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Oct 18
2013

Primary Robins - Mengham, Tanners Brook & Sharps Copse schools

Posted by Mengham, Tanners Brook & Sharps Copse schools on 18 October 2013

"It really cheers me up!"

Read comments from the children and teachers at Mengham, Tanners Brook & Sharps Copse Schools

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Oct 18
2013

Primary Robins - Redbridge School - children's comments

Posted by Redbridge School on 18 October 2013

"The best thing ever!"

Read comments from the children in years 3, 4, 5 & 6 at Redbridge School

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Oct 04
2013

Primary Robins - Week Four

Posted by Annabel Larard on 4 October 2013

Week 4 - The Hippopotamus Song

We began by giving ourselves a hug and then taking a deep breath - the air has to go into your tummy as your chest is held in the hug. This really helped the children with the "back to front" breathing.

The Hippopotamus Song (Mud, mud, glorious mud!) proved to be a hit, particularly with one little boy who has learning difficulties. Whilst he was singing, his eyes were so bright and his smile was enormous.

One girl commented how each song made her feel different - Food, Glorious Food made her feel hungry while Edelweiss made her feel sleepy.

At Sharps Copse Primary School, one of the teachers told me how excited the children were on a Tuesday morning knowing it was singing later in the day. When two girls in her class sang a duet, she had tears in her eyes and told them how proud she was.

We arrived at Redbridge School on Thursday morning with our fantastic new keyboard. Although it is fairly portable, so that we can take it from classroom to classroom, it makes a fabulous sound - so much louder and richer than the one we had been using. David almost makes it sound like an orchestra. The children thought it was great.

In Yellow class, when David showed the children how not to sing high notes, they collapsed giggling. Several commented on how he sounded just like Mr Bean!

One boy told us how the musical notes above the word 'follow' looked just like a smiley face. I shall never look at a dotted crotchet tied to a crotchet in the same way again.

Another boy told us how he kept getting muddled and singing 'glorious food' instead of 'glorious mud'.

In one of the more challenging classes, when David told them we had run out of time, there were cries of "Please sir, can we have some more".

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Sep 27
2013

Primary Robins - Week Three

Posted by Annabel Larard on 27 September 2013

We hissed like snakes, to feel our diaphragms working, and sang 
the days of the week backwards to a major scale. 
As "Food Glorious Food" has lots of difficult intervals, 
we spent quite a bit of time looking at pitch.
 
When David asked if anyone knew who wrote the novel Oliver Twist, 
there were many suggestions. These included Michael Morpurgo, 
J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. One little girl was convinced it 
was written by Chicken Dials!
One boy commented that his Granny hated Charles Dickens because 
his books were so long.
 
Another boy volunteered to sing a solo. His class teacher told me 
later that that was completely unexpected, as he is painfully shy.
 
There followed lots of talk about gruel and saveloys, which 
apparently, with curry sauce, can be "lush".
 
One of the cheekiest boys in a Year 4 class sang in a small 
group - and it was lovely to hear his clear, pure  bell-like 
voice. He looked as though he couldn't quite believe that the 
sound was coming from him.
 
It was amazing to hear that after three weeks and, I am told, 
some practice at home and in breaks, the children in all 
fourteen classes are making a stronger, more tuneful and 
confident sound. They are even singing some of the songs 
from memory.

We hissed like snakes, to feel our diaphragms working, and sang the days of the week backwards to a major scale.  As "Food Glorious Food" has lots of difficult intervals, we spent quite a bit of time looking at pitch.

When David asked if anyone knew who wrote the novel Oliver Twist, there were many suggestions. These included Michael Morpurgo, J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. One little girl was convinced it was written by Chicken Dials!  One boy commented that his Granny hated Charles Dickens because his books were so long.

Another boy volunteered to sing a solo. His class teacher told me later that that was completely unexpected, as he is painfully shy.

There followed lots of talk about gruel and saveloys, which apparently, with curry sauce, can be "lush".

One of the cheekiest boys in a Year 4 class sang in a small group - and it was lovely to hear his clear, pure bell-like voice. He looked as though he couldn't quite believe that the sound was coming from him.

It was amazing to hear that after three weeks and, I am told, some practice at home and in breaks, the children in all fourteen classes are making a stronger, more tuneful and confident sound. They are even singing some of the songs from memory.

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Sep 20
2013

Primary Robins - Week Two

Posted by Annabel Larard on 20 September 2013

On Tuesday morning at Mengham, there was lots of excitement and clapping as we sang The Muffin Man and a discussion about the relative virtues of the American muffin and the English muffin followed.

One boy came up to me on his way out and said, "Annabel, I am a bit scared because I am a boy and I am really enjoying this!"

This was quickly followed by another asking which day singing was next week, so that he could make sure he was off sick!

In the last class of the morning, David asked a little girl if she would like to sing a solo - she bravely stood up and gave a beautiful rendition of Edelweiss. Her teacher and class mates looked amazed - it was a true goose-bump moment.

As David and I were packing up, a head popped round the door.  The same little boy who had been so negative earlier said, "I've changed my mind, I won't be sick next week".

At Sharps Copse the children did plenty of dancing and some fabulous singing. Their teacher commented on how they were already sounding more confident - and they are.

At Redbridge - again, lots of enthusiasm. The boy who really did not want to sing or even hold his songbook last week, began to slowly join in with The Muffin Man.

At Tanners Brook, a little girl put her hand up and told us how her "Gran knew Edelweiss, that they sang it together and it was lovely."

There are still lots who are less keen to take part, but it seems already to be making a difference to some.

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Sep 13
2013

Primary Robins - Week One

Posted by Annabel Larard on 13 September 2013

It has been a truly wonderful first week. On Tuesday morning we began at Mengham Junior School on Hayling Island. There, we had two classes with age 8/9 (20 children in each class) and then two classes of age 10/11 (26 children in each).

They were all very enthusiastic and, surprisingly, it was the two most rowdy boys that contributed most to the class - from clapping out the rhythm of their heart beats, to breathing in a way that they called 'back to front'.The girls had fun trying to out sing the boys and vice versa.

At Sharps Copse, Portsmouth, we had 3 classes of 25, age 7-9. They were thrilled by the songbook, that has been so cleverly designed by Rebecca Thomas. They seemed astonished that they could keep the book!. By the end of the 30 minute session they were singing Edelweiss from memory.

On Thursday morning we visited Redbridge School, Southampton. Each of the four classes had 30 children. The first group was Orange Class year 5 (aged 9 ) and it was here that we first encountered a little boy who was determined not to sing.  He was so set on non-participation that he did not even want to hold his songbook and it will be wonderful to see if, as the weeks go by, he begins to take part and join in with his classmates. In Yellow Class, when asked what the children thought Opera might be, a young boy said "it involves lots of trumpets"!

"Primary Robins was very well received both by children and staff alike. They were all enthralled by Annabel's wonderful singing. On playground duty today, I was delighted to see a number of Y6 boys singing from their songbooks on the bench and asking me to listen to their renditions, which were delightfully tuneful!" -Yvonne Taylor, Music Coordinator, Redbridge School

At Tanners Brook School, Southampton we were singing with three classes of 30 age 9/10. In one of the classes, there were four deaf children so David and I had to wear special devices in order that they could hear us. In another class, the children asked lots of interesting questions, including; "How does an opera singer break a glass?" and "What happens to your voice box when you lose your voice?" In another, there were again some children who were determinedly not interested and refused to sing.

"The children were mesmerised by Annabel's beautiful singing and thoroughly enjoyed taking part, it was lovely to hear them singing so enthusiastically. It's great that they are getting to do something so different to the usual timetable!" – Charlotte O'Keefe, Y5 Coordinator, Tanners Brook School

At the end of each session it was very moving to hear the class singing out, standing tall and enjoying themselves and thrilling to hear the odd "that was cool" or "I had fun". I did too and I can't wait to go back next week!

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Aug 07
2013

Friends of Erlestoke Prison welcomes a Royal Patron

Posted by Pimlico Opera on 7 August 2013

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall first visited the prison to see Pimlico Opera's production of Les Misérables in March 2012.

The Duchess will be the Royal Patron of The Friends of Erlestoke for five years. Read more

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Jul 23
2013

2014 Pimlico Opera in prison

Posted by Pimlico Opera on 23 July 2013

Dates for the 2014 Pimlico Opera prison production at HMP Bronzefield...

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Apr 05
2013

A letter from a participant's mother

Posted by Pimlico Opera on 5 April 2013

Read this letter from the mother of one of the prisoners...

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Mar 31
2013

2013 Noticeboard

Posted by Pimlico Opera on 31 March 2013

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Read what the men of Erlestoke, Pimlico participants, and the public thought of the 2012 production of Les Misérables at HMP Erlestoke

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