Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Half term musings from the Education team

Mon 18 Feb 2013

So much happens in the OAE Education department and as it is just little old me, the only office-based member of the team, I hardly get any time to sit down and blog about what I’ve been up to.  My track record of broken blog promises for Team Comms is horrendous but today, the first day of half term, I have a bit of extra time so I gleefully agreed to actually sit and complete a blog.

I want to tell you about all the wonderful things I’ve been up to this half term.

I’m going to start with my most frequent commitment – String Club – which dominates every Monday afternoon. Every week Nancy Cole (our Graduate Intern) and I head over to a local primary school to join OAE violinists teaching the violin.  One of my favourite moments at String Club, in fact one of my favourite moments since joining the OAE, happened last week when the tutors decided to run a listening session based on the Four Seasons.  Excerpts from Winter and Spring were played by Cathy Ford, Naomi Burrell and Holly Harman and the pupils were enthralled.  It was magic to watch, seeing them watch their tutors completely in awe, as if they were Rock Stars.  Baroque and Roll.

Another thing that happened this half term was my viol debut.  When I joined the OAE, I never imagined that I would be sat in front of a class of 10 year olds with a bass viol, picking out a ground bass for a professional player.  This is exactly the situation I found myself in at a Guardian Newspaper workshop where we invite classes from partner schools to Kings Place to interview an OAE player and write about them in a journalistic style.   I’m particularly proud of the picture description (at the top of this blog).

To report everything else that has been going on in one article would take me into a small novel word count rather than a punchy blog but, to give a bit more information, this half term has included – Early Years work in Camden, live music in nurseries, the OAE Academy where young professional players receive OAE coaching, an amazing schools concert where about 350 pupils came to Kings Place to play with the Orchestra, coaching for youth orchestras and a newly formed early music group, Musicians on Call visits to nursing homes…

So this week I pause briefly to catch my breath but it isn’t really a break; it’s a chance to gear up for next week when we have a pre-concert event, a study day and performance and another schools concert – to name a few things.  Phew.

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Our New Year’s Resolutions

Fri 4 Jan 2013

As 2013 begins to take hold, most people come up with a New Year’s resolution or two, but in reality only 1 in 10 of us will keep at it for the whole year…depressing isn’t it?!

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Current Distractions

Thu 15 Nov 2012

As the last greying pumpkin remains rotting on doorsteps and the firework-burnt lawns of England begin to freeze over, we enter the pre-Christmas limbo period, also known as boredom.  So this week, I, Nancy Cole, am charged with the role of distracting you from the soaring heating bills with a collection of cheerful goings on in the world outside: it’s a nice place really.

Hollywood Costume

The V and A have awakened everyone’s movie curiosity by exhibiting some of the most iconic costumes every created.  From the action of Gladiator, the ‘marvel’ of Spiderman and even the glamour of Atonement and that green dress… This exhibition includes over 100 of the most unforgettable film characters from a century of Hollywood filmmaking and there’s even the chance to see the very shoes worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.


Tis’ the season for facial hair and I’m sure you’ve spotted many suspect tashes circulating the streets. Here’s a glimpse at the most influential and awe inspiring creations to give you and me some inspiration.

Mine Sweeper

This mini-documentary gives a portrait of Afghan designer Massoud Hassani and his incredible Mine Kafon.  During the shooting of the film it was proven that the prototypes work, now Hassani is in the process of finding collaborative partners – technical companies, fundings and governments – to put these life saving deminers into production.  Watch the video to find out exactly how it works.

Pigeon Detectives

Next time you see a pigeon, refrain from the usual cries of disgust and have a closer look…

Whilst rediscovering some post war diaries, historians discovered that British secret services debated the idea of “radio-controlled pigeons“.  Plans were also being made to train pigeons to carry ‘explosives to fly into enemy searchlights.’ Maybe one day?

Nancy Cole, Graduate Intern

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