For the past academic year, the SCO has been a resident of Preston Street Primary School in Edinburgh. The Orchestra wanted to embed itself in the life and community of a primary school which is ‘round the corner’ from one of our rehearsal and concert venues, the Queen’s Hall. Over the past year we have been exploring how best to make a meaningful and productive connection between a National Performing Arts Company and a local primary school.
The work throughout the year has been both consultative and creative. The Autumn school term was spent getting to know one another, with school pupils attending an SCO rehearsal with Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati and Preston Street staff attending an SCO concert. In school, SCO musicians met classes, some pupils attended the Virgin Money Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks Family Workshops and Concert and the Orchestra provided the music for a school family ceilidh.
The Spring and Summer terms have contained the majority of the work, with workshops taking place in school once a week. The whole school has been working with project leader and composer, Greg Sinclair, and SCO musicians on the same large scale project exploring the stories of Preston Street Primary School. The school has a culturally diverse population from across the world which we were keen to explore through stories and music. Pupils and parents have shared their stories and pupils have been working on creating music for these stories. Activities have included whole class compositions, creating graphic scores, sharing stories across the school, writing songs and drawing musical journey maps.
Everyone's contribution was weaved into a performance celebration of music, drama and dance, reflecting the wonderful diversity and talent within Preston Street Primary School, which took place at the school last Monday.
Images © Kirsten Hunter