In my first blog for Kidenza I wanted to give you an insight into the superb Schools Tours that we run each year. These blogs will introduce you to those behind Kidenza, the orchestra and what we get up to behind the scenes. We hope you enjoy reading a bit more about us.
Months of planning, hours spent ringing schools surrounding each of the host schools and a monumental effort by our Kidenza Orchestra and our founder Claire Lambert performing three concerts a day have resulted in an amazing response from children and staff who were lucky enough to attend.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your help in organising our visit to the concert yesterday. It was such an enriching experience for our children and they loved it! I now have children who want to play the French horn, double bass etc who didn’t even know about these instruments a day ago!
Where to start? The growing competitiveness between the orchestral sections trying to win the Kidenza Bake Off? By the end we had Twinkle Twinkle ‘Flossing’ Little Star from the woodwind and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Wars from the Brass! Combine this with encouraging audience participation, blatant cheating and virtuosic piano variations from Stevie Higgins and you had a real treat for every audience.
So who won in the end…?
The cheating brass!
Or perhaps hundreds of children transfixed by the beautiful and relaxing Largo ‘From the New World’ from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor? Each concert is carefully planned to keep young children’s attention throughout. It is likely that children (and the adults accompanying them) would not naturally choose to listen to pieces like this or to know where to find them. Introducing children to classical music in an accessible way allows them to experience new sounds and watch musicians create magic. Perhaps they will turn to classical to relax from now on?
One of the girls in particular thought the Dvorak was ‘beautiful’. There were some lovely comments on the way back to school. A couple of the adults who are not normally ‘into classical’ were really struck by the music too so that was also an achievement!
What do you get when you combine an audience of school children and Stevie Higgins’ imagination? The whole audience singing Carl Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ with new fishy words! Hearing 350 staff and children respond to Claire’s shout out, “No More Tuna” with “WE HATE TUNA” was amazing! They had all learnt the words at school and formed a wonderful choir.
Thank you and all your wonderful KIDENZA colleagues for such a brilliant concert on Friday. We absolutely loved it and it was a superb way to introduce classical music to this age-group.
On the way back to school, one of the Year 6 pupils – who is much more interested in football usually! – said, ‘Please can we come to this concert again next year?’ I think that says everything we need to know really!
After all the work involved in this tour, as we in the back office catch our breath and perhaps enjoy a well deserved glass of something nice, we can all be very proud of what we have collectively achieved. The musicians we get to work with are wonderful but it is seeing the awe on children’s faces, from the first concert to the last, that makes what we do so worthwhile.
Jennie Yelverton is Project & Marketing Director for Kidenza and has two children aged 10 and 7 who she hopes to inspire with classical music!