One of the Three Choirs Festival’s core aims is to create musical experiences and opportunities that do not ordinarily exist in our region, and to that end we are developing a year-round participation programme in the local community which ties in with a major event at the festival each year. Working with schools, colleges, and local businesses where possible, we hope to show that classical music is something which is open to all and ensure that future generations will grow up loving music and knowing it is something for them.
In 2024, the festival will work with the Worcester community across all age groups in our Nature Sings project, exploring the ways in which the world around us has inspired beautiful music throughout the seasons.
Featuring music by Gustav Holst, – whose 150th anniversary falls in 2024 – Michael Tippett and Antonio Vivaldi, the project will work in three distinct strands, and opportunities to take part in workshops and performances are available to schools, adult choirs, community groups, and both young and adult string players in Worcestershire.
In partnership with The King’s School, Worcester, the festival will work with children aged 9-12 (school years 5-8) across the county to explore a variety of songs inspired by nature and the seasons. Children will receive a series of workshops at school from January 2024, where they will learn songs about the natural world throughout the calendar year, ready for a performance to parents, friends and members of the public in March. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children across Worcestershire to get involved in singing with others.
Children will receive a series of workshops at school in the new year 2024, where they will learn songs about the natural world throughout the calendar year, ready for a performance to parents, friends and members of the public in March. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children across Worcestershire to get involved in singing with others.
The project can accommodate up to 300 children. To get involved please contact Participation Coordinator Hannah Roper.
The Four Seasons: School and Care Home Workshops
If performing isn’t for your school, workshops exploring Vivaldi’s famous The Four Seasons will also be available from Spring 2024. Participating schools/groups will each receive two workshops:
- A Music workshop including a live performance of music taken from one of the seasons, with the opportunity to create their own response to what they hear.
- An Art workshop creating seasonal artwork for display during our festival.
Four care home workshops are on offer between April and June 2024 – two creative practitioners will visit residents with collaborative sessions to create poetry, with live performance of excerpts from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, and activities designed to encourage and inspire creativity.
Festival Week Showcase & Side-by-Side scheme: for Singers and String Players
We are looking for community choirs, youth choirs, and adult and youth string groups/individual players to participate in our festival week performance in Worcester Cathedral on Thursday, 1st August 2024 at 2.30pm.
Singers will explore repertoire inspired by the seasons and nature, while string players will perform alongside professionals in a specially-arranged version of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, designed to cater for any ability from novice through to expert.
Music will be available for individuals, choirs and ensembles to learn early in 2024, and group rehearsals will take place in July in Worcester venues (see below).
To sign up, please contact Hannah Roper.
Participants will need to be able to attend the following rehearsals. Rehearsal dates in italics are compulsory:
Sunday 7th July 2024 1.30-3.30pmSt Andrews Methodist Church,
Pump St, Worcester (Main Hall)
Sunday 14th July 2024 2-4pm “
Thursday 18th July 2024 7.30-9.30pm St Mary’s Hall, WR1 1NS
Thursday 1st Aug 202410.30-1.30pmWorcester Cathedral
Thursday 11th July 7.30-9.30pm St Mary’s Hall, WR1 1NS
Sunday 21st July10am-3pmVenue TBC *side-by-side
Tuesday 23rdth July 7.30-9.30pm Venue TBC
Thursday 1st Aug 10.00-1.00pm Worcester Cathedral
The “Nature Sings” Songbook
The festival will support local Worcestershire musicians to create an original video response to the natural world throughout the calendar year, which will be featured across our digital platforms in 2024, with an accompanying opportunity to perform on our festival bandstand during festival week. For more details or to express an interest please contact Hannah Roper.
Grateful thanks go to musicians Kate Gathercole and Mark Waters (Alula Down), actor and poet Edward Derbyshire, dancer and choreographer Marie-Louise Flexen, musicians Judge Singh (J9) and Tim Keasley, and textile artist Joy Pollock.
These inspiring creative leaders have worked with the Creative Age at Bethesda, St. Briavels Memory Café, Inclusion Gloucestershire, Severnside Singers and three Gloucestershire primary schools (Elmbridge, Hillview, Oakridge primaries) to deliver a series of free workshops, with mini-projects across multiple artistic disciplines including but not limited to music, spoken word, dance and textile art. Taking inspiration from Vaughan-Williams’ most famous work, “The Lark Ascending”, our aim is to bring together contributions of art forms from schools and communities in our “What the Lark Saw” project.
The 2022 festival included projects aimed at different age groups - primary school children, teens and older adults - inspiring them to create their own responses to classical music under the guidance of experienced workshop leaders. Over 200 children experienced school-based workshops in June and July, exploring the relationship between art, music and literature. The children created artwork and imagined new stories inspired by classical music, guided by artist James Mayhew and storyteller-pianist Edward Derbyshire. In addition, Saturday morning workshops aimed at families took place in community hubs south of the River Wye, offering this opportunity to a wider group within the community.
In older age groups, young people aged 14–19 took part in laid-back songwriting sessions led by Herefordshire singer-songwriter Aidan Sheehan, creating their own interpretations of classical pieces in a musical genre of their choice. These relaxed-vibe drop-in sessions provided a much-needed outlet for exam stress to local teenagers, and the opportunity to compose their own original music, whether or not they had any prior musical experience.
In addition, collaborating with Herefordshire over-60s choir The Garrick Singers, Jonathan Rathbone led choral workshops inspiring new, original vocal arrangements of Bach’s keyboard works. This introduced community singers to new vocal techniques and inspired them to create organically, contributing to completely novel realisations of monumental works within the keyboard canon.
Gaspard’s Foxtrot was our featured performance for Worcester 2021, the story of a fox who has an adventure on a London bus and ends up as the star of a concert, set to music and performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra. Leading up to the festival, schools across Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcestershire were invited to take part in a week of activities surrounding Gaspard and promoting music, art, and writing. At the festival performance, young children and their friends and families were greeted by conductor Alice Farnham and the Philharmonia players and introduced to Gaspard by broadcaster and author Zeb Soanes and illustrator James Mayhew, who joined us remotely from his studio. Children and adults alike were enthralled from start to finish thanks to Jonathan Dove’s exciting score, Zeb Soanes’ captivating storytelling and James Mayhew’s enchanting and ingenious live illustration.
In Gloucester 2019, the festival linked up with the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport where thousands of children were brought to safety in the UK from Nazi Germany. Last Train to Tomorrow by Carl Davis, a song cycle about the Kindertransport sung and acted from the children’s perspective, was performed at the festival, involving young people from all around the county. Inspired by a line from the work, the festival launched a project titled #whereismyhome celebrating communities in Gloucester, the UK and beyond by asking what home meant to them. These labels formed an installation in the cathedral on the day of the performance.