Primary Robins end of year report

It has been a wonderful year for Primary Robins. Every week of the school year, 6060 children at fifty schools across the country have had a 30-minute singing lesson at no cost to the schools and this is thanks to the generous support of many trusts, foundations, and individuals. During the year the Robins have learnt a variety of music from Shenandoah to Let’s go fly a Kite, some foreign language songs and the occasional opera aria or chorus.

The children have also learnt some basic music theory including pitch, note values, dynamics, rhythm and harmony.

Thank you for the wonderful experience you have provided for the children this year. They have learnt so much and the development of their musical understanding and vocabulary has been particularly clear as well as their performance and teamwork skills. One particular benefit has been that our school choir is now a massive 55-person operation, and I am sure this is down to the enthusiasm the children now have for singing in unison!” Ruth Nutton-Jones, Deputy Headteacher – Medlock Primary School, Manchester

The Derrill Allatt Foundation has supported Primary Robins since 2014 and this year enabled us to arrange orchestral workshops with the brilliant Berkeley Ensemble at two schools in Essex and two schools in Lewisham. They funded the Summer Concert at our opera house and three Hampshire schools will be performing at The Theatre Royal in Winchester this Autumn.

Orchestral workshop

ABC of Opera

The Surrey Robins have been very busy. In early June six schools had a two-hour workshop with the wonderful baritone Mark Evans from The ABC of Opera,
learning lots of fascinating facts about its history.

Some responses;
“Thank you for coming to Bisley School, all the way from Cardiff! We LOVED you sharing the stories all about ABC Opera. It was so fun, we all enjoyed it. The acting was funny, the songs we learnt were insanely good, the stories were brilliant, and you were both geniuses.”

“We learnt that Luckless Louis invented the baton after injuring his toe with the beating stick trying to keep rhythm…OUCH! Professor Peri was the inventor of Opera, after he wanted to prove people wrong, that you CAN sing, dance and act (the triple threat) at the same time. We even learnt that Opera means work, if you stretch out the word it means operation.”

“Once again THANK YOU SO MUCH! We hope that next Friday will be just as exciting and we can’t wait to see you again. It was an amazing event. YAY!”
Year 4

On 16 June, 400 Primary Robins from local Surrey schools came to the ABC Academy of Barmy Composers at the opera house, where they embarked on a magical journey learning all about the Baroque period.

They met Professor Peri, the inventor of opera, and they learned that Opera is an Italian word meaning work. Professor Peri then introduced Baroque composers including Monteverdi, Handel and Purcell. It was amazing to see the stalls full of Primary Robins all singing, laughing and learning about opera.

I received many emails from the schools after the performance.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and to everyone else involved in making today happen for us.”

“Our children, whose daily lives are a million miles away from the world of opera, all had the most amazing time.” Anita Dexter – Sythwood Primary School

“The children had an amazing time today and were buzzing when they got back. Thank you so much for providing our children with this enriching experience.” Pyrcroft Grange Primary School

The childrens’ thoughts:
“I liked how they combined learning with opera.”
“It was funny and educational learning about composers from the past.”
“It was so colourful, and the curtains were very posh.”
“I loved how interactive it was and joining in with the “We will baroque you” song.”
“Thank you for making this trip happen – it was so so fun, and it was a great experience.”
“The theatre was stunning, and the lights were amazing.”
“I thought the opera was fun and I loved the high-pitched singing.”
“It was the greatest experience I have had in a long time.”
“I can’t believe how loud the opera singers can sing without a microphone.”
“I loved it – the show was terrific.”

A Primary Robin in Tosca

One Surrey Robin was in our production of Tosca, she loved being in the show and she tells me that she will never forget the experience and the confidence that being involved has given her.

Primary Robins Summer Concert

On 7 July, 100 Robins performed a Summer Concert at the opera house – for which the Tristan & Isolde set gave an amazing backdrop.

The Berkeley Ensemble accompanied them and the fabulous soprano Ailish Tynan sang arias by Puccini and Handel. A highlight for the Robins was when The Berkeley Ensemble played the theme tune from Wallace & Gromit – there was a lot of bobbing up and down!

The Robins sang a varied programme including A Spoonful of Sugar, Puff the Magic Dragon, When I’m 64, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

It is an amazing performance opportunity for the children, and it was lovely that so many parents were able to attend.

Annabel Larard – Project Leader