Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Trip to the Fen - at last!

On Wednesday 20 May we finally made it out to the Great Fen to do some recording. The weather this time was fantastic - the storm cloud (which Mike C claimed was coming over from somewhere around Bedford) stayed away, and we had beautiful sunshine all evening.

We set off in three groups to record sounds, some of us recording general atmospheric sounds with a stereo mic, and others using a directional mic to pick up individual birds. Highlights included a reed warbler and a flock of geese passing overhead - and Julian pretending to be an owl... Our group had slight navigational problems (where on earth was that hide?!) but still managed to catch lots of birdsong, wind through the reeds - and Julian pretending to be a cuckoo.

We've now got plenty of material for our Soundscape - really looking forward to hearing how it all comes together! Should be able to get some pictures up here soon as well.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Great Fen Concert

Really enjoyed the concert last night - it was great to hear John Woolrich's new piece, Whitel's Ey, as well as all the other nature-inspired music. Whitel's Ey portrayed quite a dark and stormy fen - just what we hope it won't be when we visit next Wednesday!

If you haven't returned your forms yet, make sure that you get them back as soon as possible, so that we can book transport and get planning!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Wrong email addresses!

I've sent you all an email about the project, but a few have bounced back. It's just possible I might have misread your handwriting... ;-) If you haven't had a message from, please email us to let us know the correct address.

Thank you! Have a lovely (and hopefully sunny) bank holiday weekend.

A concert and a walk in the fens

Two exciting opportunities for Soundscape project participants:

Wednesday 6 May The Great Fen Concert
Come to Peterborough Cathedral for an evening of music inspired by the natural world. Last year, composer John Woolrich took a walk in Woodwalton Fen, and the sights and sounds there provided the inspiration for his new piece, Whittel's Ey, which will have its first performance at this concert. Project participants can get in for free - call 01480 388057 to book your tickets, or email

Wednesday 13 May A walk in the fens (with some very big microphones...)
Now that you've learned to use the microphones, we're off to the fens to record some natural sounds for our Soundscape. We will be meeting by the Queen's Park Pavilion in Yaxley at 5pm, where a coach will take us over to the Great Fen area. At this time of day, there should be lots of bird activity, and we'll be there to record it all. We will be returning to Queen's Park Pavilion for 8pm (note later time!), hopefully armed with lots of sounds to inspire our own Great Fen composition.

We will be emailing you a letter for your parents / guardians to sign to give permission for you to come on this trip. There is only a limited number of places available, so make sure you book yours quickly!

Photo (c) Karl Heidel 2009

Project underway!

The Soundscape project got off to a great start on Wednesday. With the weather smiling on us, we set off with microphones and recording equipment to capture the sounds of Yaxley. I'll be posting some of those sounds here soon, but for the meantime, here's a quick taster of what we heard:

- the traffic zooming by on Daimler Avenue (with apologies to anyone driving past who might have mistaken the boom microphones for speed guns!)
- our hands sweeping through the wheat
- our feet walking over grass, concrete, gravel and metal
- a distant argument!
- the sizzle of a barbeque
- a squeaky gate
- and a few birds singing in the dusk.

Back on the Jam Van, we used Amadeus to start to process these sounds, chopping out the most interesting bits and editing them. These will be the starting points for the Soundscape we're going to be writing over the next few weeks.

If you weren't able to come on Wednesday, you can still take part in the project. If you met us at Sawtry and gave us your email address, we'll be emailing you soon with details of forthcoming opportunities; if you haven't met us yet, drop us a line at and we'll see if we can fit you in!

Hope everyone enjoyed the session, and see you again soon!