Live performances, such as the concerts and events at Wiltshire Music Centre, have an energy, a sense of necessity and an intimacy that make them so invigorating and memorable. This is what we reflect on in this newsletter and what brings us together as artists, friends, patrons and team members of the Centre; we are all aware that it is not only the performance itself, but the entirety of the experience which speaks to us.
As we enter the fifth week of this unprecedented period and concert halls and theatres remain closed, we cannot take in or take part in these live performances in person. But it appears to me that there is still performing arts all around us and by us.
There may not be ballet, but we are developing new, strange and complex dance acts as we strive to keep to the two-metre distancing rule in the street - ever polite but firm, calculating relative spaces and timing with the finesse of ballerinas. There are no concerts, but we show our support by Clapping For Our Carers every Thursday at 8pm, a ritual which is becoming more melodic and rich every week with some remarkable additions. Many of us emulate the theatre as we play new, different roles during this time – supporting our closest neighbours, being redeployed in a different department by our employer or volunteering in the local community. Others channel their inner magician or stand-up comedian to move the focus away from stark news and keep those around us cheerful with grace and humour. And nobody can deny that the mental and physical dexterity required to simultaneously participate in virtual meetings, ensure the kids are doing their schoolwork, cook another healthy meal while getting work done is worthy of a circus performer juggling plates!
Whichever performing art you identify with, and just as with the live performances we long to return to, the specialness comes not just from the act. It is the people we experience it with that give it meaning. It is the emotions that we feel that give it immediacy and intensity. And it is the memories – not just those from the past which it brings to mind, but also those which form – that make us who we are.
WMC ARTISTSon the record
Marmen Quartet - thank you!
In 2018 WMC launched a new Young String Quartet Fellowship to support the development of an up and coming quartet with mentoring, performance opportunities and career development, as part of our Young Artist Programme. We are delighted to be working with the remarkable Marmen Quartet through this fellowship for a second year.
Despite not being able to present their upcoming concert with their mentors and WMC Quartet in Residence, the Doric String Quartet, in May, the Marmens continue to show their appreciation for WMC audiences...
It's with great pleasure that we share this video message from violinist Johannes Marmen, explaining what it is that makes performing to a live audience, in person, so special, why their relationship with WMC is so important and offering his thanks on behalf of the quartet for your support.
A message of thanks from Johannes Marmen, The Marmen Quartet
If you had tickets for events taking place at WMC between 14 April and 15 June, you've just a few more days to tell us if you would like to support us by donating your ticket or request a full refund. If we don't hear from you by 27th April, we'll convert the cost of your tickets to credit to be redeemed at another time. Refunds and credits will be processed by the end of May. For more information, please visit our website.
OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY
“Amazing musical moments can continue to be made, no matter where we are"
Adam Loughton, Creative Learning Assistant
On Friday last week 44 young musicians from the West of England Youth Orchestra took to the web to participate in a full day of high intensity orchestral training.
Although in many ways, this virtual Easter course for our young #WEYO musicians was like nothing we have delivered before - utilising conference calling to connect from miles apart and playing along to click tracks - the feeling of coming together to perform, the shared excitement of learning some amazing repertoire, and the quality of support from WEYO tutors was brilliantly familiar.
In all, 44 young people took part in the course, which included masterclasses by London Symphony Orchestra violinist Maxine Kwok-Adams, and professional operatic tenor, Robin Bailey, sectional rehearsals, recording tutorials and a spirited lunchtime quiz! By the end of the day, all of our players had learnt and recorded their parts for themes from popular video games, Pokémon and Skyrim, and now the real fun begins...
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to collate all of these recordings to produce a very special final performance video for our players and to share with you. Stay tuned for the big reveal in early May!
We would like to thank everyone who is supporting us to keep this programme going throughout the crisis: WEYO sponsor, HPH, Wiltshire Music Connect, the Wiltshire Freemasons and the Radcliffe Charitable Trusty, as well as everyone who has supported the project through our Virgin Money Giving page so far - we're almost half way towards our target of £1,400.
For a full rundown on all of the excitement of the Virtual WEYO course, read this uplifting review by Creative Learning Assistant, Adam Loughton.
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 making a one-off donation via the donation link below, or buy a Gift Voucher to redeem when we re-open. We'd also love your support for our team of runners, braving a #VIRTUAL10K in aid of WMC. 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!
From laps of the garden to virtual yoga sessions, our fantastic team of runners have been doing everything to prepare for WMC's Virtual 10K on Sunday 31st May! Their hard work supports our mission to keep the music playing, including providing virtual educational and disability arts projects.
Learn more about members of our wonderful team below, and click on their profiles to help them reach their targets...
CASSIE TAIT - Head of Creative Learning and Community Engagement
"I've never run 10k before. I've just about run 5k...
Joining the WMC creative learning team last year has been brilliant - with regular ensembles, courses, school workshops, family events and more - we are always busy! I want to get fit so I can keep up with the rest of the staff team, who give so much to the centre.
If I get to the end without needing a sit down, I'll be happy!"
"Music was a big part of my early life, and now is for Dylan and Alice who have both performed at the Wiltshire Music Centre in different groups at different times.
Now, more than ever, we need to protect the venues that give everyone access to world-class music, theatre, and other performing arts. Without money coming in from the 'turnstiles' right now, we need to ensure that funds are raised however they can be to give that hope again when venues reopen."
"We need your help more than ever to ensure that we can continue to deliver high-quality ensembles for young musicians, creative opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities, and, close to my own heart, cultural activities to rurally isolated older people across the county.
Every penny counts in this current situation, so please support me to reach my fundraising goal and help bring music to our community by sponsoring me in whatever way you can. THANK YOU!"