It’s been a great month to finish the school year, with three big projects.
Bromley Reform Synagogue concert and percussion side-by-side project
We started off the month with a group of young musicians giving a family concert at the Bromley Reform Synagogue. The musicians, mostly university students that had worked with Margaret on projects in previous years, rehearsed the varied programme during the morning. After tea and cake with the audience, they gave an informal concert. In between the pieces, Margaret introduced all the young musicians and their instruments, making sure to highlight anyone that switched instruments or performed solos. The audience was also included in several pieces; they clicked, jingled bells and sang Drunken Sailor, adding Margaret’s carefully choreographed actions! I think both the audience and musicians enjoyed themselves!
Linked to this concert was a day of workshops for the Year 6s at St Nicholas School in Purley. This is a Special School for primary school children. We began the day by performing the pieces then we got the children involved. Margaret had devised a schedule that meant that all the children got a turn playing percussion in various pieces. The improvement the children showed was incredible. They started the day off hitting the instruments with very little musicality, but by the final performance to the rest of the school, they were playing their assigned instruments in time and with great confidence. I hope the children enjoyed their day of music, and it gave them an escape from their daily routine.
We hope we can return to St Nicholas School again as these projects seem to work really well. All the young musicians seem to love working with Margaret and are keen to sign up for these projects. Thank you also to Sarah Hatch and Elaine So – your work with the children on the percussion is invaluable and you really help the students become part of the music! Thank you also to Clare Britton, one of our new trustees, who helped not only behind the scenes in the admin tasks for these projects but also with the children!
Conversation pieces; Words and music uniting the generations
Everyone Matters was left a monetary contribution in memory of John Morris. John was a great music lover who supported the London Mozart Players and Everyone Matters. With this money, and in memory of John, two days of Margaret’s ‘Conversation Pieces’ project was organised in association with Hayes School.
A group of students had a morning of rehearsals and then visited St Mark’s Church Lunch Club, Park Avenue Care Home, Bertha James Day Centre and Prince George (Masonic) Duke of Kent Home to give concerts.
Even though we always think our concerts have gone well, and the students tell us they enjoyed themselves, it’s always so pleasing to hear that the residents have enjoyed it too.
We got some very nice comments from the residents at Prince George (Masonic) Duke of Kent Home. Most of the residents there have dementia, and the home manager said that it was lovely to see most of the audience not only awake, but also interacting! One resident even came in from gardening to hear the “wonderful” music!
The Lifestyle Coordinator of Park Avenue Care Home also told us that the residents had a wonderful time.
Getting feedback like that is so uplifting because it reminds you how powerful music is. These projects are also so good for the students involved as it gives them opportunities to perform, and with very little rehearsal time, and practices their social skills because we always finish our concerts with a chat with the residents. This gives the students a chance to mingle with people they wouldn’t normally chat to, and the audience to interact with the performers and find out more about who they are.
We hope John would like how we are remembering him.
Rutherford School Summer Club
Every year Margaret goes to Rutherford School to provide a day of workshops to the children that attend the Summer Club. Margaret always devises a new project based their theme for the year. It is a lot of work but it always goes down well with the staff and children enjoying themselves.
The children play the percussion with the help of the staff whilst Margaret plays the clarinet or piano, and Katie Clemmow a music therapist, plays the oboe, cor anglais or piano.
In one piece, the children very successfully added jungle animals and a rainstorm sequence with an assortment of percussion instruments. In another piece they tried to get the children to add harmony using combi-bells, which wasn’t totally successful to begin with. However, with some quick thinking, Margaret worked out a way to indicate which students should play when, and then it all came together very nicely!
Even though there were fewer student this year due to the hot weather, everyone enjoyed themselves, and we hope to keep returning to Rutherford School.
We’d also like to thank Katie for all her hard work in helping to organise this project!
We have a well deserved rest in store for August, until the end of the month. There is then lots in store for September!
Alice Britton is a former pupil of Margaret’s and has worked with Everyone Matters as a young musician for a few years, helping organise and give concerts with other young musicians in special needs schools and care homes. After learning about all the amazing work Margaret and Everyone Matters does, she wanted to help spread the word and so is now the Social Media Manager for the charity, running the Twitter and Facebook pages, and doing the monthly blog.