The Lancashire Youth Vocal Ensemble – Young Vocalists
Success Story: The Big Show 2017 Young People Case Studies
In June 2017 Lancashire Music Hub brought together nearly 1000 children and young people from primary and secondary schools, special schools, More Music and the Hubs County Ensembles for the Big Show. We take a look back at this glorious celebration in our news section and here we share with you some case studies and feedback from the participants.
The Big Show brought together singers and instrumentalists to perform music and songs which represented different aspects of Lancashire life, past and present.
George has been very supportive of the Lancashire Youth Street Band (Honk!) and turns up to the majority of the rehearsals and gigs. George patiently refines and experiments whilst other players are learning stuff that he already knows.
It was really nice to see George in a different environment playing orchestral percussion where the same attitude and skills of memory, experimentation with solid and precise groove meant that he was a member to lean and build on.
Georges piece in the Big Show was a moment in the performance that really drew out the connection of formal and informal music making with the timps providing a Cuban feel for the orchestra to dance above.
Michael has been attending More Music projects for over 7 years and has grown into the most amazing musician. Michael always had a deep passion for rhythm and started with Baybeat Streetband as a percussionist and soon developed into a brilliant snare drummer performing at gigs across the North West from an early age. As is often the case the support from his parents was vital as they brought him to rehearsals and gigs wherever we were playing.
See him in this More Music promo film here in 2013.
Michael has been learning kit with a local tutor and this then brought him to play in Youth Orbit – the weekly improvising jazz band at More Music. The group compose and create new tunes and arrangements with great input from all the members.
At the age of 12 he brought remarkable musical maturity and listening skills as well as boundless enthusiasm.
Sarah is a Flautist with the Lancashire Schools Symphony Orchestra and attended the very first rehearsal of the Contemporary Orchestra for The Big Show.
Previous experiences of performing for Sarah have involved traditional orchestral repertoire, drawing on her skills in reading notation, watching and following a conductor and blending within an instrumental section. However, at the very first rehearsal Sarah was keen to broaden her skills, choosing to join with the LYVE singers in composing new vocal ideas and lyrics through improvising and recording.
We worked separately as mixed group of singers and instrumentalists to write lyrics for the Parade Tunes. Whereas some of her peers were reticent in joining in, Sarah instantly brought forward ideas, and sang securely, sustaining independent vocal parts.
Most interestingly, Sarah was key in developing the introduction to Bring me Sunshine; a rhythmically spoken prologue in the style of a Victorian Music Hall Emcee. She even performed the intro in its first form to the rest of the ensemble; confident as a soloist, not on her first instrument, performing original music. It was great to see her leaping so far from her comfort zone and loving it!
This is a case study talks about how a 20 strong, almost freely improvising, SEND Street Band not only perform at the Big Show but to learn repertoire that can fit within a larger show structure.
The main challenges were maintaining a positive experience for participants, in what could easily be a high pressured or frustrating environment, and to learn instruments quickly and easily and then to play them (& memorised pieces) in a focussed performance.
The same workshop format was ran throughout (warm up, intro to drums with everyone, intro to trombone with everyone, pick instruments, learn a simple piece, perform!) slowly modifying every element including the content as the music for the Big Show developed.
We worked to develop confidence, with individuals making more and more informed choices that led to parades, assembly performances and instant collaborations during the show.
Unlike the orchestra this band never rehearsed, just before the audience took their seats we were running a final workshop by the stage with participants picking instruments and pieces on the night.
Here are some positive words from two of the participants involved in the Big Show:
“Thank you for preparing and organising this wonderful event. It was phenomenal! It takes a lot of dedication to accomplish these kind of things and for that I’m truly grateful. I loved the music that all of the musicians played, how they make you feel joy and life in a dark room. I can’t dream of imagining to invent all of these powerful, life-changing, unbelievable songs. Everyone sand and played their hearts out in a perfect harmony all by your doing! You’ve shown me that instruments and voices can make incredible music. The songs were magnificent, I’m sure everyone loved them!”
Shawna Obi, Pupil from St Ignatius Primary School
“The Big Show was one of the best musical experiences I have had. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of such an amazing group of people who put together a fantastic show. From the first composing session I went to at the Guild Hall a few months prior to the show, I knew it would be an event to remember. I was involved in the process throughout and was made to feel part of a team, despite not having much knowledge on the subject of organising showcases! I enjoyed meeting new people from other ensembles, quickly developed new friendships, and I loved working with More Music as they were all very welcoming and made sure that you felt comfortable with what you were playing – they are all very talented! As an older member of the orchestra, I felt that the impact the performance had on younger members was outstanding and I’m sure that they will now have more passion for music, as I have. Taking part in this event has really inspired me to become more involved with things like this in the future and I’m sure it did to the young musicians also. These sorts of opportunities are very important because it allows young musicians, who would not normally be surrounded by this new type of composing, to become more confident and it allows them to have a new type of view as we all now know that music doesn’t have to be created directly onto a score, it can come from all aspects of life. I feel like more musicians need to realise this. I loved the creative aspect of the show as it showed a new side to music and one that I enjoyed being part of. Overall the show was an amazing experience and thoroughly enjoyed by all! ”
Lucy Hargreaves, LYJO Ensemble Member