Sound the Trumpets in Somerset schools

THE Onyx Brass Quintet will be spending time in Somerset in the coming weeks, working with a number of schools around the Frome area.

They are the guests of Jackdaws Music Education Trust, based at Great Elm, and will be leading the Sound the Trumpets project, which has its finale at the Cheese and Grain on Tuesday 20th March.

Jackdaws has designated 2018 Year of Brass, and during Febru­ary and March the quintet will be visiting schools across Somerset to work on the project, giving children first hand experience of making music alongside a world class ensemble.

The visiting musicians will work with 15 schools across the county before pupils from each school come together in Frome to perform with Onyx in the grand finale concert.

Each school visit will start with a 45-minute interactive performance for the whole school. This is designed to inspire the children and demonstrate how wonderful and exciting the instruments are.

The Year of Brass coincides with landmark years for both Jackdaws and the Onyx Brass Quintet. Both celebrate their 25th anniversaries in 2018. To commemorate the occasion, Jackdaws has launched a challenge to participating schools to compose a Birthday Fanfare.

The schools taking part will be able to play their fanfare to Onyx at the final concert at the Cheese and Grain,  starting at 5.30pm.

In the five years since Jackdaws launched its Year of … project, thousands of children and young people have been involved. Adding the performances and workshops including teachers, as well as parents, siblings and performers at each of the five Grand Finale performances, that number rises to well over 30,000 people taking part so far.

The annual grand finale concert brings hundreds of pupils from all the participating schools to perform en masse with international musicians of the highest standing.

Jackdaws artistic director Saffron van Zwanenberg created “The Year of …”  project in 2013 in response to a reduction in the number of children learning to play instruments and to add a developmental enhancement to the flagship Whole Class Ensemble Teaching programme promoted by the National Plan for Music Education.

It has become a key project in Jackdaws’ education output, supporting the organisation’s aim to enable creative expression by bringing music to life in an accessible, inclusive and inspirational way.

Saffron says: “Inspiration is usually the spark that lights the fire, so if we want more children to start learning instruments and continue to a good level of proficiency, then access to the best performers in the world is the way forward. When children meet and see amazing musicians doing remarkable things with instruments, playing wonderful repertoire, that spark is ignited or an already burning flame is fanned.

“If we want orchestras in the future and audiences for chamber music and orchestral works, this first step is vital.

“It has been our privilege to work with such brilliant artists, who are not only masters in their fields but also as passionate about this as we are.”

To find out more, telephone 01373 812383 or visit the Jackdaws website,