Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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850 children, 4 days, 3 projects

Fri Dec 6 2013

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And now to play us out, the Chorale we sang earlier, but this time set by Buxtehude @KingsPlace

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Wednesday 3 Dec 2013
This morning I woke up tired. Really tired. End of term tired. It took me a while to figure out why, seeing as we are only at the beginning of December, it was extra hard to drag my body out of bed on a Wednesday morning. Then I conceded that perhaps it was the three huge education events we’d had in as many days.

One quick calculation later (a calculation I’m glad I only considered after the events), I realised that in the last four days I had seen about 850 young people at OAE Education events. 850 0-11 year olds (granted not all at the same time) at three different events is a justifiable reason to wake up tired, I think. It was worth it though; we’ve had some brilliant and festive events – TOTS Story Time, concerts for under 5s, String Club Christmas Party and Jubilate! our origins of Christmas songs project culmination.

Saturday 30 November 2013 – TOTS Story Time!
These were the first couple of TOTS concert of the season – our specially designed interactive concerts for under 5 year olds and their families. The stories were brought to life by actor Mark Stevenson, who delivered a wonderfully lively and characterful performance of old classic tales The Hare and the Tortoise, The Ants and the Grasshopper and a new story about a shiny green tractor punctuated by extracts from Purcell’s Fairy Queen from the OAE. While it was easy to get props for the Hare, Tortoise and Tractor, it proved a little harder to find a grasshopper toy, so I was charged (after my donkey making escapade) to make a grasshopper. Never one to shy away from a ridiculous craft challenge, I produced, from an unsuspecting Pringles tube, Mr Grasshopper. After his starring role of the weekend, Mr Grasshopper now lives with the Donkey in the OAE office. I’m considering starting a business – ‘Rubbish Props’ (props made out of recycling).

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Rubbish props aside, the concert was a huge success and I’m already looking forward to what Animal Time! might bring in February.

Monday 2 December 2013 – String Club
Our end of term Christmas party was a first for most of the pupils who learn at our string club. Most of the children learning with us have been playing for a single term. To celebrate the terms work, we had a Christmas Party, where pupils performed to their friends and family as a string ensemble. This was an afterschool session to introduce the idea of the Ensemble – an afterschool project we are starting next term in addition for these pupils to not only have weekly tuition but to form a primary school string ensemble.

Tuesday 3 December 2013- Jubilate!
Our Christmas project for partner schools in London was designed and led by OAE bassoonist Andy Watts and allowed primary school pupils to explore the origins of Christmas songs. Through teacher training, a series of in-school workshops and a final culmination performance on the 3rd December, primary school pupils were taught Christmas music from a bygone era and had a sharing session with other schools involved in the project at Cecil Sharp House.

This was a charming project where the OAE ensemble accompanying the children included weird and wonderful instruments (official term) such as the violone, curtal, shawm and bagpipes alongside singers who formed an SATB (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) quartet. With repertoire including The Sans Day Carol, it was a truly lovely, Christmassy event (despite the bagpipes).

Education

Ellie Cowan
Education Projects Manager

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