Kaleidoscope Choir visit Cavendish Hospital

This week the Kaleidoscope Community Choir gave a special performance at the Cavendish Hospital in Buxton. The patients of the Spencer Ward, who suffer from dementia and other mental health problems, were delighted to welcome us into their lounge for a sing song. Led by musical director Carol Bowns, the choir sang some of their favourite songs including Love Me Tender, My Bonnie, and an interesting alternative arrangement of Amazing Grace. The patients and staff of the ward particularly enjoyed hearing the choir’s own special song – Distant Peak – which was written for the choir by one of their own singers Jacob Eckert. Distant Peak is performed with an accompanying slideshow of images of the Peak District, also taken by Jacob. The patients found it particularly moving to see such beautiful photographs of the familiar landscape around the Peak District which emphasis the descriptive power of the words of this special song.  

Lots of research shows that music, and particularly singing, can help people suffering from dementia – reducing anxiety and increasing cognitive ability  We have seen this first hand in our performances on the Spencer Ward. Patients are moved to tears, smiles and laughter by familiar songs. We have also seen patients who struggle with communication come to life during our performances and join in with our songs or give their own performance of a favourite song.

Members of the Kaleidoscope Community Choir would like to thank the staff and patients of the Spencer Ward for inviting us to perform for them – we hope to return very soon.

Claire Barlow Literary & Outreach Manager

Arts Award at Burbage Primary

We can’t believe it’s nearly school half term! Since the beginning of October, we’ve been at Burbage Primary School delivering Arts Award Discover level to Year 4 children.

Arts Award is a portfolio-based qualification provided by Trinity College London and supported by Arts Council England. It gives children and young people the opportunity to learn about the arts, artists and art organisations, and to grow their arts and leadership talents. The structure is similar to that of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards with Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, and additionally Discover and Explore as introductory levels. Young people who attain their Gold level are awarded 35 UCAS points towards a university application. So far, we have been working for eight weeks in primary schools teaching the children about different art forms and introducing them to local artists and organisations. At the end of the eight-week programme the children get a certificate in a celebration assembly.

Our first session at Burbage began with a few warm-ups and games – one being to create an action for our name (mine was a Grease Lightning move). The first session was an introduction to the programme and for us to talk to the children about what art is, and whether they knew of any artists or consider themselves artists; the latter is always an interesting discussion in the first session. It was wonderful to see so many children talk about playing a musical instrument, and such a range too – singing, piano, recorder, guitar and drums to name a few! Some children also talked about having dance lessons, drawing and painting and writing stories. We also talked about other ways the children are artists, such as decorating a cake and how video games and graphics are also art forms. We rounded the session off with a game that I remember from being at primary school – Say Boom Chicka Boom – a call and response game with each round adopting a different voice – quiet, loud, fast, slow and the children came up with some of their own. 

Last week, the children met a local artist and painter and this week, we will be getting messy in the classroom, doing some crafts and painting based on a landmark or image of Buxton. The children will also be meeting other artists and taking part in workshops, including some singing, acting and drama and a visit to the Buxton Opera House! We can’t wait!

Lily Bracegirdle Artists & Engagement Manager | Claire Barlow Literary & Outreach Manager

 

 

Book Weekend favourites

As the Buxton Festival Book Weekend is now less than two months away(!), the Festival team decided to share which events they are looking forward to this year.

“I’m very much looking forward to the Book Weekend this year with the added bonus of having some opera available to attend too! English Touring Opera will be performing one of my favourite operas, The Return of Ulysses by Monteverdi on the opening day of the Weekend this year.  And then on Saturday afternoon one of my favourite speakers, Matthew Parris will be giving us another one of his entertaining talks. I love listening to Matthew’s programme Great Lives on BBC Radio 4 which he delivers brilliantly and it is always a joy to hear him speak at the Festival. A lovely autumnal weekend of culture in a beautiful spa town – what more could you ask for?!” Lee Barnes Administrator

“As a Derbyshire farmer’s daughter who has many memories of being in and driving Land Rovers I am of course looking forward to Ben Fogle’s talk on Friday evening! The Mary Queen of Scots talk will be the first official event in the newly refurbished Pump Room in The Crescent – a little historic event for Buxton and the Festival!” Liz Mackenzie PR & Press Manager

“I first met Helen Keen in 2008 when I reviewed her show It Is Rocket Science at the Buxton Fringe. In it, she managed the unique trick of being engaging, informative, educational and very funny, as she told the history of manned space travel. The show was a hit, not just in Buxton, but wherever it was performed, leading to it being expanded into a series on BBC Radio 4. I was thrilled to see that Helen had her first book out, using the popularity of TV series Game of Thrones as a jumping off point to look at the scientific and historical questions it throws up in her own unique style. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones myself, but I know that won’t matter – looking back on my review of her Buxton debut I wrote: ‘Helen herself has a highly engaging personality and such an obvious enthusiasm that the audience cannot fail to be captivated.’” Robbie Carnegie Marketing & Web Manager

“As a Tudor fanatic, particularly Elizabeth I, I am really interested to hear David Templeman’s talk on the Queen’s Catholic cousin, Mary Stuart (or Mary Queen of Scots). Mary (like Josephine Wilkinson’s talk on Katherine Howard at the 2016 Festival) is largely a misunderstood character who really had a sad and unfortunate personal life. I am also looking forward to William Sitwell’s talk on Lord Woolton who was Minister for Food during WW2. I’m also a Game of Thrones fan (though I’m still on season 3 – need to hurry and catch up!) so I’m interested to hear Helen Keen on Saturday afternoon.” Lily Bracegirdle Artists & Engagement Manager

“I really like the line-up for the Literary Lunch on Sunday. Matthew Dennison who will be talking about the life of Beatrix Potter (it’s also the 150th anniversary of her birth), which is complemented nicely by Marina Warner’s book about fairy tale and Clare Hartwell’s book which looks at the landscape and history of Derbyshire.” Lucy Durack Development Director

“I’m so excited for the book weekend this November as it encompasses all my favourite things – food, heritage, poetry and Derbyshire! I’m particularly looking forward to seeing The Odditorium on Saturday evening, I’ve been listening to David Bramwell’s podcasts (http://www.drbramwell.com/podcasts/) and I can’t wait for him and the other speakers to introduce their wonderfully eccentric characters from history. I’m also looking forward to buying all my Christmas presents early at the Waterstones pop-up shop!” Claire Barlow Literary & Outreach Manager