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The Making Music membership magazine | Autumn Issue 2012

Music education hubs We look at how recent changes in music education in England affect the voluntary music sector • PAGE 8

Orchestral manouevres One group’s innovative idea for increasing audience numbers • PAGE 17

Advocacy in action Sir Stephen Bubb highlights the importance of advocacy • PAGE 10

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Opera that moves

by Benjamin Britten

by Peter Maxwell Davies

by Viktor Ullmann


Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House; West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Exeter Northcott; Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells; Harrogate Theatre; Theatre Royal Bath; Snape Maltings Concert Hall; Malvern Theatres; Buxton Opera House. For more information visit or call 020 7833 2555

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Contents & editorial

Contents News

5 News in brief 6 Around the UK Features

8 Music education hubs 10 Advocacy in action From our team

12 Projects 14 Membership 16 Volunteers Members

17 Blow your trumpet 18 Readers’ page If you have any suggestions for articles or you would like to contribute to Highnotes, please contact the Commissioning Editor, Henry Bird on 020 7422 8291 or Copy deadline for the next issue of Highnotes, January 2013, is 12 October 2012 Any views or opinions expressed by external contributors may not necessarily represent those of Making Music Highnotes is the official journal of Making Music, The National Federation of Music Societies, 2-4 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3NW Tel: 020 7422 8280

A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 308632 Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 249219 and in Scotland no. SC038849 If you need us to make any of this information more accessible, please call Making Music on 020 7422 8280 or email

Welcome to this new-look Highnotes! We hope you like the design, and we’d love to hear your comments. As we shiver our way towards the end of another typical UK summer, we find ourselves about to start a new season. The majority of our members’ seasons coincide with the school year, and it’s worth reflecting on the close connections many members have with schools. Although Making Music’s membership is largely based on adult groups, they often work with children, young people and schools in a variety of ways. That involvement is about to get a boost with the introduction of the hub system of music education in England. From September, Music Services are replaced by hubs, which will establish important linkages between schools, young people, and music providers in the community, including amateur groups. This exciting opportunity is being actively pursued and promoted by Making Music, and we are also approaching hub providers to see if they are interested in taking advantage of our services by becoming members themselves. If you haven’t yet found out about hubs I suggest doing so: it’s unlikely any reader of this magazine won’t be affected in some way by the new system. Wishing all the very best for the new season.

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Robin Osterley Chief Executive, Making Music

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in brief Farewell to Karen Cardy This autumn, after nine years, Karen Cardy is stepping down from the Making Music Board

Chairman Peter Lawson, expressing the thoughts of many in the organisation, appreciates Karen as ‘a most engaged and thoughtful member of our trustee body’, adding: ‘She has made an outstanding contribution, using her professional skills to shape our marketing and publicity in new and imaginative ways, and to develop awareness across the whole organisation of the importance of good communication and branding. Notable among her achievements

is the introduction of Making Music’s new logo and branding scheme, and the development of this very magazine.’ ‘Beyond these direct contributions, Karen has been a most warm colleague – always happy to discuss anything at any time. A keen and talented musician herself, she remains dedicated to doing anything which progresses the cause of music making.’ Robin Osterley, Making Music Chief Executive, comments: ‘We’re really going to miss Karen. It is no exaggeration to say that Making Music owes its current look and feel to her. We wish her all the very best as she moves on to new things, and thank her enormously for her dedication, effort and expertise.’

Darren Henley awarded prize for contribution to music education The Classic FM chief is to receive the 2013 Sir Charles Groves Prize The prize, whose previous recipients include Gareth Malone and Sir Colin Davis, is presented by Making Music to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to British music. It has been given to Henley due to the impact he has made on music education. In 2011, he authored a review of music education in England for the government, and many of his recommendations (such as the creation of music education hubs) were put into action in the Department for Education’s National Music Plan. ‘I’m greatly honoured to have been given this award by Making Music,’ Henley commented, ‘and I have the utmost respect for the work they do on behalf of voluntary music-makers of all ages across the UK.’ Henley will be presented with the prize at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert on 7 September at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. To learn more about music education hubs, turn to page 8.

“Effective advocacy can produce real, tangible successes relatively quickly” Sir Stephen Bubb, on the importance of advocacy p10

DCMS reports rise in arts engagement

A new survey has found that more people than ever are participating in the arts, culture and heritage in England. The Taking Part Survey, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in partnership with Arts Council England, Sport England and English Heritage, is looking at arts and heritage engagement. 78 per cent of adults surveyed had engaged in the arts in 2011, a 1.5-point increase on figures from the same survey in 2005/6. The figures also showed significant rises in arts engagement by people aged over 65, and by people from the most deprived 10% of those surveyed. To read the report visit the DCMS website, Passing the brass band baton

The British Federation of Brass Bands ran a spectacular event this summer to mark the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. Brass the Baton, which was awarded the prestigious London 2012 Inspire Mark, was a nationwide relay involving five conductors’ batons, each representing one of the five Olympic rings. These batons travelled to brass bands all over the UK, each carrying with it a specially-composed piece of music by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. To find out more visit

Tweet music An innovative digital composition system has been developed, creating a continuous piece of music based on content from Twitter. Visit to learn more – it’s a fascinating listen!

Autumn 2012




Around the UK South East

Let’s Talk About Fundraising was a well-attended event, enabling members to gain advice on fundraising from a panel of specialists. Speaker Ben Lane from Arts Council England explained how groups could increase their chances of securing funding by demonstrating long-term impact and active engagement with the community. The panel, including key personnel from Brighton Dome and Festival and music charity Rhythmix, shared their experiences and answered questions from the audience. The main message was that there are many sources of funding, from membership and patrons’ schemes, to new ones through Amazon, eBay and Give as you Live, alongside trusts and foundations. One tip was always to remember to thank a funder, ideally by offering them something money can’t buy – maybe attendance at a rehearsal or a workshop by your musical director. southeast

yorkshire & north east

Cycle Song Susan Hollingworth, Musical Director of MM Member Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir, on the premiere of a new opera celebrating a local Scunthorpe hero Cycle Song, by Tim Sutton and Ian McMillan, was given a magnificent performance in Scunthorpe this July, replete with fireworks, amateur dancers and an aerial artist, and involving a community cast of over 1,200 people performing alongside professional artists. Co-produced by Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir and Proper Job Theatre Company, it was commissioned as part of imove, a Yorkshire-based Cultural Olympiad programme aiming to create a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The story centres around Scunthorpe hero Albert ‘Lal’ White, one of the world’s greatest cyclists in the 1920s. A steelworker by day, Lal spent all his free time training and competing. He was a national celebrity and raced in the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920. This sporting event provides the central scene in Cycle Song. Tim Sutton’s wonderful score takes 6


Autumn 2012

inspiration from Ian Mcmillan’s muscular yet witty lyrics about Scunthorpe. The spinning of bicycle spokes inspires the cyclical musical themes; and a song about a steelworks uses the notes F E C – iron (Fe) and carbon (C) being the primary constituents of steel. We received a standing ovation on both nights. In Scunthorpe, opera is no longer a word which implies ‘wobbly ladies singing in Italian’ – it is now seen as an art form accessible to all.


New London Regional Manager Cicely Taylor is looking forward to getting to know London members: ‘I will be developing training courses, networking events and innovation projects to support and champion voluntary music in the capital, as well as keeping in touch via email, visits and my Regional Manager blog. Do get in touch at’

cycle song involved:

• 28 youth choirs • 220 adult singers taken from 11 choirs • 220 instrumentalists, both amateur and professional • 40 amateur dancers • 2 cranes • 1 aerial artist • 1 Olympic torch • Almost 4,000 audience members

Above: Cycle Song, performed in Scunthorpe Right: New London Regional Manager Cicely Taylor




Great news for the recognition of voluntary music’s value to English composers, as member group Rutland Sinfonia’s founder Barry Collett receives the Elgar Society Medal – the society’s highest honour – for his contribution to the wider appreciation of Elgar’s music. Further north, member group Music For Everyone and the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall hosted the open-access Drivetime Choir event, with over 650 people singing with the Hallé. The programme included Mozart’s Requiem and Parry’s I Was Glad.

National Youth Choir of Scotland Well-deserved accolades and a spectacular Making Music Overture performance


National projects translate into grassroots activity, and in the West region we’ve been firing on all cylinders for the Bandstand Marathon, now a matter of days away. Regional manager Stuart Isaac has been building a relationship with the Royal Northern College of Music, where a networking event was held in April, and working with the Birmingham Conservatoire and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to create opportunities for members. Stuart has also been forging links with the jazz and folk fraternities, so if you are in the region and are doing something different, or even differently, then get in touch at

Did you know? 30 of the 37 groups that joined Making Music between April and June classify themselves as performing non-classical or mixed repertoire

South West This December, Making Music will be carolling for charity as part of our partnership with children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. We aim to stage Carols for CLIC concerts across the country, with the South West’s contribution being concerts on, and titled, 12/12/12. We’re looking for choirs in Bournemouth, Bristol and Plymouth to host a 12/12/12 event, and bands to provide accompaniment – get in touch with to take part.

Congratulations to the National Youth Choir of Scotland, which recently won the ensemble category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. The Youth Orchestra of Lanarkshire Guitar and Mandolin Association also achieved top prize at the national competition of the British Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Federation; and Glasgow Wind Band won their third successive Platinum Award at the National Concert Band Festival. There was also a spectacular performance of the Making Music Overture in July as part of Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival and Get Scotland Dancing, supported by Creative Scotland and Glasgow Life. Member group Helensburgh Orchestral Society performed the piece while Dance House Community Company provided choreography. wales

Making Music Conference 2012 Our 2012 conference, at Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on the weekend of 15/16 September, will give all music makers the chance to try something new Informative sessions and an exciting concert beckon at this year’s conference, with three premieres and Paul Mealor himself conducting a new work. Making Music’s partnership organisation in Wales, Ty Cerdd, is contributing to the concert as well as organising some foyer music events. The agreement between Ty Cerdd and Making Music gives those in dual membership 10% off both subscriptions. If you are a member of one and join the other, the discount is 20% for the new membership in the first year. Our

services are complementary, so this is a great deal for members of both organisations. The conference will also see the launch of the new Music Partnership Forum Wales (to include the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, alongside Making Music), which will explore ways of working in partnership to achieve the best for music and musicians in Wales. It’s not too late to book! Go to: www.makingmusicconference Autumn 2012




Music education hubs We look at how recent changes in music education in England affect the voluntary music sector Arts Council England (ACE)

ACE recently announced 122 new music education hubs across England. Louise Cleverdon summarises their aims. Hubs will see a significant shift in the way music education is delivered both in and out of school. They will be expected to form strong partnerships with local authorities, schools, music organisations, practitioners and communities to provide quality music education across the whole country. Susanna Eastburn, Director of Music at ACE, adds: ‘Voluntary music organisations play a vital role in helping to enrich and extend the offer of music provision for children and young people, whether it is young people looking for groups to join or teachers helping students find local orchestras or choirs. Many music services have a long and admirable history of working with voluntary and amateur music organisations in their area. The new network of hubs are well placed to build on this.’ For more information see: Merton Music Foundation (MMF)

Making Music member MMF is one of the new hubs. As a standalone foundation since the 90s, it has effectively been active as a hub for years, as Chief Executive John Mander explains. Merton Music Foundation already has partnerships in place – with community groups, with professional organisations such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and with borough music services. The joined-up approach demanded by the new system is one we fully advocate. We provide a quality musical experience starting with under-fives and all the way into adulthood; we support and develop community groups, helping, for instance, to set up 8


Autumn 2012

Wimbledon Community Chorus and Wimbledon Community Orchestra (both Making Music members); and we strongly believe in collaboration, such as for our tours and our concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. I would suggest to Making Music members that they get in touch with their nearest hub. We’re there to network and empower the community, and in our case have a professional team to support voluntary music, for instance with guidance, and opportunities such as joint concerts. Merton Music Foundation is already established; it’s a question of extending and scaling up everything we do. There are exciting times ahead for all of us, we hope. The Charter School

This secondary school is interested in finding out what the new hub system will mean for its pupils, as Music Subject Leader, Elizabeth Potter Hicks, tells Highnotes. I’m aware of the new hub in Southwark and have had some information from it, but I’m not sure yet what its impact will be. The hubs seem to have happened very quickly and are already going to be in place by September! Southwark Music Services have always been excellent in providing workshops and being supportive, for example with expert staff and with instruments. I’m hoping the hub will mean more such support, more for Southwark Youth Orchestra and other initiatives, more music making opportunities overall for our young people. To find out more, visit hubs-briefing.

“The joinedup approach demanded by the new hub system is one we fully advocate”

Great Choral Works Scored for Reduced Orchestra The Creation by Haydn (9 fewer wind players) The Seasons by Haydn (10 fewer wind players) Elijah by Mendelssohn (10 fewer wind players) Verdi Requiem (12 fewer wind players) Mozart Requiem (2 trumpets, 3 trombones reduced to 1 trumpet, 1 trombone)

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2 A Gallery Carol A Christmas Hymn Angels, from the realms of glory Balulalow How bright the Morning Star does shine O little town of Bethlehem Sunny Bank Carol The holly and the ivy Welcome, Yule! Entry of the Three Kings We wish you a merry Christmas

Carols This wonderful little anthology celebrates the festive music of John Gardner (1917-2011). It includes some of his best-known settings alongside a previously unpublished Epiphany carol. John Gardner Carols showcases an attractive selection in a variety of styles and moods. A number of pieces also give alternative performance instructions for upper-voice choirs.


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Autumn 2012




Advocacy in action Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive of ACEVO, highlights the importance of advocacy Advocacy lies at the heart of the voluntary sector’s role in society, and is driven by the values that distinguish third sector organisations from their counterparts in other sectors. While at times a controversial subject, third-sector advocacy has long played a vital role in holding government to account, raising awareness of key issues, and ensuring that the voice of the marginalised and disadvantaged is heard during the policy-making process. Under UK law, a charity cannot exist solely for a political purpose, such as supporting a political party or seeking to secure a change in policy or law. However, charities have a right – indeed a duty – to pursue their mission of improving the lives of their beneficiaries through every channel available to them. This has always been a part of charities’ historical role, whether campaigning against slavery in the 18th century, or lobbying parliament for laws against animal and child abuse in the 19th century. Many charities serve disadvantaged groups, which

10 HIGHNOTES Autumn 2012

are often under-represented politically. Charity advocacy helps them make their voice heard, and in this sense is best understood as a natural extension of a charity’s duty to carry out its charitable purposes as best it can. Many charities are extremely well-placed to carry out effective advocacy of various kinds. Having an unrivalled understanding of the needs and circumstances of their beneficiaries, they are ideally situated to assess the impact that government policy has on the ground, and communicate this to policy-makers. Additionally, their independence from government and their not-for-profit status means that they hold a higher degree of public trust than the private or public sectors, and can run effective publicfacing campaigns highlighting specific issues of concern. When Barnardo’s highlights the plight of abused children, or Shelter calls for more support for the homeless, they speak from a position of unmatched expertise and authority.

Above: Young Musicians perform at the Music is for Life event at the Royal Albert Hall, March 2011 Photo: Andy Furst


Much voluntary sector advocacy is undertaken by individual charities or groupings of charities with similar interests, and relates to a specific cause or beneficiary group. However, the sector has also shown itself capable of uniting around key issues when required. At such times, representative bodies such as the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and Making Music can play a crucial role in helping to channel and focus the energy of our diverse sector. The recent example of the Chancellor’s plans to cap tax relief on charitable donations (now scrapped) is a case in point. ACEVO and other umbrella bodies helped coordinate a response that united the whole sector in opposition to the plans, which would have had a serious impact on philanthropic giving. Individual charities and philanthropists lobbied the cabinet ministers responsible for their particular fields, while sector representatives had lengthy discussions with the Treasury and made their case via the media. After two or three months of wrangling, the Treasury realised its mistake and granted a full exemption for charitable giving from the cap. This example shows that effective advocacy can produce real, tangible successes relatively quickly. In this case the voluntary sector saved an estimated £500 million per year thanks to its well-coordinated response. So remember to join your sector umbrella body – you never know when you might need it!

some of Making Music’s recent advocacy successes Gift Aid

Thanks to our efforts, along with those of legal expert Nigel Reid, your members’ subscriptions remain eligible for Gift Aid (with the exception of that element that goes towards tuition). In many cases this has saved member groups – and the voluntary music sector at large – a considerable amount of money. Yorkshire Music Library

Making Music played a central role in saving one of the largest collections of printed music in the country when it was threatened with closure. In addition to rallying the support of members in the form of over 2,000 communications to Yorkshire Libraries and Information service, our Chief Executive wrote to over 100 ministers, MPs, MEPs and councillors. This eventually resulted in the collection being moved to Kirklees Council Library Service, managed by social enterprise Fresh Horizons. Music Education

Our Head of Programmes and Development, Evan Dawson, joined a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the forthcoming National Plan for Music Education and ensured the importance of voluntary music groups to music education was reflected in the plan.

Autumn 2012

Over 70% of members we spoke to in a recent survey agreed that at least 30% of Making Music resources should be devoted to advocacy


from our team


Evan Dawson, our Head of Programmes and Development, talks about ...

Special commissions and compositions Our Diamond Jubilee commission from Paul Mealor, Jubilate! Jubilee!, is now ready to be performed The choral piece, funded by the British Council, will be premiered at our conference concert in Cardiff, conducted by Paul Mealor himself, and is now available for performance by member choirs. Keep your eyes on our website, as we’ll be announcing a specific date and time in December, when we hope as many members as possible will perform it at the same time as part of their Christmas concerts. We will also be presenting a leather-bound copy to Her Majesty the Queen. Also still available for performance is British Composer Award-winner Kerry Andrew’s Rhymes and Charms for Fly-Away Things, a commission funded by the Music Publishers Association.

Island Race is a new short choral piece celebrating the Olympics coming to Britain. With words by Robin Simpson, and composed by me and our Chief Executive Robin Osterley, it’s a real team effort. It will be performed at the conference concert and is now available for members to download from our website and perform.

Bandstand Marathon

“We’re so grateful to Making Music for giving us the opportunity to work with William Dougherty through Adopt A Composer and to achieve such a great performance”

Adopt a Composer

Fergus Urquhart, The London Chorus

Run by Superact in partnership with Making Music, the 2012 event will see bandstands around the country come alive with music on 9 September in one of the largest closing events of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Many Making Music members will be involved – some performing, others taking responsibility for programming following training courses run by Making Music over the summer. Find your nearest event at

Following another successful year in 2011/12, this scheme is back for a 12th time. Funded by the PRS Foundation and run in partnership with Sound and Music, the scheme partners emerging composers with Making Music members, enabling a new piece to be composed especially for the group. We had an enormous response to our call for applications for the 2012/13 scheme, and 130 composers and groups applied. To find out how the current pairings are getting on, or if you’re interested in applying, visit

Making Music Overture Our last commission was the Making Music Overture, composed by Orlando Gough with words by John Agard, in anticipation of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It received 30 performances, including the breathtaking premiere at London’s Roundhouse, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 on 4 March. Other groups to have performed it include Truro School of Samba and Sussex Folk Orchestra, as well Helensburgh Orchestral Society (see page 7).

Contacts Evan, Head of Programmes and Development,

12 HIGHNOTES Autumn 2012

Left: Kew Wind Orchestra, one of the current Adopt a Composer groups Photo: Ewan Shears

24 October – 4 November, 2012


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Autumn 2012

25/06/2012 15:31:22 HIGHNOTES 13

from our team


Barbara Eifler, our Head of Membership, talks about ...


Q&A: Gift Aid

HMRC told our treasurer we should collect two payments from members, one for tuition and one for subscription. It doesn’t mention that in your guidance – can you clarify? I rang HMRC and was told unequivocally that our guidance (approved by them) is correct: you do not need to collect two separate payments. If faced with such a request, you might send them Information Sheet no. 22, available for members to download from the website. We can also email or post it to you.

WeGotTickets (WGT) are Making Music’s online ticketing partner, and nearly 200 member groups are already using their services to sell tickets Part of the booking fee is donated to Making Music and over three years this has added up to £2,000, which will be presented by WGT to Making Music at one of our autumn training courses. The funds will be re-invested – appropriately – to create Making Music’s new Audience Development course. Why use an online ticket agency? Easy booking: no need to ring, possibly at a specific time of day, to reserve tickets. Or if a shop or venue sells tickets, a journey would be involved. With WGT, audiences can buy as soon as they learn about your event. Is it expensive? WGT charge a 10% handling fee for tickets below £25 in value and nothing for free events. You can leave the customer to pay the fee or absorb it yourself. What else do they do? There’s a separate webpage for Making Music member events, and an application for Facebook, allowing audiences to click and book. They have expanded their Frequently Asked Questions, made their interface more user friendly, and provided a link to event promotion sites to get your concert into the wider world. For more info, see or contact

35% of groups to have joined between April and June found out about Making Music online

NEW: Find a Musician Is your choir’s bass section in need of reinforcement? Or are you hoping to form a jazz band and need to find other jazz enthusiasts in your area to jam with? Whether you are seeking a pianist for your choir, a violinist for your quartet or a drummer for your band, our new searchable Find a Musician online tool can help you to connect with other musicians in your area. Members, and non-members, just need to register on our website and create their musical profile – so their name will pop up when you seek that elusive bassoonist or tenor. This is a new way for Making Music to help amateur and professional musicians engage with you, and to support your quest for new members. We feel passionately that the more music people make together the healthier and happier we all are. So why not head to findamusician and start connecting with fellow musicians in your area?

We’ve worked out what the tuition element of our members’ subscription is – how do we submit this information to HMRC? You need to work out before you ask your members for payment how much you are charging for tuition and how much for subscription, and you need to keep a record of your calculations. When members pay, they should be clear about which amount they are paying for what, even if they settle it all in one cheque. When reclaiming Gift Aid you will only tell HMRC about the amount that is eligible for Gift Aid, not the whole sum received from your member because you cannot claim Gift Aid on the tuition portion. It is therefore not necessary or desirable to submit the whole calculation to HMRC.

Contacts Cindy, Membership Executive • Barbara, Head of Membership

14 HIGHNOTES Autumn 2012

- Invitation from the Music Director -

NEW FOR LLANGOLLEN 2013 Choir of the World This year the five categories in Choir of The World will be Chamber, Mixed, Male, Female and Youth. Voice of the Future This competition is open to anyone under the age of 35. The prestigious prize of £2000 and a performance opportunity is intended to advance the career of a young soloist. Dance Champions 2013 For the first time the winners of the Choreographed/ Stylized Dance groups and Traditional Dance groups are invited to compete against each other for an additional £1000 prize.

Music Director’s Award This award is given by the Eisteddfod’s Music Director for the best performance of a work by a living composer in the Senior and Junior Children’s Choir Competitions. Non Competitive Performers It is possible to make the most of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod experience by applying to be a non-competitive performer. This will give you an opportunity to showcase your group on stages and venues both on the Festival site and in the surrounding towns and villages of Llangollen. I hope these competitions and opportunities will appeal to you and that you will consider joining us in 2013.

SPECIAL AWARDS Conductor’s Prize A special Trophy and £250 will be awarded to the most inspiring conductor in the Children’s Choir of the World competitions.

Eilir Owen Griffiths, Music Director Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Details and application forms for these and all our other competitions for 2013 are available on our website:

from our team


Peter Stokes, our Head of Volunteering, talks about ...

Valuing volunteers In the last year we have seen high levels of interest in volunteering with Making Music Volunteers are the lifeblood of Making Music, bringing a great deal of experience, energy and motivation to our organisation. At a time when people are finding everincreasing demands on their attention and time, it is vital that we never forget to say thank you to our dedicated volunteers. Most importantly, we mustn’t forget what we’re saying thank you for. To highlight their dedication and hard work, we spoke to two of them about their very different roles.

Above: Volunteers were central to the success of Making Music’s Big Busk event Photo: Bric Photographers

Board Member spotlight

Volunteer spotlight

Role: Chair

Role: Programme Note Administrator

Peter Lawson

Martin Jones

How long have you been on the Board? Three years.

How long have you been volunteering with Making Music? Around six years.

What inspired you to join the Board? I’ve been a musician throughout my life. I used to be a violin player, and have always been a singer. Being a member of the North West London Committee of Making Music (then the NFMS) in the 1980s gave me a taste for how the organisation can help all voluntary music making.

What does your role involve? Looking after the programme note bank on the website – uploading new ones as members send them in, spotting and correcting errors and inconsistencies, sometimes clearing out old ones.

What has been your most rewarding experience with Making Music? It was a privilege to be part of the group that devised Making Music’s current five-year plan. What do you do when you’re not involved in music making? I’m retired from paid work, so have an opportunity now to follow my own interests. I’m a Trustee of Oakham School, and using my business background, I volunteer in other local schools to help students with job applications. If you could invite three people, past or present, to dinner, who would they be? Johann Sebastian Bach, for me the towering figure of the western musical tradition; Benjamin Britten, one of our country’s greatest composers; and Dame Janet Baker – I have never forgotten her performances of Handel opera at Birmingham University in my youth.

What inspired you to volunteer with Making Music? As I’ve always been a keen amateur musician and benefitted from Making Music, on retirement this seemed an opportunity to give something back. What has been your most rewarding experience with Making Music? Today, I put up the 4,000th programme note. When I get to 4,046 I will have done 2,000 since I arrived! What do you do when you’re not volunteering for Making Music? MM Rep and Treasurer for the London Composers’ Forum, playing double bass in the Windsor and Maidenhead Symphony Orchestra, and accompanying Parenthesis Choir. If you could invite three people, past or present, to dinner, who would they be? Professor Brian Cox who started as a rock musician and became a physicist – reflecting my own dilemma (I went for science, too, working for the Met Office); James May, Top Gear presenter, who originally studied music; Charles Ives, the 20th century composer for whom music remained a sideline to his successful insurance agency.

Interested in volunteering for Making Music? Visit

16 HIGHNOTES Autumn 2012


Blow your trumpet Orchestral manouevres Judith Sunderland, Making Music Yorkshire & North East, outlines the inventive way one orchestra has recently overcome financial difficulties Having talked to a number of Making Music members, it is evident that for some groups the current economic climate is affecting their core activity: making music. One group recently facing difficulties was Sheffield Chamber Orchestra. Being a relatively small ensemble, large increases in external costs, together with reducing revenue from declining audiences, were placing an increased burden on member subscriptions. Raising ticket prices risked reducing audience numbers, while raising subscriptions risked losing valuable members, leaving the orchestra

considering what it needed to do if it were to continue to perform concerts. From some early thinking, an idea emerged to improve concert attendance. Why not try an informal approach, with chairs arranged around tables, and with a bar and snacks? Audience members could be allowed to clap between movements and chat to friends and colleagues. They could come early (the bar is open) and stay late (the bar is still open). This was the approach used for a concert in December. While there were some increased costs, the audience was almost capacity. The atmosphere was

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more relaxed and the evening flowed seamlessly, and the orchestra is making plans for another concert using a similar format. Of course, member groups are all different and what may work for one may not necessarily work for another. However, this story illustrates how tackling problems creatively and innovatively can help a group find new ways of operating. We’d love to hear your ideas for finding innovative solutions for overcoming difficulties posed by the current economic climate at

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Autumn 2012



readers’ page This is your page and we’d love to hear from you: Could you be an occasional or even our resident cartoonist? Would your group like to feature in a 60 Second Interview or send in an anonymous column?

Parliament Choir




int Founded by Lord Filkin and conductor Simon Over in 2000, the Parliament Choir rehearses in the crypt of the Palace of Westminster, and regularly performs with the Southbank Sinfonia. Highnotes spoke to its Chair, Lord German

Describe the Parliament Choir in three words. Ambitious, challenging, engaging. Why was it set up, what does it do? Often spending long days in the Houses of Parliament, the choir gives us an opportunity to spend some of that time differently, and for staff and parliamentarians of varying political views to engage with each other in a non-partisan way. A third of our 120 singing members are parliamentarians. We don’t audition; there is open access for all.

Concert etiquette: the teenage view

Mum has been trying to get me to her concerts. She plays cello in this orchestra, and I didn’t ever fancy it, but this time my girlfriend was in it, on the clarinet, so I went. There wasn’t any popcorn or Coke. It was a bit like the cinema, though, because you had to sit down. It started, and when the music finished, I clapped. But these people looked at me in a strange way, so I stopped. Another number happened, and still no clapping, and then after the third one they

all clapped! I wasn’t in the mood by then, I couldn’t even listen properly any more, I was that cross and bothered. The next piece was the one with my girlfriend having a big part. So I got out my camera – nice view, one good thing about no-one jumping about – and snapped her in action: great! Except the adults around me started giving me grief: I wasn’t supposed to do that, the flash was distracting, blah blah. It felt just like school, I wish someone had explained all this stuff, I’m never going to one of those concerts again.

How does the choir fit in with your working life? We can’t hear the division bells in the crypt, so the police tell our choir secretary who informs the MPs or Lords. They vote and return afterwards. Your last concert? 18 April at the Cadogan Hall. We performed our resident composer Simon O’Neill’s Of All Persons and Estates, a setting of the daily prayers said in parliament. What do you do when you’re not singing or at work? I’m President of a charity linking Wales and Lesotho, and of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust. What would be your desert island disc? Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. It was the first piece I played (viola) with the Cardiff Schools Orchestra, and it has remained locked in the back of my mind ever since, always bringing back many memories.

18 HIGHNOTES Autumn 2012

“... the adults around me starting giving me grief ...” Cartoon by Stephanie Ramplin

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photo: Belinda Lawley

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Highnotes, September 2012  

Highnotes is the tri-annual magazine from Making Music, the UK's number one organisation for voluntary music.