BPO Education Programme
The orchestra has for many years invited young people from schools in Brighton & Hove to attend an orchestral rehearsal in Brighton Dome Concert Hall during our main season. We are keen to introduce young people to the exciting sound world of classical music and to ensure that they have the opportunity to hear what an orchestra sounds like. Of course many of them will have heard the soundtracks to films without realising what produces the wonderful music that can have such a powerful effect on the emotions.
Over the last three years, thanks to the financial support of the Fonthill Foundation, an educational charity, and donations by Friends of the Phil and retired educators, the orchestra has been able to expand its range of education events. Working with SoundCity, the Music Hub for Brighton & Hove, we have been able to provide 20 free interactive music workshops in local primary schools, given by members of the orchestra, bringing live music to over 1,000 children.
This year’s workshops given by Brighton Phil musicians John Ellwood (trumpet) and Donna-Maria Landowski (percussion) took place in January and February focussing on Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1, an exciting piece of music full of vivid folk-tunes and gypsy rhythms.
Children in Year 6 at Benfield Junior School came alive, listening intently when John Ellwood played the theme tunes from Harry Potter, Postman Pat & Star Wars, and becoming very excited when John let them blow into different mouth pieces.
The Furthering Talent group, who came to our film music concert in early December, were treated to their very own percussion workshop by Donna-Maria, and the music was so infectious that some of the parents joined in too, with the Marimba proving a particular favourite. (A short video clip of this can be viewed on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BrightonPhil).
These culminated in our Open Rehearsal for Children on Sun 5 March when several hundred children and their families enjoyed seeing and hearing the orchestra rehearse the piece, and Elgar’s Symphony No.1 in Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
Chairman Nicolas Chisholm introduced guest conductor Cristian Mandeal, the different sections of the orchestra and their instruments, and the music being rehearsed – Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 and Elgar’s Symphony No.1. The presence of two harps and so much percussion on stage really inspired a number of children, who told their parents they wanted to learn to play those instruments!
Below are some pictures from the rehearsal, courtesy of David & Jean Gerrard.
“We received so many positive comments from parents, but for me the highlight was in the concert interval itself when two bright eyed children came up to me to thank us all for giving them such an unforgettable experience. They had been to both the rehearsal and the concert itself. They agreed that it would be something that they would always remember.”NICOLAS CHISHOLM, MBE (CHAIRMAN, BHPS)
“I just wanted to say what a wonderful morning I had at the open rehearsal. The Elgar moved me to tears! Thank you so much for providing such an opportunity for my kids and I.”A PARENT
Thank you so much for organising the school visit to The Dome for the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsal yesterday. Although neither of us are ‘musical’ we are very keen to encourage “D”’s interest in learning to play the violin and any instrument “L” may like to take up in the future. Therefore yesterday was quite an amazing experience – the first piece (Enescu) was just magical – almost like being transported into a Disney film!! I think we were all quite transfixed!!
I found it fascinating watching how the orchestra worked – from the comments from the conductor, the musicians pencilling notes on their sheet music, quickly turning pages of music whilst still playing (I saw trumpeters still blowing a note while doing that!) and it was nice to see that in their down time they also study their mobile phones like the rest of us!!
Anyway, thank you! As a parent I absolutely loved it and am so happy that my daughters had the experience!!” A PARENT
“Many thanks for a wonderful Open Rehearsal yesterday, the children from my school thoroughly enjoyed themselves and particularly enjoyed being placed in those great seats in the Choir Stalls!
The vast majority of the parents had never been to a live orchestral concert before let alone their children so it was a treat for everyone! I know they were a bit fidgety at times so please apologise to the players but it is such a wonderful opportunity to bring live Classical Music to children and adults who would not normally get a chance to experience it.
I am looking forward to next year already! I do hope that the concert was a success, I was very impressed with Chloë Hanslip, what wonderful playing.” A TEACHER
We are most grateful to those Friends of the Phil and retired educators who have contributed so generously to this year’s education project, and to Sussex Masonic Charities who have pledged some financial support for next year. Next year we will be focussing on Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and our Open Rehearsal will be on Sunday 25 March 2018.
We have seen a pleasing increase in the number of young people attending our concerts in recent years. To attract even more we offer special-rate tickets for those who play in the Brighton Youth Orchestra and for members of the Brighton & Hove Music Hub and their parents, and a 50% discount for students which we actively promote to both universities. Family tickets mean two children under the age of 16 can attend our concerts for just £1 each if accompanied by a ticket-bearing adult.
Future plans to develop our education programme depend on our ability to raise the necessary funds. If you would like to help in any way, please contact Nicolas Chisholm, MBE, Chairman of the Society.
Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society Ltd
41 George Street, Brighton, BN2 1RJ
Email: mail @ brightonphil.org.uk
2015 Education Programme
In 2015 six schools enjoyed workshops given by Donna-Maria Landowski (percussion) and Matthew Forbes (cello) which focussed on “Mars” from The Planets suite by Gustav Holst, which was also one of the “Ten Pieces” of classical music promoted by the BBC that year.
All workshop participants and indeed children from all primary schools in Brighton & Hove were invited to the morning rehearsal on Sunday 22 March 2015 to hear The Planets played live. Over 120 children and their parents and teachers sat in the choir stalls close to the orchestra to experience its exciting sound. The children were able to apply for free tickets to the concert that followed, with discounted tickets for their parents, and several took up the offer.
2016 Education Programme
In 2016 thanks to a further grant from the Fonthill Foundation, and individual donations, nine more schools benefited from workshops given by Roland Roberts (violin), Donna-Maria Landowski (percussion) and Matthew Forbes (cello) focussing on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The second movement of this wonderful piece is one of the Classical 100 pieces of music being promoted by ABRSM, in association with Classic FM, with online resources available to primary schools at: http://gb.abrsm.org/en/
Workshop participants and children from primary schools throughout Brighton & Hove were invited to our open rehearsal at Brighton Dome, on Sunday 14 February 2016, to hear Scheherazade rehearsed by the full orchestra, with the opportunity to interact with the conductor and musicians. Nearly 400 children/parents/teachers attended and a gallery of images from the event is available to view below. The children were offered free tickets to the afternoon concert with a special discounted rate for accompanying adults and we were delighted to achieve a season’s best audience that afternoon with several families returning to take advantage of this.