The Oxford Concert Party now has its' own channel on YouTube which you can visit from here http://www.youtube.com/user/OxfordConcertParty. We have uploaded a new video, "Freedom Calypso", from our project with Music in Detention last year. This is a song with music composed by ARne Richards and words written by the children of Kirklington Primary School. This was a great project where we worked in the morning with the children and then with detainees from the Campsfield Detention Centre in the afternoon. We were able to create a bond between these two groups through music, even though they never met each other.
Through our YouTube channel, you can also see a video made by film maker Sharon Woodward, at Abingdon Resource and Wellbeing Centre, which features ARne Richards and Isabel Knowland talking about their project work at the centre.
If you are a group or a business looking for an event for your community or your employees, why not try our Singing Day? This is a one day activity led by ARne Richards where even people who think they can't sing end up joining in and having a great time! Music is a great way to bring people together and ARne brings all his experience and enthusiasm to making an enjoyable day for all. As ARne says, "Even if you think you can't sing, the very act of coming together with others, making vocal sounds, laughing together, learning music from different cultures, breathing and physically moving all have a remarkably powerful cathartic and therapeutic effect."
You can find more details on the leaflet on our Resources page.
Healing Through Music
If you are looking for an entertaining and informative speaker for your club, we can recommend ARne Richards. With all his experience, ARne can deliver a fascinating and entertaining account of the adventures of a musician working in high security prisons, hospices, immigration centres and with dementia patients.
You can find more details on the leaflet on our Resources page.
Music For Life
On our Winter 2010 news page, we reported that we had run Music for Life workshops around Oxford. These were a series of 1 hour workshops run over 6 weeks in day care centres. Using a starting point such as school, the weather or food, we aimed to generate memories from the group out of which grew stories, poems and songs. We took a number of instruments from all over the world such as African drums, a digeridoo, a Balinese gong, rainsticks, an ocean drum, a Tibetan bowl, a Vietnamese fish and hen, many other percussion instruments, a violin and an accordion, and explored different sounds and rhythms, sang songs and improvised. We were able to work closely with the participants and ensure that no-one was left out of the process. By working over 6 weeks, a sense of trust between the musicians and the clients, as well as between the clients themselves, is built up and small but important improvements can be seen in clients as the project progresses.
We have received some great feedback from the centres in response to our evaluation forms. All the centres considered our musical and artistic quality and the way we worked with the clients excellent. They all also found the project even better than they had expected. We had some project outcomes which we hoped to achieve and the feedback shows that we succeeded in achieving them. The outcomes were:
-Development of social and cultural inclusion
-Enrichment of lives of the participants
-Heightened memory and gentle sensory stimulation
-Encouragement of creativity
The centres felt that the value of projects such as ours were the social and musical stimulation they offered, stimulating memories and "feel good" factors as the music had a very powerful effect on the clients which allowed them to reminisce and improve their moods. Without exception the clients enjoyed themselves. The centres plan to build on this work by having sing-a-longs and taking a theme e.g. flowers, and collecting thoughts from the clients. They can then find CDs of music to tie in with the ideas. Overall, the centres said the project was "all perfect" and one hour always felt much shorter.
We are currently running two more projects and, as we are getting requests from other centres to run them, are fundraising to enable us to run more in 2011.
Oxford Concert Party On MySpace
We are always trying to get as much coverage on the internet as possible and so we have set up a new MySpace page. If you are already on MySpace, do become a Friend with us and keep up to date with news.
We have added a new page to the website, Resources. This has more detailed information about us which you can read or download, such as our accounts and newsletter.
Mary Kinross Charitable Trust
We have just received news that the Mary Kinross Charitable Trust is going to continue to support OCP for another two years. This is a continuation of the 3 years funding they have given previously. This is wonderful news as it means that the post of General Manager is secure and that OCP can continue to develop and grow. Heartfelt thanks to the Mary Kinross Charitable Trust for their belief in us.
Music for the Memory
We are delighted that Buckinghamshire County Council has agreed to fund a project for Age Concern Bucks for the beginning of 2011. OCP will deliver a music project which has two key aims. One is to provide a valuable programme of workshops for day centre clients, which will entertain and help with mental health issues associated with older age. The second aim is to provide training to the day care staff from 6 centres, which will create a cohort of staff who can ensure that music workshops become an integral part of the work of the centres. We have worked with the brilliant team at Age Concern Bucks before and we are really looking to this project.
Music for Life
Wild shouts of laughter, a heated discussion on the merits of steam as opposed to diesel trains, an escaped lion from Kidlington Zoo (now Sainsbury's), impassioned singing, spontaneous dancing, a word-perfect recitation by a 98 year old of a lengthy ballad remembered from childhood, more uninhibited dancing to the sounds of Glenn Miller and a moving, often hilarious group improvisation based on "The Owl And The Pussy Cat". These are just some of the delights emerging from our latest projects with Older People -many with Dementia and Alzheimers - in Oxfordshire this autumn.
Isabel and Arne have delivered these projects in Long Hanborough, Charlbury, Shipton - on - Cherwell and Kidlington. Each project consisted of 6 sessions which is just long enough to establish a rapport with participants and to create some meaningful activities which stem from the memories and lives of those taking part. This also gives us an opportunity to pass on some ideas for further activities for staff to continue with in the future.
As we have said many times before, music is a very powerful way of connecting with Older People, helping them to realise their amazing worth within their own communities - connecting with their skills, knowledge and memories in a reassuring but stimulating and fun way. Many of the participants and staff have commented afterwards that they hadn't realised that they were capable of generating such a wealth of creativity!
We have just completed a short tour in Suffolk, which began with a prison project. Prison projects are always intensive work, but always so very rewarding and we thank everyone at the prison for making the project work. Feedback from the inmates included:
"First time I had heard music like this - gives music a chance - will now listen to classical music on the radio."
"Classical music keeps me calm."
"I thought classical music was just for posh people but it is for everyone."
"Good to mix different types of music, cultures and instruments. Beautiful sounds. It brought the different nationalities of men together which is unusual in prison. It was calming."
"A six month course would be good."
"Usually you see people but don't talk to them, but now we have got to know each other."
We are currently planning 3 more prison projects for next year, thanks to funding from the Joseph Rank Trust and The Patsy Wood Trust.
We went straight from being in prison to playing 3 concerts for schools, where we reached nearly 400 primary school children. The tour ended with a public concert at St Michael's Church in Beccles, as part of the Beccles Festival and our thanks go to John Beauchamp and his team at the festival for setting up all the concerts for us and to everyone who came for making us so welcome. After our visit, John said:
"Please convey my thanks to ARne and all the band for 2 brilliant days. The schools concerts were greatly appreciated by children and staff and the evening was a great success. The band are refreshingly different and brought something very special to the over all festival programme."Our pleasure, John!
Two people sent in photos they took of the concert, James Laws and Roland Blunk and you can see some of their photos here. Thank you for sending them, gents!
Oxford Concert Party on Facebook
We have set up a group page on Facebook in order to extend our profile. If you are already on Facebook, please join our group and share us with your friends and contacts!