Britten Sinfonia and its Creative Learning programme are delighted to be involved in The Great Fen project which aims to create a 3,700 hectare wetland between Woodwalton and Holme Fen. With this in mind, our project, called Fen Soundscapes, encourages young people to explore composition based on the natural world and the landscape of the Great Fen area.
We recently accompanied children from Ramsey Spinning Infants School on a visit to the Ramsey Heights Countryside Classroom where Year 2 classes had the fantastic opportunity to spend the day with professional composers Jane Wells and Mike Challis and Britten Sinfonia musicians, recording the sounds they could hear around them in the Fen. This was an interactive day where the children were asked to be as quiet as possible (no mean feat!) and encouraged to listen out for sounds including birds, leaves crunching, reeds rustling and any other wildlife. They even got to make their own sounds using what was around them and particularly enjoyed squelching in the mud! You can listen to some of the sounds they recorded here.
The children have since returned to school to work with Jane and Britten Sinfonia musicians in a series of workshops where they compose their own music. This will ultimately form part of a Soundscape exhibition to be launched later in the year. The children will also have the opportunity to meet composer John Woolrich who has been commissioned by the Great Fen Project and Britten Sinfonia to compose a new piece of music inspired by the landscape, history and wildlife of the Great Fen Project. This will be premiered at the Great Fen Concerts on 6 and 7 May in the majestic settings of Peterborough Cathedral and King’s College Chapel in Cambridge.
The Fen Soundscapes project is a partnership between Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire Young Lives and Britten Sinfonia. It is funded by Youth Music.
Photo © Karl Heidel