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... a dedicated group of highly experienced musicians who care about music in schools and want to share their passion with primary school children.
DaCapo Presents… visit school assemblies, special events and concerts. They offer a wide variety of musical styles and are or have been professional musicians with various backgrounds. All have studied music to a high level and played in a variety of professional ensembles. Some have had more than one career!
The main purpose of the visits is to introduce schools to music that may otherwise not be accessed. The live experience is profoundly different to the recorded music that we are all so accustomed to and we hope to help schools find ways of accessing new styles of music that they can explore.
We also leave behind a ‘research project’ for those schools who want to extend the value of the visit and show children how to research the players; their instruments; the composers; and also where to find live performances and recordings of the music that they have been listening to.
As well as introducing live music into your school, DaCapo Presents… players can talk with pupils and give them an insight into the world of music making: what is it like to play in an orchestra? What’s a session musician? What happens in a recording studio? How do musicians earn their living? How did you start to learn the …? Please see an introduction to one of our players below*
DaCapo offer one free visit each year to all the schools that they work with. Other sessions can be booked (there may be limits in the geography of this) by both DaCapo schools and others at a reasonable fee. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this. We look forward to hearing from you!
* Victoria Trotman Barrett: Vicky played oboe with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Royal Ballet Orchestra, Sadler's Wells Ballet, English National Ballet and many West End Shows before training as a solicitor. She now works as an independent legal professional, specialising in protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights for small businesses and the creative industries. Vicky continues to play her oboe to a high level.
The Clarence Quartet is based in St Albans and has performed in St Albans Cathedral and other venues in and around St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. The quartet has worked closely with the DaCapo Music Foundation with the aim of bringing quality music-making to children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to see or hear live performances.
The players have found that the combination of their quartet of flute and strings (violin, viola and cello) works particularly well for performances in schools since it allows children to see both a woodwind instrument as well as the string instruments.
Alison Matthews (flute) attended Chetham’s School of Music and has played with orchestras in London and in Hong Kong where she was principal flautist with the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra. Alison performed regularly with an educational wind ensemble called ‘Wind Bags’ aimed at introducing woodwind instruments to students in schools in Hong Kong. Since moving to St Albans, she has taught flute and specialist classroom music in Hertfordshire junior schools. She has played with the de Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra and Amadeus Chamber Orchestra in St Albans.
Emily Kragh (violin) was a primary school music specialist for many years. She developed her own pre-school music curriculum based on playing percussion and novelty instruments such as frog guiros, ratchets and rainmakers. Emily is a regular member of Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, St Albans Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Chamber Orchestra.
Louise Brecknell (cello) is a member of Amadeus Chamber Orchestra and also plays with Camerata Chamber Orchestra and Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra. Louise helped to establish the Fleetville Festival in St Albans which aims to bring together musicians of all ages and abilities from the local community once a year.
Sarah Weidmann (viola) is a highly experienced chamber musician and plays in many local chamber groups including over 30 years with the Watson quartet. She is also a member of Watford Symphony Orchestra and plays principal viola for the Abbots Langley Orchestra.
The members of the quartet share a passion not only for music but also for cakes. Quartet rehearsals are never complete without a slice of delicious home-made cake, usually made by Emily (violinist) who is chief cake baker for the quartet. Rehearsals are invariably attended by Alison’s or Sarah’s cats who sit patiently in the corner giving the occasional mew, especially if we play out of tune. Above all, the members of the Clarence Quartet are close friends who love exploring the repertoire for flute quartet and introducing music to young people in schools.