Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Celebrating the Creation

Fri Dec 18 2009

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I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last Thursday, pretty exhausted from our concert the night before with Sir Mark Elder conducting the OAE in Haydn’s Creation, to help out at our schools concert based around the same piece of music. I had been told that there’d be 800 kids from various schools we work with in the local Camden/Islington area as well as some who’d travelled down from Suffolk, but I couldn’t imagine quite how noisy and packed the Front Room of the QEH would be! The aim of the day was to explore the links between music and science through activities in the foyer and then a concert in the main hall.

I worked with Elmwood School from Suffolk who all worked super quickly to build their own strand of DNA which we then trailed all the way round the foyer. Lots of cutting and sticking ensued and several members of the OAE staff got involved in this- our Developent Director Duke had a great time! (see picture)

We then made our way into the hall where all 12 schools waited for the orchestra and singers (including the 30-strong primary school based New Foundling Choir) to come out on stage. It was fantastic to hear the children’s reaction when the Orchestra came out – raucous screaming, cheering and clapping echoed round the hall – quite different to the more restrained applause at a regular concert! The concert was focusing on the links between music and science, with Professor Russell Foster and music animateur Mark Foster, who compared the orchestra to the human body… I particularly liked Mark Elder’s dramatic ‘I am the BRAIN of the orchestra’ as well as the comparison of the 2nd violins to body fat!

The OAE then played excerpts from The Creation including On mighty pens, A new created world and a interactive version of the famous Let there be light moment – this always gives me the goosebumps when I hear it but when 800+ kids sing as well, it was electrifying!

Natalie and Cherry from the Education team put such a lot of work into the event and it really paid off- they’re doing loads more workshops and events as part of a year long Creation project as well as a family day in June 2010- I can’t wait to see more!

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer

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