On Friday 23 March some 360 young singers assembled in Leeds Town Hall for an inspiring concert of Art Song and stories as part of Leeds Lieder’s dynamic education programme.
In the morning, the Cool Lieder Project saw 180 children aged 12-14 from 6 Leeds secondary schools come to the Town Hall to perform a fantastic programme of Art Song for an enthusiastic audience. The whole concert was woven together by storyteller, Jo Blake Cave, using material drawn from the workshop sessions and they all joined into one big choir at the finale to give a rousing rendition of Schubert’s Das Wandern. Richard Robbins, tenor, led the singing and Philip Voldman (piano) provided the perfect accompaniment.
Then, in the afternoon, the Town Hall filled with 280 children aged 9-11 from 8 Leeds primary schools who were treated to a concert of Lieder from the last 300 years. Phil Wilcox (baritone), Aimee Toshney (soprano) and Ewan Gilford (piano) performed songs by Schubert, Poulenc, Head and Dove all in their original language. A picture selected for each song was beamed onto a big screen behind the stage and the children were not given written translations of the texts allowing their imaginations to run wild! In what’s becoming a Leeds Lieder Education tradition, this concert also ended with a mass-sing of Schubert’s Das Wandern, but this time with words specially written by each class in the workshop sessions.
Alongside the performances by the school children, students from Leeds College of Music also took to the stage. Alice Dix (soprano) and Digory Price (piano) performed in the Cool Lieder concert; and Alice Levey (soprano) and Christopher Wood (piano) in the Discovering Lieder concert.
Despite the widely published social, personal and educational benefits of having music in schools, in-class singing and music-making is fast becoming a thing of the past. We are so proud to be able to bring a little Lieder into the lives of these children and teachers and thank everyone involved for making this year the best yet!