Museum and Benslow bringing music to people's homes during lockdown
- Credit: British Schools Museum
Two Hitchin organisations are reaching out with their music digitally during lockdown.
British Schools Museum and Benslow Music are both putting on virtual performances.
With restrictions to onsite events continuing, organisations have adapted ways to bring their music concerts to people’s homes.
The British Schools Museum in Queen Street has moved its concerts to YouTube, while Benslow Music has delivered lessons and concerts online.
Museum curator Mark Copley said: "We've adapted the concerts which normally occur in our historic Monitorial Schoolroom, so that audiences can participate in the comfort of their own homes.
"The great thing about YouTube concerts is that we are able to have the musicians at the live YouTube event, answering questions, and commenting on the performance while it is being played.
"Also, we’ve reached a worldwide audience, which we obviously cannot do for an in-person concert.”
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The British Schools Museum will be showing the final concert of its winter programme on Saturday, March 27 at 8pm featuring All Saints Sessions.
They are performing an innovative mixture of poetry and music.
All Saints Sessions were conceived and performed by Alastair Gavin (keyboards, electrics) and Cheryl Moskowitz (poet) and on March 27 have guests Isabelle Baafi (poet), Malcolm Ball (ondes Martenot, percussion) and Ian Burdge (cello).
Visit www.britishschoolsmuseum.org.uk/discover/whats-on/ for further info and booking.
In the words of Alastair and Cheryl: “All our performances are collaborations between poetry, music, the performance space and the times we are in.
"As we edge tentatively towards the end of lockdown, with schools just returning, we are honoured to be part of this inaugural concert series, in the atmospheric and historic Monitorial Schoolroom.
“We wanted to broadly theme the performance around the idea of emergence and it was perfect, on the day of filming, to discover a pre-spring butterfly emerging in the quietness of the smaller Galleried Classroom next door to us.”
They added: “The poems chosen reference birth, growth, and communities in various forms from the dawn chorus to 19th century American pioneers to fishermen praying to, and at the mercy of, the elements.
"And behind these tales of life developing we added the music of Messiaen, with his inspiration from nature and celestial harmonies; and Sakamoto, his gentle piece named after an early 20th century free poetry movement; plus our own musical improvisations around field recordings of natural sounds, including the extraordinary electronic-type vocalisations of Weddell seals in Antarctica.
“It was thrilling for us to perform in this space echoing with the voices of the 300 or so schoolchildren that will have gathered there in the 18th century to learn and grow."
As we approach the first anniversary of the national lockdown, Benslow Music is proud to have presented over 130 online music courses and over 50 concerts since April 2020.
Dr Christopher Roberts, Head of Music at Benslow Music, said: "These online initiatives have supported freelance musicians and brought pleasure and comfort to people feeling isolated.
"It is clear that music has an important role to play in these uncertain and difficult times."
In light of current information on the roadmap out of lockdown in England, Benslow Music is planning for a resumption of residential courses and in-person concerts from Monday, May 17, 2021.
"Our live-streaming of concerts across many genres, including classical, early, folk and jazz, will continue to increase engagement," added Dr Christopher Roberts.
"We’ve been able to reach music lovers from all seven continents across the globe – putting Hitchin firmly on the map!"
The latest list of upcoming performances and on-demand video library can be viewed at www.benslowmusic.org/concerts.
Enigma14 are due to livestream a concert on Thursday, March 18 at 8pm.
There will be a livestream from Peter Bussereau (violin) and Paul Turner (piano) on Monday, March 29 at 8pm.
See www.benslowmusic.org/courses for more information about courses at Benslow Music.