Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Newham Welcomes the World @ Stratford Library

Katherine and I were busily putting up a very bright and interesting display today at Stratford Library - you can now head over there to the top floor to look over many of the recent things we've done: posters from Peter and the Wolf, the programme from Carnival, flyers from Pass the Baton, the songbook from the Journery Begins.....almost like a mini NLO museum!

In the coming weeks Stratford Library will also be adding a range of CDs and DVDs of past concerts and projects to their audiovisual library - even better, that section is free of charge so definitely make a trip and have a listen!

We are live!

Very exciting news - you can now talk to us live! Simply add vicky@nlo.co.uk and/or vanessa@nlo.co.uk to your windows messenger and you can ask us any questions you might have, give us your comments on anything we're doing or just drop by and let us know your ideas and general musings!

We'll be here most of the usual office hours (and normally beyond!) and you'll be able to see via our status if we're on the phone or in a meeting or something - if we're out and about you can normally find out where via our facebook profile or right here!

Looking forward to speaking to you soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Training at Cumberland School

This morning five of our musicians were at Cumberland School with the GCSE Dance group, working with them to create their own anthem. There were five NLO musicians working with the class, and so we were able to break off into groups and discuss the class's thoughts on being a team and what words and feelings they associated with dance. Then when we'd brainstormed and put all the words down on the board, Baden (our performance poet working on this project) asked the class to give us a demonstration of their dancing skills. The musicians created the backing music and so began the dance off! Whilst the team seemed reluctant to show us their stuff, Aga seemed the most excited by the music - check out the video of his moves! I left the team at the break, but have been sent the final anthem... you'll have to come along on the 9th June to the Rex to check out the final piece.
Go to www.nlo.co.uk to get your tickets.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Selwyn School - Deaf project

I've just got back from Selwyn School in Newham where we had our last session today with the deaf group.

We've been working with the deaf children at Selwyn for the last couple of years and over that time have introduced them to a whole host of instruments including the harp, bassoon, tuba and today the electric guitar. Our musicians show the children how their instruments work, how the sound is made and then join in with the second part of the session where everyone plays together using percussion and their own bodies to create rhythms.

Orphy, who wasn't in today (he's at Hackney Empire rehearsing for a show, our musicians get everywhere!) has been leading the sessions. Over the last 8 weeks he's got the group thinking about visual scores which can show long and short, loud and quiet sounds, as well as indicating when to play different instruments, or use parts of the body to make noises. From seeing the first and the last sessions, I can see how much the children have all picked up the concept and can now play quite long and complex visual scores, stopping and starting together, which they devise themselves using colours and lines to indicate changes.

As I mentioned, today was the last session, which is a shame as the children are a really great group to work with, always interested and keen to ask questions. They even give everyone sign names, mine is me miming playing the viola, as that's what I do in my spare time! We really hope to be back, funding dependent, as Selwyn are going to be seeing a lot more of NLO players in 2009/10 as we take up residency there, providing the whole school with music as part of the curriculum as well is after school activities.

Thanks to Max who joined us for the first time today and who we hope to involve in our projects in the future. All the children got a go on Max's guitar today, check out the photos!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Carnival at the Circus

Last night saw the New London Orchestra present it's second concert in Newham at the Stratford Circus. The programme featured lots of English dance music including Grainger's Shepherd's Hey and Holst's arrangements of Morris Dance tunes including English Country Gardens. Of course the highlight of the evening was The Carnival of the Animals with the wonderful Murray Melvin reading the poems by Ogden Nash, which went down a storm. Also playing both in the Carnival and also in a fantastic performance of Ravel's La Valse were two students from Trinity College of Music, Matthew McCombie and Yoon-Seok Shin. These guys are incredible, so many notes I could barely keep up, and I was page turning for Yoon which was pretty nerve wracking!

This concert was in a new venue for us, as we explore different options in Stratford to find somewhere that feels right and creates the accessible and friendly atmosphere we want at New London Orchestra concerts. Stratford Circus was a real winner last night. We were getting all the right feedback, including things like "I felt like I could reach out and touch the orchestra" and "really informal" and "so glad it was brought local to our borough." Gary and his staff were absolute stars and really accommodating as this was a first for them having an orchestra come in, so big thanks to everyone at Stratford Circus.
Hugely successful and firmly in our plans for a come back, was the text poll for the audience to choose the encore for the night's concert. After hearing the Carnival of the Animals we offered the choice of three of the most popular as well as a mystery piece. Winning by far though was the Fossils, and once we'd found our pianists (!) we performed it as an encore. However the secret Ron let the audience in on was that the piece that we'd selected as the 'Mystery' option (one of Ron's arrangement of a Purcell piece called Lilliburlero) we couldn't have played, as I had brought the wrong music!!
Ron reminded the audience about our website and this blog, so if you're reading this and you were at the concert, make sure you post a comment to tell us what you thought of the night.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In Training Remix Competition

The first entry has been submitted in the Newham Welcomes The World: In Training 2009 remix competition!

It's totally different to what I was expecting, but seeing all the different ways people interpret music and the interesting ideas people have is one of the most brilliant things about running a competition like this!
Enjoy, and looking forward to many more!