25th February Pickering Community Junior School
February brought the chance to visit one of my favourite parts of the world, North Yorkshire! In partnership with Ryedale Festival and The Richard Shephard Music Foundation this was the start of a special project that will see us perform together at the Ryedale Festival during May 2022. I had a brilliant time joining primary school children from the area and their wonderful music tutors Katie Brier and Oliver Whawell from Sing Education for Pickering Music Holiday Club at Pickering Community Junior School!
I loved speaking with the children who had been enjoying a day of musical warm ups, games and learning new songs. It was great to hear about everyone's performance experiences and musical interests and to answer the children's questions. For many of the children this was the first time that they had heard an 'opera voice' live (and I am sure some of the children are bound to have been hoping it would be the last time!:)) I really enjoyed their descriptions after hearing my voice - 'LOUD!' 'creepy' and 'Woooow!' We enjoyed singing a Disney song together, and then I had the treat of enjoying rehearsals of their new songs before they gave a final performance and a recording was made for their families and friends. It was brilliant!
"Part of the aim of the Richard Shephard Music Foundation is to offer musical opportunities to local children. As a composer, conductor, teacher and performer, Richard Shephard changed the lives of hundreds of children across York and North Yorkshire and the goal of the Foundation is to extend that legacy and experience to thousands more children across the region. Future plans for the Foundation include the development of junior choirs across Yorkshire.
With schools often lacking the resources or time to develop a truly progressive and challenging music curriculum, the Foundation is aiming to catalyse change. Starting in disadvantaged or isolated communities, the Foundation is subsidising music provision in schools, working with their education partner, Sing Education."
I was so impressed to hear the children’s performances of the songs they had learned during the day and really inspired by their beautiful singing, harmonies and dancing! The special memories and friendships that are made through singing, making music and performing together during childhood stay with you forever - and it was wonderful to see this happening for the children in Pickering.
Especially after many months of lockdowns, this was certainly a day to celebrate seeing the children being able to sing, dance and learn together - and most of all share their music and individual personalities with us all. It was a real privilege to meet everyone and to have the chance to play a small part at the beginning of their exciting musical journeys.
The Richard Shephard Music Foundation is a registered Charity (1189066) established in April 2020 to recognise and build on the work of Dr Richard Shephard. The generous support of donors to the Richard Shepard Music Foundation make it all possible, and the Foundation continues to seek vital funding throughout the year to allow our activities to continue and expand. With plans for further holiday clubs and choirs in the near future. For further information about the Richard Shephard Music Foundation please see: www.rsmf.org.uk or twitter: @MusicShephard Support the Foundation: https://donate.rsmf.org.uk/donate
Some of the feedback received from the children at the holiday club included:
“I have learnt all about opera and how to sing in harmony and have greatly improved control over my voice and thinking for myself what I need to sing when we had to close our eyes.”
“I learnt that if you make mistakes while singing just keep smiling!”
Cathy Grant, the Foundation’s General Manager commented: “What a great day was had by all! Massive thanks to Kathryn for coming along and to the Ryedale Festival for linking us up with her to get it all arranged. As well as learning so much during the day and having fun, the children were so inspired to meet a professional singer. They asked her so many questions and sat in awe while she sang part of Habanera from the opera Carmen.”
“We hope to keep these sessions running and are looking to develop a junior choir for the local area. Watch this space!”