2014 was the Festival’s 12th year and saw 26 events themed around ‘Cities, Musical Centres and the Journeys between them’ in a variety of venues across the city.
Outside the successful Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival also reaches more than 1200 school children each year through education and outreach work. For autumn 2014 the Festival is collaborating with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) and SoundCity on Watercycle – a major music education project.
Watercycle is a large-scale music education project created in by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment which includes work with primary schools, secondary pupils, homeless people, local amateur singers and players, and community groups. In Brighton & Hove this will be delivered in partnership between the OAE, Brighton Early Music Festival and SoundCity, supported by the Mark Williams Foundation, Southern Water, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The East Brighton Trust.
380 primary children from the city are taking part in visits from OAE players this term where they are learning several songs related to water. The schools will all come together for concerts in December, where they’ll also get the chance to hear the OAE play live. Also taking part will be a GCSE Music group from Varndean School who have been working with composer James Redwood to create “Concerto for Brighton”, inspired by a new poem from Brighton poet Rosy Carrick.
As part of Watercycle in Brighton & Hove, the project partners are also striving to raise awareness of and interest in the bassoon, now something of a neglected orchestral instrument. Year 4 pupils at Westdene Primary School are starting to learn the bassoon and are benefitting from an introductory term of lessons and instrument-loan, funded by SoundCity
Westdene Music Co-ordinator Emma Bright commented ‘This is an amazing opportunity for our year 4 pupils. We currently have 17 children learning the bassoon all funded by SoundCity. They are thoroughly enjoying their lessons and practising hard for their first public performance in December.’
Peter Chivers from SoundCity added ‘The bassoon is a fantastically versatile instrument that plays a vital role in many music groups. However it is not always an obvious choice, with a decreasing number of children choosing to learn. We are pleased to be working in partnership to bring this exciting opportunity to the children and hope the project will have a lasting impact by significantly boosting the number of children playing bassoon in the city.’
Watercycle culminates with schools concerts on 5 December, and then a final community concert on Saturday 6 December which brings together the OAE, the BREMF Community Choir, pupils from Westdene School and local student and amateur musicians, including several learning through SoundCity. For more details and tickets see www.bremf.org.uk