As Learning & Participation Intern, the first part of the Winter Festival, for me, was focused on the L&P events. The week began with the daily staff briefing and all the abbreviations on the fat schedule suddenly became identifiable people! The mood of the office changed slightly as passing ships ran about their tasks and as the tempo increased, so did the bonhomie.
On Tuesday, I was dressed in the obligatory thermal layers for Winter Songs in the market. The performance involved more than 150 participants ranging from 6 to 60+ years. A lot of fun and a great sense of pride by everyone.
On Wednesday, the stunning Monteverdi’s Madrigals and Fables based on the story of Orpheus with 60 school children was fantastic. Sam Glazer and his team inspired the children to sing by heart and with heart the pieces they had composed over the course of the term – in unison, in parts and even with some audience participation.
Spitalfields Soundings in the market on Thursday evening attracted a large group despite the freezing temperatures. The two lively bands on stage inspired some energetic bobbing about in the market by audience members. The more intimate venue in Teasmith was perfect for the two solo performers who ended their gig with a fab jamming duet.
But for me, the most moving concert was Aspirations on Friday. A group of adult students from Tower Hamlets College performed songs they had composed with an exciting group of incredibly dedicated musicians who demonstrated such sensitivity to the participants as they encouraged and motivated them. Their theme was the Chinese five elements (fire, earth, metal, water and wood) – a wonderful end to my first encounter with the Festival.
Learning & Participation Intern