Blog of Julian West

‘Bellows’ Bergamasca Baroque’

Julian West - Posted on 29.03.2019

Words by Katie, an Open Academy Student

‘It’s Katie! Hello Katie!’ As I approached the Academy on my bike this morning, I coincided with the year threes from Rhyl Primary School, chattering excitedly as they came for their concert. It gave me real delight to see them again and know that we had formed a meaningful relationship through sharing time and creative experiences together.

Several students and workshop leaders from the Academy had spent three days with the two classes last week. In a combination of games, discussions and demonstrations, the children learnt about Baroque music for the first time, learning about some of the musical features, and seeing and hearing some of the instruments. As I demonstrated the different characters on the Baroque oboe, one girl gasped with astonishment when she heard a trumpet-like fanfare. Further gasps of delight were particularly forthcoming to the viola d’amore, especially at a whirlwind of Vivaldi semiquavers, as well as fascination with its decorated scroll and 12 strings!

The children were also able to share with us their knowledge about a painting, George Bellows’ ‘Men of the Docks’, which they had just visited at the National Gallery. They then used inspiration from the painting and from Baroque music to create their own compositions, performed both to an older class in the school and via video in today’s concert. It was wonderful to see so many really engaged as they bubbled over with ideas and committed themselves to composing, performing and (in some cases) conducting their own music.

World Book Day (complete with dressing up and a parade!) and International Women’s Day added extra spice to the week. What a treat to play and be interviewed live on ‘Rhyl Radio’ on Friday (broadcast into the playground and all around the school!), asked by an insightful year six student about our inspirations and what International Women’s Day meant to us.

The culminating concert at the Academy felt like a real collaboration; the children were able to see and hear many more instruments in a variety of music, and were also able to share their creations with all the Academy students, as well as demonstrating some baroque dance steps to move round between pieces!

What a precious gift we have the privilege and responsibility to share.

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