Back in March, we were due to put the finishing touches to the School of BaROCK project, with the final rehearsals planned, venue ready and the van packed, when we had to cancel it due to the COVID lockdown.  Since then it has been something of a rollercoaster..

But to go back to the start..  School of BaROCK is produced in partnership with Classically Yours, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Orchestras Live, Remarkable Arts and Sinfonia Viva.  The original project which took place between January and March involved a class group from Bay Primary School, Kings Mill School and Martongate Primary School, alongside the Bridlington Remarkable Rock Choir.  The participating groups worked with composer James Redwood, Sinfonia Viva’s Leader and Artistic Director Sophie Rosa and double bassist Dave Ayre to create new songs and instrumental pieces inspired by the theme of Seasons.

Four excellent songs and one fantastic instrumental piece were written and these were going to be performed by the groups that had created them, supported by a Remarkable Arts Rock Ensemble and Sinfonia Viva, who were also going to play Seasons inspired music by Vivaldi, Roxanna Panufnik and Astor Piazzolla in a large scale performance at Brid Spa.  But that was not to be.

Above - School of BaROCK planning sessions

Following this, a large part of the Sinfonia Viva team were furloughed and it wasn’t until July when we were able to make plans for how we were going to culminate School of BaROCK so we could share the excellent pieces that were created.

In August 2020 James Redwood and an ensemble of 8 musicians from the orchestra came together in Derby for a socially distanced recording session, to record the orchestral accompaniments for the 5 newly written pieces along with a movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Will Roberts from Vox Multimedia filmed the session, and Derby LIVE supported the recording.

We designed a new project for the three schools and choir to participate in during the Autumn term, but as soon as school started in September the primary schools advised us that they weren’t singing in school, so we had to come up with a new plan! 

Kings Mill School had been Makaton signing the Seasons song, so we decided that the focus for the primary school sessions would be to learn the Makaton signs for the songs, and to film them performing the signs. James created learning videos and we shared these with Bay, Martongate and Kings Mill.

The plan always included some evening zoom sessions for the choir to join, so the focus of these then became on learning all four songs, so they could record themselves singing them at home and submit recordings to be included in the final films. 

Above - Recording session and online workshop

We delivered our first digital sessions in school and with the choir – and everything was going swimmingly.  At the start of the week of the second school workshops both Bay and Martongate primary schools contacted us to inform us that their year groups had been sent home and they were isolating.  Unfortunately Bay decided at this point that they were unable to continue with the project, whilst Martongate were able to include the video resources we had created to incorporate the project into their home learning offer.  Pupils submitted their recordings from home, as filmmaker Will was no longer able to go into school to film them.

The digital choir sessions continued, and involved not only members of Bridlington Remarkable Rock Choir, but also choir members from Stamford Bridge Community Choir, who worked with us on a previous Classically Yours project, along with some other interested participants.  Many of the participants have told us how important the choir has been to them:

“Thank you all for this precious gift, inviting us all to be a part of something so special, it was wonderful when you first visited us in Bridlington at the beginning of the year but even those of us who smile all the time are struggling, not complaining, with our isolation, it has lifted us.”

Kings Mill School had a filming session with Will Roberts, and together we tested out how to best work over Teams!  Alongside this, musicians from Remarkable Arts recorded their parts to Seasons Song and the choir’s song Ending of Another Year and shared them with us.

The final stage in the project is pulling all the different video and audio submissions together with the footage from the Sinfonia Viva recording session back in the summer, to make a digital performance.

We will be previewing the films with Martongate Primary and Kings Mill School during the afternoon on Thursday 17 December, followed by an informal sharing event, which is open to the public, which will be held on zoom on the same day at 6.30pm.  For further details and to sign up, CLICK HERE

If you would like to know more about Classically Yours and the broad range of exciting projects they are running, you can find more information CLICK HERE