Monday, 4 March 2013

A Journey of Endless 'Hello's!

It's been a busy few weeks!! Now everyone has met and worked with Pete and you are sounding pretty awesome! We've only one more of Pete's songs to learn plus Proud and Ain't No Mountain. Then we can use our remaining rehearsal time to get everthing perfect. You can hear the Merton Young Voices rehearsing with Adam - have a listen and see what you think needs improving -  it's always the second part or verse that we have to work at remembering and singing more confidently.

Gary will be our narrator. His parents are from Monserrat and Jamaica and Gary moved from Monserrat to England when he was a child. His work as a musician has taken him all round the world, singing on cruise ships and he has also sung in many West End musicials, including The Lion King. You will be able to meet and talk to him in April, when he and Guillermo join us for the final rehearsal. We will have Dick, a cameraman, filming that day ( 21 April) - can you think of some interesting questions you might like to ask Gary, Guillermo, Pete or any of our guest musicians, like Brenden, our Ullieann piper?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Pete's First Visit - Good Job Guys!

Today was the first chance for Groups A and B to meet Pete Churchill. We had 2 excellent workshops at Stanford and St Teresa's, rehearsing On and On, Where To Now and Ride The Wind. At St Teresa's we looked at the things each class had brought, to take with them on their journey - it was clear that you had discussed your options carefully and made choices which meant a lot to you all.
Remember what Pete said about 'tasting' the words and really using your mouth, so the words become lodged in your 'muscle memory'. Also to add the L / R movements as you learn the song, not afterwards, so the movement becomes part of the song.
We've lots still to learn and we'll need all those fabulous words and phrases of encouragment if we are to achieve our QUEST - to become the best Merton choir EVER to perform at the Royal Albert Hall!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Road Is Definitely My Destiny!

Despite the awful weather, I've continued my epic journey around Merton, with visits to groups at host schools Garfield, Singlegate, Malmesbury, Bond, Stanford, Joseph Hood, Beecholme and Poplar. Some of you now know '8,4,2,1', a great exercise to help keep the pulse steady throughout a performance, especially when the dynamic is loud. Once you get really good at holding the pulse, try it in canon, 8,4 and 2 beats apart. Below Singlegate, Merton Abbey and Dundonald 'hold it for the camera'!
Pupils who came to Garfield and Malmesbury made fascinating wallpaper 'roads' using cutout footprints which suggested how our travellers may have begun their journeys. They also added lots of helpful words and phrases of encouragement for me to take with me in my backpack.
Here are my special objects, the ones I grabbed quickly, as I tried to imagine how dreadful it must be to have to leave home and loved ones with only moments to spare. What would you take? Which object will your class vote to bring to next week's workshop? Adam and Phil really enjoyed their sessions with you - you'll see and hear them as they will perform with us at the RAH in April...I can't wait to get there!!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Journey Continues...

This morning I began the next round of Journey workshops, with pupils from Garfield, The Priory and Holy Trinity. We added a lower harmony to 'Turn Me Around', revised 'On and On' and began 'Where To Now'. We also worked on the pulse exercise '8,4,2,1' to help keep the tempo steady. The children came up with many supportive words to help me on my journey including courage, strength and determination and we laid out our path of footprints, to guide us on our way.I chose some very special things to take on my journey - what might you choose, if you only had a few minutes to think and pack? For our performance, a wonderful musician, Guillermo Rozenthuler, will play the role of 'The Traveller'. Guillermo was born in Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city of Argentina, and moved to London in 2000. He is passionate about music and puts his heart and soul into everything he does.
Guillermo travels all over the country and round the world - he is a famous expert in singing tango music! What can you find out about Tango, or Buenos Aires?
Here is Guillermo singing in the first ever performance of The Journey at the RAH in 2009. I know he is looking forward to meeting you all in April.

Monday, 14 January 2013

On and on we go ......

Take a look at this

It makes you think doesn't it? Looks like many of the people in the slides were on a very long journey. I have a favour to ask you. I would like you to draw around your foot and cut out your footprint to bring along to our next rehearsal. .
Looking forward to seeing you soon! You can have a look at all the resources for our project by clicking on the link below Merton Music Foundation

Friday, 7 December 2012


Well, what can I say? The past four weeks have taken me all around Merton, to 20 Primary schools who are participating in The Journey project. Yesterday was my last visit, to School 20 - The Priory! When I arrived the children in Y5 welcomed me back to my old room, where I had taught music for nearly 9 years.

They sang very strongly, with a great sound but would I achieve my quest?..Fortunately I got plenty of T reminders and ...( drum roll 1) 11.15am...(drum roll 2)...I finished Cup No 20 and IT WAS STILL HOT!

So, now you must all watch and listen to Pete's DVD ( remember, he's our fabulous Journey composer who is also just a bit bonkers). Here he is, hard at work writing music for us.

Home Straight, Here I Come!

This is the last week of my quest to drink a HOT cup of tea at all 20 Primary schools partcipating in The Journey Project. On Monday children at Singlegate looked after me very well.

On Tuesday I made new friends at Garfield, in particular Billy Beaver, who had come all the way from CANADA to take part in our workshop! He's a good singer too (although his big beaver tail is a bit awkward when we 'move to the groove').

Then on (and on!) to Merton Abbey and Holy Trinity. We talked about how clever nature is, to make our skin darker or lighter and more suitable to cope with different kinds of weather.

In our Merton schools we are lucky to have the world in one room, with families from many different countries and cultures.