First Time Live Youth in Furness

“We’re going to show them that orchestras aren’t boring at all.”

“We really liked Silouans Song by Arvo Pärt.”

“The musicians played so beautifully.”

This is just some of the feedback from the 30 young producers aged between 12 and 15 at Dowdales School who are embarking on a First Time Live journey with us and Manchester Camerata producing two concerts for primary schools in Barrow in March 2015.

Over two days in November 2014, the young producers met the musicians, attended a concert with Manchester Camerata in Ulverston, considered the repertoire, received training on camera techniques and vision mixing, created a brand and logo identity, wrote a press release and identify VIPs to invite to the concert. Divided into four teams, they will be responsible for everything including selecting concert repertoire, scriptwriting, sound and lighting design, video projection, stage management, marketing and branding, writing press releases, blogging, photography, performing, concert presentation and even conducting they hope.

The concerts for 1,000 primary school children from the Furness area will take place on 5 March 2015 at The Forum, Barrow. It will be the first time a professional orchestra has performed in Barrow since 1994.

The project is supporting the extension role of Cumbria Music Education Hub by providing young people with access to a high quality, live orchestral experience. Simon Yeo, Head of Cumbria MEH thinks it will raise artistic aspiration in the Barrow and Dalton in Furness areas, generating more interest in instrumental tuition be it First Access, progression or ensemble playing: “We want to give young people in one of the most disadvantage areas of the county an inspirational experience of live music, which for many will be the first time they have ever been to a professional orchestral concert”.

The project is also contributing to curriculum development in the County’s primary and secondary schools as well as to the delivery of the Council Plan key objective “to ensure Cumbria is a great place to be a child and grow up” and will link to the BBC’s Ten Pieces project coming to Cumbria in June 2015.

The project is funded by Orchestras Live, Arts Council England, Cumbria Music Education Hub, Cumbria County Council Neighbourhood Fund, Hadfield Trust and the Sir John Fisher Foundation.

The next workshop is in January 2015 when the teams continue planning both creative and technical aspects of the concerts. At a weekend residential in Coniston in February 2015, the producers will be bringing everything together including composition of their own pieces which will be woven into the final concert.