September 29th saw the premiere of Seren Winds’ version of ‘Hansel and Gretel’, an arrangement by Helen Mills of Humperdinck’s opera. All of the well-loved tunes from the opera are arranged and interspersed with narration of the story.
Initially, we intended to narrate it as one person though when it came to putting it together in rehearsals we found that it would work well being acted out too. After some tweaking of the script and charity shop costume and prop shopping we staged it at The Cathedral School Llandaf, who had booked us for educational concerts for the Infant and the junior school children.
It was popular with all and the large show of hands indicating who would like to learn an instrument proved that it we inspired quite a few budding young musicians. Our second performance, for the Junior school, ended with a try-it-out session, where we each had queues of children wanting to discover which woodwind instrument is right for them.
There was much natural talent amongst the pupils, which is helpfully being followed up by the school to get started on their musical journey. Not only is it immensely fun (in our opinion), there is much research which proves links between academic performance and music, as musical training optimises brain function, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of musicians.
Following the success of these performances, we also offered ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to Driffield Junior School who gladly invited us to perform in a whole school assembly.
This also went down very well, with audience feedback including ‘mind-blowing’, ‘amazing’, ‘fabulous’, ‘supercalafragilisticexpialidocious’, and one girl, when asked to describe the performance, was literally speechless.
Teacher Mr. Horsley said afterwards;
“The children thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The reason they listened so well is because they were all captivated and engaged by your fantastic talents! I had several children from my class alone asking if they could sign up for French horn lessons! It wasn’t just the children that enjoyed the performance; I know that the staff found it a real treat as well and we all left feeling extremely inspired.”
We then went to Driffield School to work with the GCSE students, performing to them and passing on knowledge about how best to compose and arrange for wind instruments.
Our time at the school also included a workshop with the woodwind students, many of whom had never played in an ensemble before and so we formed a large ensemble with them, playing a couple of well-known orchestral tunes alongside them before ending with a short recital to a packed school hall.
As a quintet we are looking forward to more projects of a similar nature. Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is being arranged for us, and we invested in ‘Winnie the Pooh Suite’, ’Pooh Two’, ‘The Unhappy Aardvark’ and ‘A Tale of Five Winds – A Story for Christmas’ with our prize money from June Emerson.
If you are interested in educational projects for your school, or any other setting please get in touch via email@example.com.