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Music of Life Newsletter Winter 2012-2013
Season’s greetings from Music of Life Foundation! We would like to thank you for your support and interest in our work this year and draw your attention to some of our forthcoming events and projects.
Our Patron, Denise Leigh, performing at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games
Sponsor our inspirational workshops at Great Ormond Street Hospital! In 2013 Music of Life starts providing quarterly music workshops and seminars for adolescent patients at this famous children’s hospital to help them gain confidence, improve their musical and social skills and learn more about career options in the music industry. For more information please see Current Projects.
Individual Lessons Programme
Music of Life’s Individual Lesson Programme is the keystone project of our programme of activities. It is an on-going, long-term commitment to give talented disabled people access to high quality music tuition. Through lessons with our teachers young people develop their skills and work towards achieving a recognised ABRSM qualification, preparing for a performance at a professional concert (in conjunction with other Music of Life projects), and in all cases, developing a passion and joy for music making. The flexibility of this programme ensures that the lessons we provide really do meet the needs of the specific individual. (More information)
Workshops at special needs schools
Music of Life plans to introduce monthly choral workshops at The Park School in Woking and The Stormont House School in Hackney, and we have now worked with the staff and students at the schools to design a new year-long project that will be delivered by experienced Music of Life tutors and groups of professional singers. The activities will involve the entire school (over 100 students across all secondary school year groups at both Stormont House and Park schools), and staff and carers. Each session will be supported by up to 8 professional singers and a pianist. In addition to the whole-school workshops, we will offer additional provision for more musically-able children to further develop their skills in the form of smaller and more focused tuition.
Concert collaboration with Guildford Choral Society
Recruitment of new students for this project is in progress now! Visit Current Projects for more details
Music of Life’s award-winning collaboration with Guildford Choral Society brings together disabled young people from Surrey, Kent, London, Hampshire and Sussex to work with this high-profile choir and a number of professional orchestras. Each year Music of Life supports a group of disabled young people to participate in up to 50 rehearsals and 5 concerts with Guildford Choral Society. As part of the project we provide them with individual lessons, specialist transport and professional supervision. For our beneficiaries this project is a unique music-making and social opportunity, whilst for the choir and professional musicians it is the opportunity to understand and appreciate what a wonderful contribution musicians with disabilities can make for the whole community’s benefit.
Project “Rhythmic Beats” at Great Ormond Street Hospital
In 2013 Music of Life embarks on an exciting new collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital as part of the in-hospital adolescent project “Rhythmic Beats”. We will provide quarterly music workshops and seminars for adolescent patients at this famous children’s hospital to help them gain confidence, improve their musical and social skills and learn more about career options in the music industry.
The aim of the project is to inspire and inform the Great Ormond Street adolescents, who have spent much of their lives in hospital. “Rhythmic Beats” will be specifically geared towards cardiac patients but it will be open for non-cardiac patients to attend too. Visit Current Projects for more details
“True Colours” by British Paraorchestra
We are delighted that two of Music of Life’s participants, Lloyd Coleman and Christopher Melling were featured in this amazing video celebrating musicians with outstanding abilities. Watch and Share True Colours with all your friends – it is a perfect soundtrack to your festive season that concludes the most extraordinary year in history of British sport and music.
Charles Hazlewood, The British Paraorchestra's Artistic and Music Director says: 'True Colours is all about looking beyond the trivial exterior of others and seeing the enormous potential within. The sentiment lies at the heart of the Paraorchestra mission, that brilliantly accomplished musicians with disability should be recognised and celebrated for their talent alone.'
The British Paraorchestra 'True Colours' featuring ParalympicsGB athletes & The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf & Hearing Children
The British Paraorchestra 'True Colours' featuring ParalympicsGB athletes & The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf & Hearing Children
Music of Life Newsletter Summer 2012
We are delighted to say that Music of Life’s “Evening of Sacred Music” at the Temple Church on May 30th was a great success!
Over 350 people enjoyed the concert which brought together top-class musicians and young people with disabilities and special needs in a programme of outstanding music in this beautiful and historic setting.
Highlights of the evening included:
Ø The premiere of a new work by disabled composer Thomas Blumire – as featured in the Daily Telegraph preview by Rupert Christiansen – available online here
Ø Young people with disability from Elm Court School joining The Vasari Singers – one of London’s finest choirs
Ø Autistic soprano, Claire Doran, performing as a soloist and in a memorable duet with acclaimed soprano Katherine Manley
Ø Flute works performed by young students of profoundly deaf music teacher Ruth Montgomery – herself Music of Life’s first beneficiary
We are very grateful to the Rushworth Charitable Trust for sponsoring the event and to the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists Trust for Disabled Children for a special contribution towards training the young singers. Thanks to their generosity all of the £17,000 from ticket sales and donations will go towards the continuation of our work. We would like to thank everyone who so kindly supported us.
Quote: “I have heard on all sides, ever since the concert, that everyone there was moved and uplifted by the whole evening. Everyone felt privileged to be there; and we feel privileged to have been able to host the concert” – Robin Griffith-Jones, The Master of the Temple
The event provided a fine example of Music of Life’s mission – to discover and nurture the musical talents of children and young people with special needs and showcase them alongside experienced musicians. With the help of organisations like the RNIB and local music services we made contact with special schools and individual candidates and recruited a new group of students, most of whom had never before sung in public. The candidates were auditioned by our professional vocal trainers and, through individual lessons and group training sessions, were provided with essential singing skills and help in learning the music for the concert.
We were privileged to collaborate with the Vasari Singers, who embraced the idea of integrating the young singers in the choir and tailored the programme to enable even some of the least experienced Music of Life participants to engage fully in the rehearsals and performance. From attending Music of Life preparatory workshops at Elm Court School, to supporting the young people at their rehearsals, the Vasari Singers under their Artistic Director Jeremy Backhouse and Chairman Alison Benton were determined to make this challenging experience enjoyable and positive.
Pictured: Maria Teterina, Music of Life Founder and CEO, with students from Elm Court School.
Twelve young singers participated in workshops and seven took part in the concert. Music of Life provided transport so that the youngsters could attend all the rehearsals which began 6 weeks before the concert. Their participation was a unique opportunity both for the students from Elm Court School and for members of the choir. Jeremy Backhouse wrote afterwards that the highlight of the concert for him was
“the smile of sheer delight and utter joy on the face of Dinah as she threw herself whole-heartedly into the singing of the Vangelis”
The concert at Temple Church was a major profile-raising event for Music of Life. It enabled us to renew our relationships with some of our long-term supporters, attract new donors and make useful contacts for future development. We are grateful to all our sponsors, donors and supporters and to the Temple Church for helping us make the evening such a great success.
Now we look forward to the realisation of our current and new projects which include:
Ø continuation of our award-winning collaboration with Guildford Choral Society including the recruitment of new participants
Ø a programme of singing workshops in special needs schools
Ø a series of creative workshops led by Fraser Trainer with the participation of musicians from Britten Sinfonia and post-graduate students from the Royal Academy of Music
Ø the provision of individual singing and instrumental lessons
Music of Life Newsletter Spring-Summer 2011
We are delighted to present you with news of our ongoing programmes and the new events we have developed recently. We would like to thank everyone for their contribution to the wonderful projects that enable young people with disabilities to make use of their gifts and appreciation of music. From grant-making organisations to our individual donors, the generous support of those inspired by our mission has made all our work possible.
In the final section of this newsletter we will also be drawing your attention to some important developments in the Foundation’s structure and we will very much appreciate any ideas and suggestions that you may have on them.
EX CATHEDRA - PILOT PROJECT INVOLVING MUSIC OF LIFE SINGERS
Date for the diary: Saturday, 10th September, 2011
Town Hall, Birmingham
Following our success with Guildford Choral Society, this project also promises to form a lasting collaboration with a professional choir and create regular performing opportunities for young singers with disabilities. The first group of Music of Life students has been invited to join the choir in two of their ArtFest appearances in Birmingham Town Hall on the 10th September 2011.
One of the UK’s leading professional choirs, Ex Cathedra is known for its commitment to education. Members of the Senior and Junior Academies – the amateur choirs established as part of the training programme by Ex Cathedra – regularly appear in concerts alongside members of the main chorus in public concerts. For the first time a group of such a high standard has invited Music of Life students to join them in some of their concerts as regular members of the chorus. With lessons and workshops leading to the performances, this is a groundbreaking partnership providing disabled youngsters with access to top-class training and concerts and the opportunity to change the perception of disability in music among the audience and other professional groups.
MUSIC OF LIFE CONCERT
Music of Life, St. Swithun’s School and the Waynflete Singers team up for a stunning concert project
Date for the diary: Saturday, 8th October 2011
Harvey Hall, St Swithun's School, Winchester
MUSIC OF LIFE concert is the realisation of a unique project that brings together experienced artists and young musicians with and without disabilities in an exciting, all-baroque programme starring one of the most stunning UK singers – the blind soprano Denise Leigh whose career began when she won a memorable Operatunity contest on Channel 4 and became a star overnight.
A choir formed especially for this project will combine young singers from St Swithun’s School, members of the Waynflete Singers and beneficiaries of the Music of Life Foundation. Following months of preparation all participants will take part in workshops in which top vocal coaches will prepare them for this challenging programme.
Three of the most outstanding soloists supported by Music of Life will appear alongside Denise in this concert and a young disabled composer Thomas Blumire has been commissioned by the charity to write a new piece for the event.
Four weeks of rehearsals will lead the combined choir to the performance at one of the best concert venues in Hampshire – Harvey Hall at St Swithun’s School, Winchester.
The purpose of the concert is to celebrate diversity, accessibility and excellence in music; to make performers and members of the audience realize the potential of music-making that brings together disabled and non-disabled musicians; to raise awareness of the problems that young disabled musicians face on an everyday basis and to deliver a performance of the highest quality despite the many challenges of working in a group comprising professionals and young, relatively inexperienced musicians.
We believe that it is highly beneficial for young musicians with and without disabilities to be introduced at an early age as it will eliminate the anxiety caused by lack of knowledge and experience and allow them to develop their musicianship together and enjoy each other’s company.
Programme to include
Vivaldi Ostro Picta
Vivaldi Gloria (complete)
Mozart Ave Verum
Monteverdi Beatus Vir
Pergolesi duet from Stabat Mater
Special feature: a premiere of the new work by
Thomas Blumire, a young composer supported by Music of Life Foundation
Tickets £12 (cons £10) available from
Winchester Cathedral Box Office from 1st August 2011
Tel: 01962 857200 | Online bookings: www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
For further information please visit www.mofl.co.uk, www.stswithuns.com
ROYAL ALBERT HALL CONCERT WITH GUILDFORD CHORAL SOCIETY AND ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Date for the diary: Tuesday 1 November 2011, 19:30
Royal Albert Hall, London
Our partnership with Guildford Choral Society, which enables young singers with disabilities to become regular members of the chorus, is taking an exciting turn as the 2011 Autumn concert moves from the usual venue to the Royal Albert Hall. Following two great programmes at Guildford Cathedral earlier in the year, Music of Life students will have a unique chance to perform at one of the world’s most spectacular venues in a programme consisting of Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony.
For more information please visit http://guildfordchoral.org/main.pl?diary
Pictured: Francesca Ferry, one of Music of Life students, is joined by her grandmother and father at one of the concerts during her second year as a member of Guildford Choral Society
TRAINING OF INSTRUMENTALISTS
We are developing training programmes for a number of Music of Life instrumentalists, to take advantage of the links with major orchestras created by our collaboration with choirs such as Guildford Choral Society, Ex Cathedra and The Waynflete Singers. This will move the Foundation forward by creating opportunities for young disabled instrumentalists to perform with mainstream companies.
Pictured: Phoebe Kemp, one of the first Music of Life students to get benefits of regular training provided by the Foundation. Phoebe, who suffers from a muscle and joints disorder, has been inspired by taking part in the Music of Life workshop with James MacMillan and Britten Sinfonia in 2010 and is taking her Grade 6 trombone exam this summer.
Last year Music of Life, for the first time, was able to offer ongoing lessons to some of its participants in addition to project-based lessons. We see this as an important step towards providing more comprehensive and sustainable support to youngsters with disabilities and hope to be able to extend this scheme to a larger group of our participants over the next few years. One-to-one lessons are an essential component of every project we do. Participants in Music of Life’s own concerts, as well as those involved in productions and performances of our artistic partners, are offered lessons with some of the finest vocal and instrumental tutors in the country. Our network of teachers expands constantly in response to the increasing number of requests for regular lessons from families who have neither the access nor financial means to find and employ a good music teacher.
Quote: “Thank you so much for giving Luke an opportunity to work with a teacher like Jane McDouall. Ever since the first lesson with her Luke has been more of his own “old self” than we ever hoped he would be. After years of being neglected and turned down by people who only saw his disability he finally was encouraged and motivated again. He wrote more of his PhD in the last 6 months than he did over 2 years before he joined Music of Life.” – Mother of Luke Hewitt, the blind tenor supported by Music of Life in Nottingham
DEVELOPING MUSIC OF LIFE
WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS – DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO COULD HELP?
Music of Life Foundation is a young and dynamic organisation with a minimum of paid staff where many tasks are carried out by volunteers, including our Chair and Trustees. This makes us extremely cost-effective but creates a major challenge to manage the increasing amount of activities, given our very modest administrative resources.
We are looking for skilled volunteers who are inspired by our mission and willing to give some of their time to enable the Foundation to increase the scope of its work.
Who we are looking for?
Ø FUNDRAISER (with a preference for someone who would become a Trustee)
A knowledgeable specialist to liaise with grant-making trusts and foundations and advise the Foundation on strategic fundraising decisions
Ø BOOKKEEPER (simple quarter-to-quarter bookkeeping and cashflow projections)
Ø PROJECT MANAGER (day-to-day project management on selected projects and events)
Ø COMMUNICATIONS/PR MANAGER (website, newsletter, media)
If you think you can help or know someone we could approach please do get in touch with Maria Teterina, CEO of Music of Life Foundation on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 207 935 2181.
SPREAD THE WORD
Music of Life is a developing organisation and we need the support and active involvement of all our patrons in order to expand our Friends group and be able to commit to more schemes that benefit an ever-increasing number of children with disabilities. We hope that you are as excited as we are about the projects described in this newsletter. Please forward it to your friends!
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Music of Life Newsletter Autumn 2010
End of year approaches soon and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your invaluable support of our work in 2010 and update you on our recent events that have been made possible by all our generous donors.
2010 has been a year of rapid development for Music of Life Foundation as we launched several important long-term collaborations with organisations including Guildford Choral Society, Birmingham Conservatoire and Britten Sinfonia, as well as a number of schools for children with special needs and disabilities.
COLLABORATION WITH GUILDFORD CHORAL SOCIETY
Music of Life singers in the choir
A groundbreaking project with Guildford Choral Society is enabling young singers with disabilities to become regular members of the chorus and appear in three concerts a year at Guildford Cathedral. Music of Life provided our participants with one-to-one lessons with dedicated teachers who helped them improve their singing technique and learn complex vocal scores. They then joined the choir in rehearsals which they attended with the Foundation’s support. They much enjoyed a rare opportunity to be part of a ‘normal’ setting where the focus wasn’t on their disability and where members of the chorus made them feel welcome and supported them both on and off stage.
Claire Doran makes a solo debut
An outstanding feature of the concert series was the selection by GCS conductor James Morgan of 18 year old autistic soprano Claire Doran to make her solo debut in Faure’s Requiem. An overwhelming reception of her performance by the chorus and audience showed how wholeheartedly Music of Life students have been embraced into the GCS family, which is something we are exceptionally proud of.
School workshops – getting ready for the big chorus
Guildford Choral Society also joined us in a series of singing workshops for 160 young people and children with special needs and disabilities at special schools across Surrey and Hampshire.
“Thank you so much for allowing Thomas the chance to join in with the choral society. He’s really enjoyed everything about it. You’re generosity in organising the taxi has given him both the chance to join in but also an independence he rarely experiences. The choral society have been very welcoming & treated him with a great deal of respect, which he has really appreciated. Gavin’s singing lessons have been enormously helpful, not only do they get on extremely well but Gavin has helped Thomas find better ways to improve his sound & volume & he is so good at identifying new ways to help Thomas work round his disability, whilst fully respecting his musical ability. Thank you all at Music of Life!” – mother of a Music of Life participant, June 2010
“What makes the Guildford Choral Society special, apart from its long tradition of performing, is its fulfilling link with Music of Life, which encourages young people with special needs to express themselves through music and in particular by singing in the society’s concerts and rehearsals.
Thus three beneficiaries of the charity joined the choir for the performances and a fourth, Claire Doran, enhanced Faure’s, Pie Jesu, with her wonderful and ringing soprano voice: her two curtain calls were richly deserved.” – Shelagh Goodwin for Surrey Advertiser, 19th November 2010
“Thank you for yet another wonderful wonderful night for Claire! She loved every minute of it, in spite of being nervous, and I was so proud of her. She manages her nerves better and better with every opportunity you give her." - mother of Claire Doran, November 2010
SUMMER CONCERTS IN SURREY
Music of Life organised two events in June – an appearance at the Celebrating Surrey festival and a fundraising concert at Loseley House. At both Music of Life showcased some of its most outstanding participants including Callum Russell (percussion), Matthew Nicholls (tenor), Claire Doran (soprano) alongside two of the Foundation’s trustees – Denise Leigh, one of the most appealing British sopranos and Ruth Montgomery, a profoundly Deaf flautist. The chorus, which was conducted by up-and-coming disabled musician and composer Lloyd Coleman included children with disabilities from Stepping Stones school in Hindhead, Surrey with members of GCS and professional singers.
“I would like to thank you again for allowing both myself and in particular my husband to attend the beautiful concert where we were so proud seeing our daughter Rebecca from Stepping Stones School sing and perform like we never knew. I know that my husband and I will treasure the memory as it is not something that happens a lot in our life!" - mother of Music of Life participant in the choir
PARTNERSHIP WITH BRITTEN SINFONIA
The launch of our collaboration with Britten Sinfonia took the form of a Composers’ workshop with celebrated composer James Macmillan on 16th October, just one day before the London premiere of his new oboe concerto. This project was a unique opportunity for the audience to witness the process of the creation of music as well as a unique effort to bring together composers and musicians of very different abilities and backgrounds.
Three Music of Life composers – Thomas Blumire, Lloyd Coleman and Benjamin Larham – were invited to submit compositions which were rehearsed during the afternoon and performed in a final concert by a string quartet and brass quintet, mixing Music of Life and Britten Sinfonia players. James Macmillan conducted and offered advice and ideas for improvement. Music of Life instrumentalists for the day were Chris Melling (trumpet), Joel Fearn (trumpet), Phoebe Kemp (trombone) and Joseph Nicholls (viola).
“I think we all felt the same way-it was a really special day being able to work with and alongside these very talented musicians. It was inspiring and also very grounding to see how much can be achieved despite the odds being stacked against you. I felt very privileged to be asked to take part in the workshop!” – Nicola Goldscheider, Violin, Britten Sinfonia
MUSIC OF LIFE WORKSHOPS AT SCHOOLS
We are now seeking funding for a large and ambitious project that will benefit hundreds of children with severe disabilities in special schools, hospices and disability groups’ clubs. Regular choral workshops with each series lasting at least two years have been devised to cultivate children’s abilities and skills, involve them in continuous work alongside professional singers and encourage them to be ambitious about their future. The aim is to create substantial positive change and bring benefits to a wide range of special needs children especially those who face isolation, social deprivation and have low self-esteem.
An opportunity to rise to
In addition to large workshops, smaller groups of the most talented students will be offered further training in separate, more frequent sessions; these groups will work on specific elements such as breathing and singing techniques, voice range expansion, SATB chorus basics and stage awareness. Depending on individual progress students from these groups could be offered placements in Music of Life concerts within first 6 months to 2 years’ time of training.
“The difference that “real” professionals can make to the students is amazing. When we completed the introductory workshop, one only had to look at the faces of our students to see how awestruck they were at the sound that generated through the school – staff came out of their offices to listen! Then, when the students joined in with the singing, the whole hall came alive. Every student joined in – even those who wouldn’t normally. Following the workshop there was a real buzz in the air, the students were full of energy and confidence and went out of the hall singing to themselves – the singers were such an inspiration and a fantastic role model for the students. The whole experience was very uplifting.
Already we have seen the benefits that your work can bring to our students. We therefore would thoroughly welcome the opportunity to work with you again in the future.” - Head of Music, The Park School, Surrey
“Thank you for the wonderful trial session you organised for our pupils at West Hill School. They enjoyed it very much and it was gratifying to see even the hardest core of “I can’t sing in public” pupils singing and doing the accompanying movements. End-of-session feedback was highly positive, with pupils requesting another visit from the singers.
West Hill School would very much like the Music of Life foundation to consider our pupils for choir training workshops starting in September 2010. This application is based on the high interest in music shown by our pupils: Out of 78 students in the school, 41 filed requests for music lessons; the final uptake was of 31, with the others opting out for financial reasons.” – Head of Music, West Hill school, Surrey
SPREAD THE WORD
Music of Life is a young and developing organisation and we need the support and active involvement of all our patrons in order to expand our Friends group and be able to commit to more schemes that benefit an ever-increasing number of children with disabilities. We hope that you are as excited as we are about the projects described in this newsletter. Please forward it to your friends!