Share Sound

Over the last year we have taken part in Orchestras Live digital production called Share Sound. We have worked with young musicians from Durham Music Service and Suffolk Music Education Hub (two out of the six music hubs taking part) to create new compositions and the premiere of their inspiring compositions has provided an opportunity for all to come together to celebrate and showcase talent.

We spoke to Grace, our Suffolk Young Artist, about her composition:

1) Tell us about Calling Out to You — the new Suffolk composition.

Calling Out to You is a rondo form piece of music which means it starts and ends in exactly the same way. It is made up of music played by a team of OAE musicians and students from three schools in Suffolk, all of whom have additional needs. Each school has its own individual part in the music, from full verses, or episodes, to small melodies, and music leader and composer James Redwood has combined all of these to create something beautiful. The message behind the piece is that even in the darkest times, for example in the night when we are alone with our worries, music can always be relied on as a guide to cheer us up and get us through the dark times.

2) What inspired you to take part in Share Sound?

I was a former student at one of the schools with which we have been working, which has possibly been my biggest influence throughout the project.. A former support assistant with whom I used to work, contacted my mother to offer me the opportunity to get involved with some projects with the OAE and passed my details on to Cherry Forbes. Cherry then outlined the projects to me, one of which was Share Sound, and since getting things going in April (we have had another project in the pipeline in between) I have loved the whole experience and do not want it to end. I think projects like Share Sound are so important as they open music up to people with a whole different range of circumstances. Music is non-judgemental and so the people who make it should be too, and Share Sound, Orchestras Live and the OAE embody these values perfectly for me.

3) What has been the thing you’ve most enjoyed about participating in Share Sound?

I have most enjoyed working with my former high school, the feeling of sharing music which I think is very important for everyone to be able to access, the sense of purpose and working with a professional team, and the pride of hearing any results from the music we have been making. Particular highlights for me have been teaching one of the schools our lyrics using call and response, playing one of the students’ parts and watching her engage with the music constantly as I love her vibrant personality and want to help her get involved as much as I possibly can.

4) What was it like working with the OAE and the participants?

Working with the OAE and participants on Share Sound has been fantastic and I do not want it to end. There has been professionalism, community, friendship, and simply fun, all rolled up into one project. Orchestral music is not just about string instruments and relaxation… some orchestras like to dance and have fun and get their audiences to do the same. The OAE is very clear about this and it does not disappoint. It is an orchestra like no other and has taught me so much about orchestras which I would love to explore further if I can. Thank you OAE and Orchestras Live for giving me the opportunity to participate in this project… it really has been a blast and I am not ready to say goodbye yet.

We spoke to Hetty Wayne, OAE violin, who took part in the project:

The Durham Share Sound project was a perfect demonstration of musicians resilience and need for music whatever the circumstances. It was an inspired approach to involve the Durham young instrumentalists in a composition project – definitely out of many’s comfort zone – to learn something new over the strange period of lockdown. I felt equally challenged in learning how to offer support and instrumental encouragement online but with repeated meetings, I felt a real sense of creative momentum developed.

Having a live culmination to put the music together was a wonderful way to open up into live playing again and to demonstrate the work and involvement that had gone on during lockdown. It was a remarkably joyous event, meeting in person and working on the young people’s music which James had so brilliantly woven together. I think the most striking element of the music was its emotional impact. Playing the piece through as we continued the semi- virtual reality of online concert giving, there was an amazing feeling that this piece really did mirror the many and varied emotional states that we have all experienced through this pandemic. The triumph at the end of the piece perfectly mirrored the feeling of the journey to be there, in Ushaw College, playing live music again with fellow young musicians who have grown through the experience.

I also thought it was a brilliant element to add to the youth orchestra musicians’ experience, to help write parts for junior school players. The demonstration of widening access and sharing music was a great demonstration of music’s power and reach.

It was wonderful to meet the young musicians for real at the end of the project but I marveled, even when we were all online, how personalities and inspiration shined through in spite of our electronic separation and distance. In fact, it really showed that though not the same as face to face interaction, Zoom is a very useful tool that crunches distance and allows for meaningful musical engagement.

The Share Sounds grand finale is available to watch until Thursday 15 July, Thank you to Orchestras Live for letting us be a part of this exciting project!

"Fantastic to see such a wide range of musicians and age groups performing in Durham's piece - up to every challenge. And a great piece. "
Sarah Derbyshire, CEO Orchestras Live
"An amazing achievement from all involved. Bravissimo to everyone and superb needlecraft from James, stitching it all together. This has been truly remarkable "
Steve Pickett, Education Director at Hallé Concerts Society
"Yes, exciting and inspirational - they should be playing this in the England dressing room? "
"Is it just me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, Suffolk this is FABULOUS! "
Catherine Rollings
"What a beautiful melody Suffolk - truly lovely "
Lucy Reid