Shaldon Festival Outreach 2020

Sadly, following the guidance from the Government and Public Health England, the Shaldon Festival Committee had to cancel the concert season and all Festival outreach planned for June 2020.

Shaldon Festival 2019: Review

This year’s Outreach project was an ambitious one, inspired by the Bath Philharmonia’s programming of the Elgar Cello Concerto. It was led by Jason Thornton and the Bath Philharmonia’s Creative Learning Team. Similar in some ways to their previous project with us in 2014, it set out to work with local students to create a concerto, in this case for violin – beautifully played by Katy Rowe, a member of the orchestra and the team. The project ran over 5 days, and involved students from two schools – Teignmouth Community School and Orchard Manor Special School in Dawlish.

As part of the Festival's mission to engage young people in making and appreciating music, Bath Philharmonia have provided something very special for 40 students aged between thirteen and sixteen years.

From the off on day one, Jason and the team soon had the students engaged, relaxed and having fun. Each day began with warm-up games, often crazy, but involving some rhythmic or other musical element. Then the real hard work began. The TCS students brought their own instruments and were encouraged to devise melodies and rhythms over chord sequences selected from the Elgar concerto. The results were fascinating and increasingly adventurous as the students became more confident. These were gradually linked and structured to make up to two outer movements.

The Orchard Manor students also worked over a chord sequence to devise a nocturne movement, suggesting features of a night sky and improvising with voices and a variety of instruments. The workshop sessions and their final piece were amazing, as was their focus and engagement.

 A fast and playful movement was improvised by TCS using some parameters of the fast movement of the Elgar but using very different instruments – boomwhackers, triangles, vibraslaps and others. A fizzing and fun piece resulted from this.

The final performance, in a lunchtime concert, delighted audiences and thrilled the performers. They were augmented by Shaldon School choir who sang three lovely songs, and OLSP Year 5 violinists who performed 2 songs, swapping deftly between playing their violins and singing.

The whole experience was an extraordinarily exciting and moving one for all involved. We all learnt so much and got to know each other ‘like a family’ as one student put it. 

Special thanks to the multi-talented Creative Learning Team, Jason, Katy, Dylan, Cam and Tom, as well as the totally committed and supportive school staff Patrick Saturley, Nina Jarram, Kip Pratt and Lisa Price.

Many thanks also to our sponsors who made this possible by their generosity; The Helen Foundation, The Arts Society South West *through Teignbridge and District Decorative and Fine Arts Society, Dawlish Town Council and Teignbridge District Council.

Kate Hill-Art June 23rd 2019

Over the course of five days the Bath Philharmonia’s Creative Learning Team, including Musical Director Jason Thornton and Principal Cellist Miriam Lowbury*, will work with pupils from Teignmouth Community School (a mainstream, state funded senior school for boys and girls) and Orchard Manor School (a residential school for students aged 3 – 19 with a variety of specific learning needs) to create a ‘concerto’ from scratch.  Bath Phil will be bringing additional specialist instruments and equipment for the students from Orchard Manor to enable their participation in the workshops.  

The finished work will be performed at a free lunchtime concert in St Peter’s Church, Shaldon at 1pm on Thursday 20 June 2019.  The concert will also include items from pupils of Shaldon Primary School and Our Lady & St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School, and there will be a bucket collection at the end.

*Miriam Lowbury, the principal cellist of the Bath Philharmonia, is playing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the orchestra on Thursday evening. She is also going to be working with the Outreach Team earlier in the week, with young people from local schools. However, on medical advice she is having to restrict herself to playing in the Thursday evening concert only. We are delighted that Katy Rowe, also a member of the orchestra, will be working with the students in her place. This means that the resulting concerto being evolved during the workshops, will be a violin concerto instead of a cello one. We are very grateful to the Bath Phil Team have been able to make this adjustment so quickly.

We are enormously grateful to The Helen FoundationThe Arts Society S.W. AreaDawlish Town and Teignbridge District Councils for supporting this outreach programme.

Shaldon Festival 2018

There were two outreach projects at this year's Festival, both taking place on Thursday 21 June 2018:


VOCES8 conducted a short Vocal workshop based around the ‘VOCES8 Method’ involving students from Teignmouth Community School, Exeter Road. This included rehearsing the song Price Tag by Jessie J which the students then performed on stage with VOCES8 at the start of the second half of their concert that evening.


Four pupils from Chetham's School of Music conducted two workshops at Shaldon Primary School and Teignmouth Community School, Mill Lane.
They also gave a lunchtime concert at the Alice Cross Centre.



This year we were very fortunate to have outreach activities associated with two of our concerts.

The first was the VOCES8 who ran an afternoon workshop for students from Teignmouth Community College. The students had prepared the group’s arrangement of ‘Price Tag’ (Jessie J) and after some lively and enjoyable vocal warm-up exercises, the session moved into rehearsal of ‘Price Tag’. The students had clearly been so well rehearsed, that VOCES8 let them take the main part, both in rehearsal and in the evening performance, much to the delight of both performers and audience. The young people performed with great confidence and enjoyment, and were greatly appreciative of the training they received and the performance opportunity.

The second was a series of three workshops run by Stephen Threlfall and his amazingly talented students from Chetham’s Music School Manchester. They began at Shaldon School where students were treated to demonstrations by the Chetham’s students of their instruments and capabilities. The students were encouraged to ask and answer questions and were engaged in an animated way throughout. Here are some comments from their music teacher Lisa Price: “ Wow, what an amazing opportunity for both our school children and the young musicians who visited. The Chetham’s musicians exuded skill and dynamic technique which our children were able to watch and listen to. As a class of many musicians, they were able to watch the young talented musicians and see the level of ability they could all aspire to. The passion the musicians had for their own instrument and the encouragement they gave each other was beautiful to watch. It was certainly an inspiring workshop. Thank you for organising it. We definitely look forward to many more visits in the future

The students also visited Teignmouth Community School Mill Lane Primary School who were equally delighted: “It was very well received and the children very much enjoyed having this opportunity.  The teacher said it was very interesting and that it caught the attention of all of her pupils”.

Finally, they visited the Alice Cross Centre, where the response was equally glowing from the manager Julia Street: “Thank you very much to you and the festival committee for organising another Chetham’s School of Music outreach with us. It was much appreciated. We hold our weekly memory café for people with dementia on Thursdays, so some of those people with memory issues stayed for the concert and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was lovely to see them so animated and enjoying the musical performances. The standard of music this year was exceptional and we felt privileged to spend a few hours with Stephen, Brenda and their students. We do hope the Shaldon Music Festival will consider us again for an outreach project next year, as this is a really special event we all look forward to.”

We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to reach so widely with our Outreach this year and delighted that it was received so favourably. We trust we are building our future audiences and encouraging the enjoyment of music in the area in this way.

Shaldon Festival 2017  Friday 23rd June


BlissWorkshopWeb3.jpgFollowing their outstandingly successful concert of Latin American music on the opening night of the 2017 Festival, five players from the Julian Bliss Septet led a workshop session with the Teignmouth Community School jazz group the following morning.  

It was a great success and everyone involved was delighted. They started with some simple rhythm clapping, warm-up exercises and introduced some other rhythmic circle work.  After the break the 35 students involved played their own instruments, learning some Latin rhythms, playing harmonies using these rhythms, and then improvising over the top.  The quintet led the way, but quite a few students were brave enough BlissWorkshopWeb8.jpgto try improvising on their own, and even duetted with Julian or one of the other band members.  The workshop ended with a really interesting Q&A session.

The children really loved it, and the jazz musicians said they had had a brilliant time; lovely Festival, great venue, enjoyable workshop and impeccable organisation. They would like to come back.

We are most grateful to the Helen Foundation for supporting this workshop.



Shaldon Festival 2016 Monday 13th


WebphotoChethamsPeterWolf5.jpegWith the support of the Helen Foundation, pupils from Shaldon Primary School and Teignmouth Community School Mill Lane took part in a workshop on Monday 13th June led by the artist Cara Roxanne working in partnership with DAISI, arts inspired learning, to create masks relating to the Peter and the Wolf story.  Ten pupils from each school took part in two performances of the work given by Chetham's School of Music Ensemble on Friday 17th June, animating the story with the help of the masks they created.

Local school children attended the afternoon performance.  In the words of a teacher from Shaldon Pre-School:  "our children were completely mesmerised and spellbound at such a fantastic story so perfectly told through the music.  I don't think I have ever seen our children so engrossed in an event."

The review of the evening concert can be found in the archive section of this website under the Programme Heading.

Photos taken at the concert are shown below.

Pupils participating from Shaldon Primary SchoolWebphotoChethamsPeterWolf4.jpeg

Song Bartlett, Ashleigh Brook-Buchanan, Esther Cook, Louis Cook, Joe Heathcote, Paige Leigh Laing, Mei Lin Porter, Jeannie Scollick, Beth Stephens, Grace Stephens.

Pupils participating from Teignmouth Community School Mill Lane

McKenzie Blackmore, Katelyn Dickenson, Kayleigh Grant, Kelsey Hicken, Finley Lawson-Nelder, Alfie Moffitt, Ellie Noel, Grace Scott, Harvey Smith, Maya Stroud.



Shaldon Festival 2015 Thursday 18th June


VOCES8workshopWeb3.jpgVOCES8 are very keen to promote music education, and have opened their Gresham Centre in London as an international centre for vocal excellence and outreach, believing in the power of music to change lives. The group has developed a set of vocal exercises to enhance children’s musical and overall academic performance. This method, which is currently being used in several schools in Britain, is based on a 2010 study conducted by Professor Sue Hallam, a researcher at the Institute of Education in London.

As part of their visit to Shaldon to give the first of our 4 concerts, VOCES8 ran a workshop for 50 children from Shaldon Primary School and Teignmouth Community College. The children were hooked from the start! As were their teachers and several members of the committee who were in the church at the time!VOCES8workshop8.jpg
The session was based around three aspects of warming up, for the body, the brain and the voice, though all these were intertwined in the exercises the children were asked to do. Paul Smith, baritone and one of the founders of the group, led most of it, but other members were also involved. We all had to make weird sounds, copy what the leader did quickly, whatever it was, stretch, play air guitar, pretend to be robots, and finally sing the chorus of ‘Skyfall’ which the children performed with the group in the evening concert.

VOCES8Skyfall.jpgIt was all fun, and very effective. The children sang with great confidence both in the afternoon and in the evening. They loved the whole experience. One said “It was mega! Everyone should have the chance like I did to learn all those great things.”  They all described their learning as fun, and although some of it was challenging (singing high) they enjoyed that too. They found it nerve-wracking singing on the stage in the concert but also loved it, and how VOCES8 included and welcomed them.

All in all it was a great success, and we hope it has produced some enthusiastic singers for the future!
Kate Hill-Art 22/6/15

Pupils participating from Teignmouth Community School:

Kitten Baxter,  Ellie Bessell, Mollie Bond, Tilly Brady, Lucy Brooks, Mollie Chapman, Ellice Cole, Paige Connelly,  Keeley Cousins, Jessica Edworthy, Harriet Endall, Mary Ford,  Emily Gardener, Holly Gartman, Mike Gill, Maisy Harbert, Daisy Mulford, Kelly Rainbow, Aleisha Ray, Charley Roberts, Amy Webber, Lucy Wellsford, Max Woolnough, Daisy Wright.

Pupls participating from Shaldon Primary School:

Yasmin Barnes, Ryan Bouzayen, Ashlie Buchanan, Louis Cook, JD Cook, Rowan Davies-Cox, Bea Endell, Isabella Harman, Albin Irving, Arthur Kerry, Mei-Lin Porter, Josh Powles, Will Powles, Izzy Price, Gracie Quartly, Sam Ridgway, Lauren Rowbury, Imogen Smith, Sophie Stockham, Tess Walsh, Daisy Yeandle.

Shaldon Festival 2014 Thursday 19th June


What an event.  What an occasion.  The Shaldon Festival was instrumental in bringing together young people from Shaldon, Teignmouth and Dawlish schools in what turned out to be a very special performance of known and highly original music.

Children'sOrchestra.JPGThe opening evening concert of this the 25th Festival included the extremely popular ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan  Williams.  That being so the theme of birds provided lift off for the voices and sounds of a variety of captivating musical performances at a lunch-time informal concert.

The programme began with ExMastra, the children’s orchestra of Teignmouth Local Learning Community conducted by Kip Pratt.  Displaying a high level of concentration and dedication the pupils gave their all beginning with Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. This was followed by a Handel minuet and a Russian folk melody.  The freshness of the playing provided an excellent concert opening.ShaldonChoir.JPG

Shaldon School Choir followed with three bird songs. This choir of some forty voices, conducted by Lisa Price, are becoming well known in the community and they captured the mood and different sound qualities of each of their songs.

BirdConcertoTamsinandJason.JPGNext we were treated to the very first performance of Music of The Birds.  This was an amazing project involving workshops held over four days with Dawlish Community College, Oaklands Park School and Ratcliffe School.  Led by Jason Thornton, Music Director of Bath Philharmonia, it resulted in some incredibably evocative music and sounds of three very different bird environments.  The first part was English pastoral, the second captured the cold of the Arctic and finally we were whisked to the dazzling sounds of a Brazilian Rain Forest.  Again the total concentration and abilities of the players was mesmerising to watch.  Percussion, voices, strings and brass created very clearly these very different habitats.  At times it felt like the background score to an epic film which didn’t need much imagination to fill out the movement of the very different birds and animals.  Fronting this unique composition was the international violinist Tasmin Waley-Cohen.  She had played an active role in the preparation with the children, and it was not difficult to see how both orchestra and soloist had built up a genuine musical respect for each other.

Overall this was a concert to remember and I am sure both audience and performers will take away a very vivid memory of sheer musical delight.

Review by Leon Winston


The children were extremely positive about the whole experience. Here follows a summary of their comments:


Those working on and composing the Bird Concerto loved having an active role and working with professional musicians.  All enjoyed working with children from other schools, meeting them and hearing their musical work. They enjoyed seeing all the different instruments.  They loved playing to a large audience, although it was a little nerve-wracking.


Many said they loved learning how to be part of a much bigger ensemble, and interacting with other musicians. They loved the different instruments involved in their pieces, and then seeing and hearing a professional orchestra.


This was very intensive work and a great deal was achieved in a short time.  The students said that it was sometimes difficult to maintain their concentration and commitment.  Some said it was hard performing and having to stay still all the time.  Being on stage and in long rehearsals was challenging.


The students said they would remember being treated as part of an orchestra, and being part of the final performance.  They felt inspired by the professional musicians and want to be able to play well when older.  They will remember being part of that concert, performing something that they had made up together.

Many of the children I spoke to just responded with single words when I asked how they had found the whole experience – ‘wow’  ‘amazing’  ‘magical’ and ‘inspirational’ are just a few.

The audience feedback was just as positive.  Many said how moving the ‘Bird Concerto’ had been. They also loved seeing and hearing the orchestra and choir performing, and were encouraged to see so many young people making music together in such a memorable way.

Kate Hill-Art   July 2014

We would like to thank the following trusts and organisations
for generously supporting the children's workshop

Music of the Birds:  Creating a Concerto

Dawlish Town Council
Devon County Council Councillor's Fund
The Elmgrant Trust
The Helen Foundation
Teignbridge District Council Councillor’s Fund
Veronica Awdry Charitable Trust

Photos courtesy of Ian Birdsey

Shaldon Festival 2013


NFCollage.jpgWhat an amazing production! Months of hard work by teachers and professional artists working with over 80 young people from 6 Teignbridge schools resulted in a major community production promoted by The Shaldon Festival and supported by The Helen Foundation. 2013 is the centenary of one of Britain's foremost 20th century composers, Benjamin Britten. To mark the occasion, Chetham's School of Music are touring the country performing this opera specially written by Britten for community performance involving lots of young people, many of whom will never have performed publicly before.  It is based on the story of Noah's Flood with words from the 15th century Chester Mystery Plays.

Led by Director Tony Lidington and Musical Director Stephen Threlfall, the performance was truly memorable.  Young people rose magnificently to the musical and dramatic challenges of the opera and many regular Shaldon Festival goers rated it one of the best young people's performances in the 25 year history of the Festival.  Well done everyone - simply brilliant!  Memories of this event will last a lifetime.



Photos courtesy of Ian Birdsey

Shaldon Festival 2012

In the Friday evening concert of the 2012 Festival the accent was on youth with five very talented young musicians from Chetham’s School of Music.  Together with Stephen Threlfall, Director of Music at Chetham’s, they took part in a workshop in the morning with pupils from Shaldon and Inverteign Primary Schools, working with the children in a friendly way that involved everyone and sharing their experiences of making music.

Shaldon Festival 2011

Supported by funding from D’Oyly Carte, The Shaldon Singers, Teignmouth Town Council, The Helen Foundation and the Shaldon Festival itself, English Touring Opera were engaged to run a workshop. ETO had in their touring repertoire Fantastic Mr Fox, a modern opera based on the story of that name by Roald Dahl.  Using this as a source of inspiration, the team of three animateurs from ETO, tenor Nick Merryweather, composer Russell Hepplewhite and choreographer Bernadette Iglich worked over two days with approximately 15 Year 6 children from each of two schools – Shaldon and Inverteign – turning their ideas into their own 20 minute mini-opera called Beyond the Door of the Den.

Beyond_the_Den_web_image.JPGThe ETO team worked with the children in the newly built Shaldon School Hall and the workshop and performance was the first major event to take place in the new hall.  The children clearly enjoyed the whole experience and both Headteachers commented on how much they think the children gained from it.  The performance itself was a delight.  The children created a fox den and features of the forest simply by imaginative use of chairs and gym equipment and used the spaces in and around the set – and entrances and exits through the fire doors in a very active way.

Beyond_the_Den_web_image2.JPGIt was abundantly clear just how much they had achieved in the two days of creating and rehearsing the work, starting with a few simple ideas on the Wednesday morning to a finished work on Thursday afternoon. The focus of the children on their task was truly remarkable.  Their working together showed enthusiasm, creativity, discipline, attention to detail and an awareness of need to tell a strong story.  The story itself involved a den of foxes under attack from farmers and poachers eventually triumphing and outwitting their enemies.  The opera was full of invention, strong choral singing and engaging and catchy melodies that delighted its audience.  The children from the two schools worked very closely together as one group, with no sense of division between them.  It was clear from the children’s own reactions and that of the very appreciative audience how much they had gained from working with the professionals from the ETO.  We are sure they will carry the experience as one of the true highlights of their time at primary school and look with new eyes at the idea of opera that before the project started might have seemed remote from their world.

The afternoon performance concluded with three songs by Shaldon School Choir, a large group of young people who brought their own enthusiasm and freshness to their singing and they insisted on an encore item called Dynamite that had everyone clapping and stamping their feet in appreciation.

Roger Kirk

Shaldon Festival 2010


Jason_Thornton_photo_web.jpgAs well as conducting Bath Philharmonia, Jason Thornton is also a renowned animateur who has considerable expertise in working on musical projects combining children with special needs with mainstream children.  During the 2010 Festival week, Jason directed an exciting and innovative schools music project entitled A Tale of Two Bridges working with pupils from two local Special Needs schools – Oaklands Park School and Ratcliffe School – and Dawlish Community College.  The Festival had worked in partnership with the Helen Foundation and Bath Philharmonia to successfully bid for additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

A Tale of Two Bridges produced a unique musical work inspired by the local Shaldon and Teign estuary environment, taking its inspiration from the fascinating links between the Shaldon Bridge and the quarrying of granite from nearby Dartmoor and the building of London Bridge, which was bought by an American and ended up in Havasu, Arizona where it is now positioned between a residential retirement home and a theme park!

A Tale of Two Bridges is a work in five movements.  The instruments used include: electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard, percussion, violins, woodwind and “Sound Beam” equipment and the human voice.   Students from the three schools composed this piece in 5 days in conjunction with Jason Thornton, two representatives from Bath Phil - Charlie Groves and Julie Payne – and music staff from the three schools. The Dawlish students composed the basic music score on an all day workshop on Sunday 13th June and then built on this throughout the week with Jason and his team adding the work from Ratcliffe and Oaklands School.   

Movement 1    introduces the work combining sounds from the local environment with electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard, percussion and Sound Beam equipment
Movement 2    is a lament as Shaldon Bridge expresses its sense of loss that its London sibling is leaving for America
Movement 3    traces the journey of London Bridge over the sea to America
Movement 4    follows London Bridge as it arrives in the USA and travels across to Arizona
Movement 5    is a celebration of London Bridge’s new home and how at last it 'sings' like its sister.  

The completed work was performed in a lunch time concert in St Peter’s Church on Friday 18th June.  The concert began with two songs from Shaldon School Choir followed by, A Tale of Two Bridges, which lasted approximately 25 minutes.  The work was executed with great power and verve.  Typical American themes and sounds – like the hooting of a steam train – punctuated the piece and it drew widely on musical traditions like folk music, the big band sound, jazz and rock.  The students clearly believed in the value of what they were doing and produced a compelling performance that enthralled the audience and had those fortunate to have heard it talking long afterwards.

Roger Kirk

Shaldon Festival 2009

This year Jan Faulkner, the Wells Cathedral School Outreach Officer, together with four of the young musicians who played in the evening Shaldon Festival Concert, travelled down in advance of the main group to give two workshops to local primary school children in Teignmouth.  Expertly pitched to the different age groups, the morning workshop was with a class of 8 year olds at Inverteign Primary School and in the afternoon a science class of pupils aged 11 at Hazeldown Primary School, during which the mechanics of sound production in the four main woodwind instruments were described and demonstrated, i.e. flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon.

Shaldon Festival 2008


2008_Cello_Workshop_photo_web.jpgOn the Friday, the Festival was pleased to welcome the cellist Guy Johnston, BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2000.  In the afternoon he conducted a workshop with 11 aspiring young cellists, their ages ranging from 5-18.  It was clear they were enjoying this rare opportunity; playing alongside them Guy gave them useful tips and encouragement.  As a bonus they were able to come along in the evening to hear his Recital with the international concert pianist Kathryn Stott.

Shaldon Festival 2007


Stephen_Threlfall_2007_Workshop_photo.jpgStephen Threlfall and four young musicans from Chetham’s School of Music appearing at the Festival that year demonstrate vocal technique to a group of local school children.

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