As you might already know we have recently announced that the WMC will remain closed until 15th June, so we are now re-booking lots of dates, processing box office payments and planning ahead for the moment (hopefully not too far away) when we can resume our regular programme of activity and events.
As we come to terms with this extended period of closure, the reduced 5-person team who are working in the virtual WMC office continue to fly the flag for the whole organisation, and we are doing everything we can to keep in touch, support our visiting artists and groups, and deliver as many projects as we can in the digital world. We have been learning quickly … and thanks to the ingenuity and creativity of some truly remarkable people we were delighted to present our first virtual Zone Club last weekend. The Zone Club is one of WMC’s most inspirational and long-standing projects, and you can read more below about what happened on the day and what it meant to some of the ‘Clubbers’.
With Easter fast approaching we would usually be finalising the arrangements for the West of England Youth Orchestra course and concerts. We weren’t going to let a small matter like a closed venue get in the way of these talented young musicians, so as we speak Adam (in the Creative Learning team) is recording orchestral parts with click tracks and audio cues ahead of a virtual orchestral rehearsal with conductor Tim Redmond on 17th April. The day will include interviews with visiting professionals, sectional coaching, instrumental and vocal recordings, as well as plenty of fun along the way, and the plan is to combine all the individual parts together to make a virtual orchestral recording. We’ll keep you posted about this exciting project over the next few weeks.
We are also staying in touch as much as possible with all our visiting musicians, and trying to provide some support, reassurance and continuity at this challenging time. It is still quite early days in terms of understanding the potential impact of recent events on our ongoing work, but I am driven every day by the principle that when our daily lives do eventually start to get back to normal, we need to make sure that the extraordinary artists, teachers and music leaders who are the life blood of our work are still in a position to share their amazing skills and art with us all.
WMC ARTISTSon the record
Tasmin Little - third time lucky!
We are pleased to announce that Tasmin Little will return to WMC on 4 October for a farewell performance, ahead of her retirement from the concert platform.Tickets on sale summer 2020 – priority booking will apply for 8 April ticket-holders. Save the date!
This will be WMC’s third attempt to present the violin virtuoso’s glittering final concert programme. In conversation with Tasmin about this greatly anticipated performance, she shared with us these thoughts…
What piece are you most looking forward to performing again when your tour recommences?There are many beautiful pieces I’m looking forward to… in recital, one of my favourite pieces to play is Brahms D minor sonata, but I’m also excited to play the piece that John Lenehan wrote, based around the beautiful themes from Swan Lake. We created a 10-minute virtuoso extravaganza called Tchaikovskiana - audiences really enjoy it - and so do we!
Why is Wiltshire Music Centre a special venue to you? I have greatly enjoyed playing for the audience at Wiltshire - they have always been warm and attentive, and I’m so glad that I will be able to return there one more time before I hang up my gowns at the end of the year.
What will you miss most when you retire from the concert platform at the end of the year?I will miss interacting with my audiences - and their laughter at my attempts at jokes when I give my spoken introductions!! I’ll also miss putting together programmes with my pianists. We always enjoy our rehearsal time together, catching up on news and creating beautiful performances together.
How do you stay focussed whilst practising at home?I have always been able to focus on practice, because I feel it’s most important to solve problems, not accumulate hours. I never practice more than is necessary and, once my work is done, I put away my violin.
You’re currently offering online tuition for amateur and professional players. What do you love most about teaching?I love seeing people’s progress - I find it very rewarding and exciting! And I love the look of satisfaction on the student’s face when they solve a problem that they couldn’t tackle before. I like to empower people so that they can learn by themselves - that is ultimately the teacher’s job. To give the student the tools to do it all by themselves in the future.
Despite not being able to perform at WMC this month, CLS audiences needn’t miss out...
You can enjoy their new inclusive online concert series, Comfortable Classical at Home, from your front room every Tuesday and Thursday at 11.30am, live via their Facebook page.
These short concerts are particularly suitable for parents and carers with very young children, young people with sensory impairment conditions and adults and older adults who may be living with dementia, or anyone who would benefit from a ‘relaxed’ approach to concerts. They are also performed live so that audience members can share comments and ask questions. A brilliant opportunity to enjoy the music and get to know CLS musicians, while staying safe at home.
OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY
Virtual Zone Club
“the best Saturday ever” “ace and brilliant”
Zone Club participants
WMC’s monthly creative session for young learning-disabled adults goes ahead as planned
No global pandemic was going to stand in the way of our amazing Zone Clubbers coming together to make music, be creative and socialise as part of their ongoing monthly sessions. So, on Saturday 4 April our Zone Club staff team went online to host the first ever Virtual Zone Club!
Our music leaders met in a Zoom meeting, which was streamed out to the Clubbers via the WMC YouTube channel. Throughout the session, participants shared messages and ideas for lyrics, culminating in the creation of a new song that included rainbows, empty buses and our love for the NHS. Nurturing the spirit of Zone Club, we were connected in a way that was unique and exciting. Plans are coming together for further online Zone Club sessions in the coming months.
“It was slick, funny, resourceful and incredibly inclusive. The format of you all working together to cover every base was genius! Truly inspirational!!”Zone Club parent
WMC Volunteers art at work!
With the Centre currently closed, we are desperately missing our daily doses of volunteer cheer.
Each year 120 volunteers give over 5,700 hours of their time to support our work. We wouldn’t be here without them! We’re delighted to celebrate their creativity and share a little of their magic in our newsletter, starting with this joyful painting and Q&A by volunteer Steve Webster.
What music do you associate with Easter? Bach and Parsifal, especially the Good Friday music
How do you like your eggs in the morning? Boiled
What are you most looking forward to when you return to volunteer at WMC? …the live music and the sense of being part of a team
What music would feature in your 'sunshine soundtrack’? Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4,Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Debussy Images for orchestra
Easter chocolate overload? We have the eggs-tra exercise challenge for you! Set yourself the two-month target of joining our #Virtual10K team in support of WMC on 31 May.
WMC invites you to put your trainers on and run wherever you are to raise money for our charitable activity. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail or on the treadmill, and then submit your effort either by logging your activity through your computer or tracking your run with your phone!
We will provide you with everything you need to set you up and be a part of our online community of runners, including supporters, concert goers, Creative Learning participants, volunteers and staff.
We are extremely grateful for the support and generosity of our Friends and audiences at this extraordinary time.
Concert income normally represents over 40% of our annual income, and the Centre has to raise over £75,000 a year in donations to deliver our Artistic and Community programmes.
We need your help more than ever, so please consider donating your cancelled ticket fee or support us via the donation link belowor buy a Gift Voucher to redeem when we re-open. You can also donate for free when you shop online via Give As You Live. Your support will ensure that we continue to deliver high quality ensembles for young musicians, creative opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities, and cultural activities to rurally isolated older people across the county. Thank you!