An ambitious programme of organ outreach events is taking place later this month at All Saints’ Church in Rothbury.
Each interactive session will include musical and technical demonstrations, as well as singing and movements by the school pupils in attendance, across Years 2 to 8, from Saint-Saëns’ popular Carnival of the Animals.
They will be led by Andrew Cantrill-Fenwick and Richard Wallhead – who will play an organ duet, accompanied by singing children.
Mr Wallhead, who lives in Rothbury and is involved in local music-making, has already been into schools in the area to run poetry activities about animals relating to the Organ Encounters and introduce the song that the participating pupils will be learning for their interactive session at the church.
Following on from these encounters, he will be running a Sunday afternoon organ club from March 3 (2pm to 3pm).
The club will explore a new piece of music each week and everyone will have the chance to play the All Saints’ organ. Other activities, including dance and movement, drama, storytelling, playing handbells and crafting, will be given a fun organ twist.
The outreach project for older children has involved putting in place an electronic organ at King Edward VI School, Morpeth, for two years.
Funding for these initiatives comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund grant that also enabled the pipe organ at the church to be restored and repositioned in 2016.
Mr Cantrill-Fenwick has spent the last 25 years working as an organist in schools, cathedrals and concert halls on three continents.
He said: “The organ is a fascinating instrument, particularly for children, and we will have a big screen in place for each of the encounters to show footage from inside the organ at All Saints. We hope it will be an enjoyable learning experience for the pupils – there are some elements of maths and science involved and the organ is a historic instrument.
“It’s also helpful to have an electronic organ in place at KEVI’s music department because the students will have no issues with getting access to it. I’m providing tuition to a group of students once a fortnight.”
For more information about any of these initiatives, email firstname.lastname@example.org