We Have To Move On

Orchestras Live collaborated with Suffolk Archives, Britten Sinfonia and the National Horse Racing Museum on a project inspired by the story of Fritz Ball, a Jewish lawyer and musician who fled Nazi Germany with his family and his cello.

Fritz lived for several months in Newmarket at what is now the National Horse Racing Museum, and performed extensively in the locality before being interned at a camp on the Isle of Man, eventually emigrating to the USA.

Suffolk Archives has researched this story in detail, using Fritz Ball’s memoir which has been provided by his granddaughter who still owns his cello.

Fritz and Eva Ball (reproduced courtesy of Sandra Ball)

A lot of things in London are strange. We are surprised by the amount of food in the shop windows, so much fruit and vegetables, some of which we do not know the names. We are surprised by the traffic in the street, the flow of cars and buses. Why do almost all girls wear makeup? And why do so many people smoke on the bus and the train? We would like to stay in London longer, but we have to move on. Our new home is in Newmarket.

~ Extract from the memoir of Fritz Ball, 1939

What we wanted to achieve

Through words, music and dance, we wanted to celebrate and commemorate the story of Jewish refugees who stayed in Newmarket during the Second World War, drawing on the compelling memoir of Fritz Ball, a Jewish lawyer and cellist.

By doing so, we aimed to enrich people’s understanding of their local history and provide an opportunity to discover, and reflect on, the challenges faced by refugees past and present.

Our strong aim was to enable new and young participants to produce a compelling creative response to Jewish refugee histories that in turn can be shared to educate an even wider audience about the far-reaching impacts of the Holocaust.

What we did

The project began with an intimate performance of music and words on 26th January in one of the galleries at the Museum. A string quartet from Britten Sinfonia performed pieces of classical repertoire known to have been played by Fritz Ball. These pieces were interspersed with a narrative based on excerpts from his memoir, performed by Drama students from Newmarket Academy.

This event, which tied in with Holocaust Memorial Day, was filmed to form a learning resource for Suffolk Archives and will be part of an exhibition that will be held at the Museum between April and August 2022.

Watch the film of the event below:

The second stage of the project saw two strands of artistic activity over several months between February and June 2022, with composer Sarah Freestone working with young musicians from West Suffolk Youth Orchestra and Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy in Newmarket, whilst dance artist Tom Hobden from We are UNIT dance company and emerging professional dancers from DanceEast Kickstart worked with dance students at Abbeygate Sixth Form College, Bury St Edmunds.

Taking inspiration from the Museum’s buildings and grounds, the wartime story of human resilience and current issues around persecution and migration, the young people and artistic team created their own collaborative piece for live performance together with Britten Sinfonia on 4th July 2022, linked to International Refugee Week. The outdoor venue for this culmination, the King's Yard at the National Horse Racing Museum, was chosen to be very close to where the Ball family and other refugees lived during their time at Newmarket.

Among select orchestral pieces from Britten Sinfonia, the highlight of the performance was We Have To Move On, the new piece of music and dance created by the young participants with Sarah Freestone and Tom Hobden, inspired by the refugees’ stories.

Watch a recording of the live performance on YouTube.

We also made an episode of our Tea break series, where our Communications Strategist, Alex Marshall, chats with Hannah Salisbury, from Suffolk Archives, about our partnership project. Their discussion covers how Fritz Ball's memoir first came to light, the amazing opportunities the project opened up for young people in Suffolk, and how cross-cultural collaboration can help bring forgotten stories to life creatively.

You can watch the first episode here then follow through to YouTube to watch the full series.

Our impact

80 young people were involved in devising the new collaborative piece through 30 creative workshops, with 50 young people performing as part of the culminative concert. We demonstrated that storytelling, music and dance are powerful tools through which hidden local heritage can be unlocked and new audiences engaged.

Suffolk Archives were able to create many legacy resources (including films of the performances) that they aim to continue to share and promote for many years to come.

In July 2022, students involved in We Have To Move On won the Dora Love prize, a Holocaust awareness scheme, for creating a geocaching trail around Newmarket, inspired by a free learning resource produced by Suffolk Archives from the research.

You can read more about Suffolk Archives' research into the Fritz Ball story here.

We Have To Move On is produced by Suffolk Archives, Orchestras Live, Britten Sinfonia and the National Horse Racing Museum with support from Arts Council England, Association of Jewish Refugees, Orchestras Live, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Music Education Hub, the Weston Culture Fund, The Ganzoni Trust and The Chivers Trust.

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