Our day started with a thought-provoking plenary considering the future of choral music in Europe. Planned in association with the European Choral Association, it was brilliant to have speakers on our panel from across Europe, including Burak Onur Erdem (representing ECA), Peter Broadbent (abcd tutor and respected British choral director), Péter Erdei (Conductor – National Youth Choir of Hungary) and Naomi Bath (ISM’s Senior Research & Policy Officer).
This morning, workshops included a ‘Meet the Choir’ session with the National Youth Choir of Hungary exploring the Hungarian choral music tradition, Paul Spicer‘s ‘Undiscovered Gems’ session with a focus on English choral music, a repertoire session with exhibitor composers and a ‘Meet the Composer’ session with David Bednall.
Two of our European presenters have also been delivering sessions throughout the day. Astrid Vang Pederson delivered an incredible ‘Concert Design’ session considering how we plan our concerts to create a holistic, truly sensory experience. Professor Jim Daus Hjernoe then delivered a dynamic session on ‘The Intelligent Choir’, considering how to develop the conductors and chorister’s musicianship through use of solfege, VOPA (Vocal Painting) and the idea of “Kucheza” (the Swahili word for ‘play’), which advocates incorporating the body/the voice/creativity and fun simultaneously in music making.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to our two Festival Course groups who spent an enjoyable few days working with Amy Bebbington and Julian Wilkins. One of our Festival Course Conductors commented that it had been a “Really enjoyable and a packed agenda from start to end. I can’t remember ever getting so much from a short course!”.
Whilst we said goodbye to the Festival Course, we’ve welcomed our Young Conductors to the Festival! They’ve been working with Lucy Griffiths on a selection of music from OUP’s European Sacred Music, Madrigals & Partsongs and SongStream and in this afternoon’s session they even had some extra singers from one of our Gala Concert’s choir, London Youth Choir!
Our inspiring closing plenary was led by Gareth Malone and Catherine de Sybel who led delegates through their new songbook – Bright Star: Inclusive Songs for Whole Group Singing (published by Hal Leonard). The session focused on how to encourage singing in schools and developing strategies and repertoire for those children who are reticent to start singing. A fantastic session of singing and inspiration to end the day!
We still have our Gala Concert to come, with performances from London Youth Choir and Singing Community of Choir‘s Senior Choir…but for now the abcd team are logging off and getting ready for another exciting day tomorrow!