Blackheath High School and Invicta Primary Musical Collaboration ‘Song of the Earth’ Cantata

“Amazing” Children’s ‘Song of the Earth’ Cantata

Blackheath High Junior School joined with Invicta Primary School last week to perform a cantata which was the culmination of four months collaborative work. Blackheath High School is a member of the Girls’ Day School Trust which, together with HSBC, sponsored the project involving children aged 8-11. Teachers and children worked together with Lin Marsh, the composer to learn the cantata of eleven songs and performed it to a packed audience in the theatre at Blackheath High.
‘The Song of the Earth’ cantata follows the fairy tale of “The Nightingale” by Hans Christian Andersen about an emperor who prefers the tinkling of a bejewelled mechanical bird to the song of a real nightingale.
Instrumentalists from both schools benefitted from rehearsals led by Ed Scolding from Blackheath Conservatoire, learning parts orchestrated by Ed especially for this performance. The backing track to the song ‘Got the T-shirt’ was mixed and produced by the older children at Invicta, using their iPads.
Ruth Coles, Music Coordinator, Blackheath High Junior School and leader of the project, explained: “The essence of this new project has been to bring children together to sing and perform in a community concert. The benefits of singing for children are widely acknowledged, with evidence to show that it encourages brain and language development. While singing, children develop listening and cooperative skills, coordination of the tongue and lips, gross and fine motor skills through creative movement and keeping the beat, self-control, concentration skills and memory. Singing fosters the growth of the imagination and develops a child’s sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.

Sarah Skevington, Head of Blackheath High Juniors, paid tribute to the effort and determination of all the children and the high standard of music they had achieved; “it was a truly joyful occasion and we are so proud of all who take part.”
Whilst Vicki Cuff, Head of Invicta Primary school added her praise of the organisers at Blackheath High: “It was absolutely brilliant! The whole project was so well organised and your hospitality was very much appreciated by all. The children were buzzing and so proud of their achievement.”

The composer, Lin Marsh, commended the performance: “It was truly brilliant! Their focus, energy and performance were so exciting and accomplished. I was very moved.” Helen Fraser, Girls’ Day School Trust Chief Executive commented on Twitter: “Amazing children’s cantata last night: Song of the Earth by Lin Marsh. Brilliant singing, beautiful music.”

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