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Orchestral partnership hits the right note in Medway

Date: 06/03/2008           Category: Arts and Libraries

Orchestras Live - the national development agency for orchestral music - is working with Medway Council and City of London Sinfonia on an innovative youth-led project in Medway, culminating with a live performance at The Central Theatre, Chatham on Sunday, 8 June, 7.30pm. The pilot project, which has attracted funding from Youth Music, aims to raise aspirations and develop creative skills, leading to the establishment of a creative music group for young people in Medway. The project will involve 55 young people aged between 14 and 18 from Hundred of Hoo School, Fairbridge Kent, and Rochester Grammar School for Girls, who will come together to compose and perform original music. Orchestras Live met with City of London Sinfonia and Medway Council last year to discuss ways in which some of the Council’s priorities could be addressed through orchestral work. Potential participating groups were identified and planning meetings held to discuss the project’s objectives and key issues including personal development, integration, breaking down social and geographical barriers and opportunities for collaborative composition and instrumental playing. One of the key elements of the project is the empowerment of the young people involved by giving them full input into the artistic direction of the project. This will be achieved through the creation of their own Steering Group as well as digital and face-to-face networking. The development of local music leaders is a vital element of the project as is the development of young people as leaders through traineeship. Tony Hill, General Manager of The Brook and Central Theatres, Chatham, said: “We are committed to engaging as many people in our community as possible, with our range of programming. However, this fantastic project means we can nurture that engagement over a period of time and help to equip young people in Medway with new skills and renewed confidence.” The project will be led by artistic director and composer, Fraser Trainer, together with three musicians from City of London Sinfonia. Over the next few months, Fraser will visit the young people and facilitate the creation of original compositions. The compositions will then be arranged by Fraser into a large-scale work involving all the participants, augmented by chamber ensemble, and will be a featured premiere in the City of London Sinfonia concert programme at The Central Theatre, Chatham on 8 June. John Keeley, the Hundred of Hoo School’s Community Arts Manager, said: “We feel passionately that education should challenge and expand our students’ experiences both within and beyond the classroom, and we hope that this project will be the start of a rich collaboration as well as an inspiration to the young people involved”’.