Lauren Gregory, UoB graduate and Cultural Intern blogs about CBSO Schools Concerts Series
After a relaxing Christmas, full of treats and indulgence, followed by a week of flu and feeling generally terrible, I was thrown straight in at the deep end towards the latter part my first week back.
Friday saw the first two of five Schools’ Concerts, hosted at Symphony Hall. This initiative, which aims to give every year 7 child across the city the chance to see the CBSO play, is something that I’ve been following quite closely since I started back in October. The very first meeting I attended saw Simon Webb pitching to a large group of headteachers, in an attempt to make them sign up to see a concert. Despite the fact that the concerts were being offered free of charge to the schools, it was a shame to see so many empty seats on Friday morning. It seems that even just the cost of transport is too much to ask of some schools and students.
Those children that were able to attend were in for a real treat, however. Before the concert started, they were taught a song, which they would later sing with the orchestra. The concert was presented by Alasdair Malloy, who had based the programme on the idea of ecology, with a general message running through about the importance of recycling and protecting the planet. There was a very varied programme of music, which showed off all sections of the orchestra, and there was a slideshow of accompanying pictures for each piece. This was interspersed by a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire question, an opportunity to dance along to the music, and the chance to sing the song they had learnt. Many of the children appeared amazed by the size of the orchestra, and there was a real sense of occasion felt in the concert hall.
I was working with the slides, DVDs and images that needed projecting on the big screen above the orchestra. This involved a complicated routine that needed exact timing with Mike Seal’s downbeat. I definitely need more practice with this, so it’s quite fortunate that there are another three concerts to do this coming Friday!