Following a successful bid to the Foundation for Youth Music, Hope Valley College worked with High Peak Community Arts on a two year programme inspired by the celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary.
Phase 1 ran from January to May 2009 and worked collaboratively with a grant given by Performing Rights Society Foundation to commission Ornette Clennon in a new composition to celebrate the school’s 50th Anniversary. He worked with the Choir and Big Band to develop a work of three movements, which uses their ideas and allows for key parts to improvise sections of their input. The piece, “Tell me wha’ gwan, blood”, was performed at the National Schools Competition, 3rd April and the school’s 50th Anniversary Concert, 22nd May 2009.
Phase 2 identified a number of pupils from across the school who were interested in learning to lead groups themselves. Initially there was a taster day in June 2009 for anyone interested to find out more about the training. This was followed by three full training days to explore the techniques for leading groups, the creative content to be used and how to address practically the issues of the Code of Practice, promoted by Youth Music. From this training there emerged two lead trainees and up to nine assistant trainees, who formed two teams going out to the Primary Schools of the feeding cluster.
Phase 3 started around Christmas 2009 when the teams ran after school sessions in three primary schools; Edale, Eyam and Great Hucklow. At first they taught songs to the groups and then use tools and activities to generate new music. The trainee teams then took the ideas generated and worked them into a final composition which they took back into the schools to teach for the big performance on 25th May 2010. It was an exciting time for those taking part, and with such a spread of age groups there is real opportunity for the programme to have a lasting legacy at the school.
In tandem with phase 3 there were 4 modules of new activity going on at Hope Valley College. These were designed as open sessions to encourage more of the college’s pupils to access extra curricula music activity at the school. The modules were: Music Production; MCing and lyric writing; West African Drumming and VJing. They joined forces with the primary schools’ teams to perform together on 25th May.
The performance showed the energy of a highly creative project, driven by the young people involved.