Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Music, Mermaids and the A-Team

Fri Jun 6 2014

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"One thing that is always surprising to me is how beautifully the softest sounds carry." @houghhough talks preparat… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


When Education Director Cherry Forbes calls you up about a project, you know it’s going to be something good and I’m laying my cards on the table – I’m not sure this one will be easily topped!

I set off early last monday to meet Katie Snail (don’t ask) at Butts Lane in Badsley (chosen as a meeting place purely for its silly name).  We whizzed off to PMZ in Plymouth, which is a community music centre for all ages with disabilities, to create music. We’d worked with this particular group of adults the year before, and, to put it mildly, everyone involved was a bit over-excited at the prospect of meeting up again. Polkas were danced as we all delighted in the hellos. It’s funny how having met over creative music making before, we had a special connection, like old friends.


It’s difficult to say what happened over the next few days, but by the end we had put on a concert featuring beat boxing and scratch decks to mashed up Mozart , Operas with wonderful sax solos and whalesong duos on iPad, tenora and double bass, whilst a chalumeau mermaid swished her fishy tale to the Fish Friend Song.

PMZ is an extraordinary place full of extraordinary people.  Everyone had something beautiful and moving to share and everyone in the room learnt something.

Once part one of the project was completed, we moved onto a whirlwind, 24 hour tour of 4 residential homes in Plymouth.  The OAE players had the pleasure of being driven around by the lovely Anna from PMZ (and the PMZ vehicle had an uncanny resemblance to the A-Team van).  James Redwood and John Henry, needed no encouragement to climb through the van window and this began to shape the theme of the day, with two high unison descant recorders, banjo and a ukulele playing the A-Team theme tune out the window as we raced from venue to venue.


The concerts were about listening and loving music, as well as joining in (usually in the naughtiest possible way). All I can say is never trust sweet, white-haired ladies and especially don’t give them two large drums. Carnage in the sea shanties, Carnage!!

The music making was fun and invigorating in a heady mix that left one of our final concert goers in joyful tears, saying she couldn’t find the words to express how grateful she was to the OAE for making her feel alive again.

Katherine Spencer

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