In a change to my traditional morning commute, on Wednesday last week I found myself heading deep into London’s East End to visit the Altmore Children’s Centre in Newham for the penultimate performance of our Musical Rumpus: A Fairy Queen in the Forest tour. As a member of the Development team, it is both inspiring and rewarding to see the outcomes of projects we fundraise for. In Musical Rumpus, babies, toddlers and their parents enter an immersive music-theatre experience – a re-imagining of Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen creating a multi-sensory world of music, sights, sounds and textures for 0-3-year-olds to explore.
Musical Rumpus on tour.
Image: Laura Fensom.
As the performance got underway, I was intrigued by how engaged both the children and their parents were. A toddler who had been crying as she arrived at the centre was now sporting an expression of curiosity and delight, while a number of the children were on their feet, exploring the performance space and interacting with the singers. Others remained on the perimeter, happy to experience the performance in the laps of their parents – many of whom seemed equally enthralled and generally delighted to be sharing the experience so closely with their child.
I was proud to be part of an organisation that had brought live classical music and opera to over 350 children and as many adults over the course of the Musical Rumpus tour. For many it was their first experience of classical music and opera, and from a fundraising point of view it made me even more determined to reach our target so that our next tour can go ahead in 2013. To make this happen, we are taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge – a 3-day online fundraising campaign, kicking off this Thursday. Every penny will help, so if you are able to, please support our campaign to bring another magical experience to 350 more babies and toddlers. You can find out more about the project and how your donation could be doubled on our website.
To donate to our Big Give Christmas Challenge visit The Big Give website at 10.00am on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December. Take a look at our Musical Rumpus tour video.
With the last of the golden egg shakers back in its box and the magical forest all folded up, the Musical Rumpus tour of A Fairy Queen in the Forest to Barking & Dagenham and Newham has come to an end. But worry not, the tour was the start of a three-year programme of musical experiences for babies and toddlers and we will be returning in July with a brand new work.
You can help bring these musical experiences to 750 families by donating through The Big Give Christmas Challenge. Between Thursday 6 and Saturday 8 December 2012, donate via The Big Give website and The Big Give will aim to match your donation pound for pound.
Click play below to find out more about the project so far.
“… we have learnt about each other, ourselves and the communities in which we live”
The launch of our Christmas Challenge with the Big Give is only two weeks away! Through this initiative you can support some of our life-changing work with young people and adults with special educational needs across Tower Hamlets.
Workshop leader Zoë Palmer has been working with us as part of our Learning & Participation programme. She shares some of her memorable experiences working with students on the Tower Hamlets College Aspirations programme.
“Working with the Aspirations group over the past three years has been a rewarding experience. We have written songs about our hopes and dreams, and others inspired by Chinese teachings on the five elements. In the process we have learnt about each other, ourselves and the communities in which we live. What’s great about this group is the spirit of playfulness they embody during the workshops. One person who particularly comes to mind is Margaret, an older woman who has been working with us from the very beginning. She sings everything with inspiring energy and commitment – and always takes a moment to walk around the room at the end of the session to thank us all individually, and to express her enthusiasm for the music we’ve created. Another enriching aspect of this project has been our work with Ellie Rees who has worked with the group to create some wonderful visuals to run alongside the music, this has allowed us to explore blending colour, light and sound, whilst getting our hands messy and having a whole lot of fun in the process!”
Our challenge is to raise £72,000 to make sure that we can continue to work with these extraordinary people in 2012. You can make a difference by donating with the Big Give on Monday 5 December from 10am onwards. If you do so, the Big Give will match your donation – pushing us closer to our target.
Read more information about the programme.
Find out how to donate.
We recently had an internal event during which students from the Royal Academy of Music performed at various historic locations in Spitalfields. I worked on the programme book for that event, and got to find out loads about historic Spitalfields! Did you know that some buildings date back to the 1700s and are still standing? Many of the redecorated private properties around Spitalfields were originally craftsmen’s (such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and silk weavers) workshops and doctors’ surgeries. When you are walking around the area, make sure you sneak a peek at the front and see if you can spot any signs dating the building. I found that some still have exterior mechanisms for blinds from ‘back in the day’!
- Old blinds mechanism outside a house in Spitalfields
I also find these two metal emblem-sign-cool-badgey-things on a street and have no idea what they are – do you know? [NJ: Thanks to our Twitter followers and our blog readers, I now know these are fire insurance plaques]. I’d love to know how old they are, what they were used for, and if there are any more around Spitalfields?
Fire insurance plaques
Spitalfields is a wonderful area for wandering. During my lunch breaks, I always try to go somewhere new. So far I’ve found loads of great places to eat around the area:
The Crisis Skylight Cafe does amazing baked potatoes and yummy fillings! The cafe is spacious and has really friendly staff.
The Luxe restaurant near the old Spitalfields market has an outdoor cafe part – they make fish finger burgers!
The Flying Burrito does burritos and nachos for a reasonable price, but be warned – if you eat a burrito here, you won’t be able to eat anything else for the rest of the day. To say the burritos here are ‘filling’ would be an understatement.
If you walk towards Brick Lane, you will find a huge selection of Bangladeshi restaurants serving delicious Indian food.
- Two of our Winter Festival events are now SOLD OUT!
- I have had the opportunity to interview Gabriel Crouch, director of Gallicantus, the talented illustrator Joanna Moore, and there is an upcoming interview with Bernadette Russell, co-founder of White Rabbit! All three artists (along with many more) are helping make this year’s Winter Festival programme truly unique! There will be a mix of early music, family events, a storytelling performance, an open mic night, and a unique take on Handel’s Messiah. I am really looking forward to the festival!
- Spitalfields Music is working on a Special Education Needs project and have launched a new campaign with The Big Give. This Christmas, our challenge is to raise £72,000 to ensure our Learning and Participation programme can continue to do the remarkable outreach work it is well known for. If you would like to donate, read about our campaign here.
We have a lot more exciting stuff coming up on our blog – so stay tuned!
Posted in Intern Diaries
Tagged architecture, bernadette russell, donate, donation, eating in spitalfields, gabriel crouch, historic spitalfields, history, interviews, Joanna Moore, learning, lunch in spitalfields, niharika jain, old buildings, participation, restaurants in spitalfields, spitalfields, spotfiy, The Big Give, white rabbit, winter festival, winter festival playlist
With the Big Give we have launched a new campaign to support some of the most important work within our Learning & Participation programme – and you can help us! We regularly work with children and adults who have special educational needs, using music to build skills, increase confidence and raise aspirations.
Our challenge this Christmas is to raise £72,000 to make sure that we can keep working with these extraordinary people in 2012. You can make a difference by donating with the Big Give on Monday 5 December from 10am onwards; if you do the Big Give will match your donation pushing us closer to our target.
‘Spitalfields Music projects… [are] central to enabling them to develop, to progress socially and emotionally’
One of the organisations we work with in this part of our programme is the Cherry Trees School. Head Teacher, Stuart Walker shared with us what the programme means to the participants and the school:
‘The Cherry Trees is a school for boys in Tower Hamlets with severe emotional and social difficulties, we have a well earned reputation for innovation in teaching. In constructing a creative and expressive learning environment for our pupils, we have brought in the very best from the range of specialist expertise.
‘Spitalfields Music’s involvement has been central to this process for over ten years. They have developed a series of innovative improvisation and performance workshops which have presented opportunities with transformational potential.
‘Looking back over their time here, ex-pupils very frequently specify their involvement in the performing arts of the Spitalfields Music projects, as being central to enabling them to develop, to progress socially and emotionally. We have a small amount of recorded video and audio from this work which we’d be happy to share and discuss with anyone interested in the capabilities of well delivered arts education in helping young people overcome social and emotional barriers to their progress.’
If you’d like to see some of the work we’ve done with the Cherry Trees, have a look at the collection of videos on the school’s website.