We have been so encouraged by the huge number of donations since launching our £300K Encore Appeal in December. Thanks to our fabulous supporters, we’ve now reached £120,162 in this second quarter. This includes our President, Mr Roger Medwell’s generous contribution of 30p for every £1 raised, making your money go even further.
“Your support has enabled us to start working with young people across the region, especially in tackling the damage done to school singing through Covid. We have so much more to do however and have only just started to address the huge need in the communities we exist to serve.” Christopher Monks, Artistic Director, Armonico Consort
The Encore Appeal is raising vital funds to create choirs in schools in deprived areas, establish Memory Singers choirs for people living with dementia and provide composition and performance sessions for children with special educational needs.
Charitable grants make a real difference to young people in deprived areas
Thanks to grants to our Encore Appeal from charitable trusts and foundations, our busy education team organised a concert of African music at Solihull’s Core Theatre, ran a Choir Creation programme for five schools and trained teachers in choir leadership.
A total of 319 young people in deprived areas of Coventry and Solihull benefitted from understanding musical building blocks and participating in the concert – opportunities not previously available.
Thanks to Africa Performing Arts and Paddy Abraham (the drummer who opened the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham) for such an upbeat programme of songs, drumming and dancing.
Enormous thanks to the following charitable trusts and foundations for making a real difference to the lives of young people:
- John and Julia Egan Charitable Trust
- Janet and Bryan Moore Charitable Trust
- The Britford Bridge Trust
- The Edward Gostling Foundation
- The Norton Foundation
Children involved said…
This has been the best music lesson ever – are you coming back next week? Pupil from St Laurence’s Primary School, Coventry.
“Singing makes me feel calm and happy, like I’m in the right place. I have enjoyed learning songs in a different language.” Pupil from Kingshurst Primary School, Solihull.
A teacher’s view…
“We could never have done something like this by ourselves in school – thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.” Tudor Grange Academy, Solihull.
All schools that have taken part in our Choir Creation programme to date will be invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 2024, providing a once in a lifetime opportunity for young people to experience singing with a professional orchestra and singers in a world-class venue.
The effect of baroque music on awakening memories
The Warwick Memory Singers, our group for people living with dementia, goes from strength to strength, with the number of participants increasing. Music generally has incredible effects on people living with dementia, but interestingly a study conducted in Australia found a significant reduction in agitation and adverse behaviours while ambient Baroque music was being played. It is thought that Baroque music could evoke ‘a consistent and balanced state of mind’ which is beneficial to people living with dementia.
“For many years now, through anecdotal evidence and our own experience, we have witnessed the striking effect of Baroque music on awakening memories of those living with dementia especially when performed alongside more popular and well-known music. Whilst there are already several studies that go further to establish this link, we are going to be working with the Dementia Research Institute to commission a peer review which we believe will establish the link more precisely. Once this is complete, we plan to share the findings and encourage similar professional music organisations in the UK to do a similar thing.” Christopher Monks, Artistic Director, Armonico Consort
At the beginning of each of our Memory Singers sessions we play Baroque music whilst people are arriving, and offer attendees the opportunity to sit back and listen to our professional musicians perform a solo piece from our Baroque repertoire. In May, we were lucky to have Jiafeng Chen play for our Memory Singers. Jiafeng is a violin professor at the Royal College of Music, who at the age of 16 was the winner of the Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who has donated – it means a great deal.
For young people with special educational needs…
First-hand account from Mrs Charlotte Brooks, Senior Leader (Creativity/Mental Health) at Corley Academy in North Warwickshire…
“Last year William and Patrick from Armonico Consort led four workshops at Corley Academy. In the workshops our students developed skills for stagecraft, acting, singing and pantomime. They also had the chance to experiment with instruments in supporting them to develop characters, scripts, and music for the performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Albany Theatre in Coventry.
Our school joined seven other special schools to tell this well-known story.
Students performed with confidence, delivered their lines with clarity and composure. One student commented ‘singing in front of other people was epic because I was nervous. Then I did it and felt proud’.
It was an amazing show and experience for our students, who have had the opportunity of being on stage in a real theatre production, performing to hundreds of people including proud family members.
In my view this can be quite a struggle for our students who have social and communication difficulties and receiving opportunities like this is so important, as it allows our students equal opportunities to experience life at a theatre and to build their self-esteem and confidence in their abilities”.
PLEASE DONATE NOW You can donate safely and securely to The Encore Appeal. Please add Gift Aid if you are able to, as it increases the value of your donation to us at no extra cost to you.
Each £ will help:
- Children in deprived areas– music as part of a choir builds resilience, and supports mental health, cooperation, and academic achievement.
- Those living with dementia in our communities– our Memory Singers work helps to combat isolation, helping to reconnect memory and alleviate anxiety.
- Young people with special educational needs to discover their voices by creating original compositions, which express their ideas, interests and experiences.
This year, Oz & Armonico’s Great Bike Challenge – The Encore Tour, will raise funds for our Memory Singers as part of our Encore Appeal. If you would like to donate to our team of cyclists who will be pedalling 200 miles from Warwick to Wells in Somerset, please see The Encore Bike Tour 2023