Moorside High School

Moorside High School

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Hallé Orchestra: Adopt a Player Scheme

Moorside High School pupils have been given the very privileged honour of working with some professional musicians from the Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra. Over the course of a month, pupils from two Year 7 forms were given the opportunity to attend a Hallé concert at the Bridgewater Hall and then work with a musician over a number of weeks to create their own version of Wagner’s opera, ‘Die Meistersinger’, alongside two classes from local primary schools – The Deans Primary School and St Peter’s CofE Primary School. 

Each class was given a different section of the opera to recreate with their class, Hallé musician and student from the University of Manchester. Our Year 7 classes were given the task of recreating the cobblers theme and the song contest. The pupils worked tirelessly throughout their sessions spent on the project, approximately two hours a week for three weeks. Both classes worked really hard to create two, very different, pieces of music. 

At the end of November, there was a culmination concert at school in the Performance Hall, where friends and families of the participating pupils were invited to watch the performance. This was a wonderful evening, with a seamless, uninterrupted performance from all involved. The school performances were linked together by performances of Wagner’s original music, played by the four Hallé musicians. 

The evening was well attended and was lovely to see so many young people participating with a project like this. I really hope that the pupils took away lots from this experience and that it ignites a new passion inside them to want to continue to create music and experience different styles and genre of music away from the norm. Three Year 7 pupils were asked to share their experiences, which can be read below. 

We received a great surprise, as Helen (our Hallé player) had arrived. She explained to us what kind of music we would be attempting to recreate and play. But, of course, as in every great ‘orchestra’, we needed to decide who was playing what instrument. There were three groups to choose from, strings, keyboards or percussion. 

After choosing our groups, I chose percussion; we worked on small pieces of music. Our practising didn’t make me deaf, so I think that was a good sign! 

To show us what a real orchestra was like, we were taken to the Bridgewater Hall to see the Hallé perform. It was great! Everyone playing looked very dramatic. There was a huge round of applause as they left the grand stage. 

After the inspiration of seeing the Hallé perform, we had a boost and made a vast amount of progress until finally the concert day came. 

"Parents swarmed outside as we prepared to enter the hall. The lights were dimmed as our army of children accessed the stage. With everyone standing, waiting, with our instruments in hand, we descended on to the soft carpet. My beater was shaking in my hand and when it had finished, I let out a sigh of relief. An enormous cheer came from the audience and group by group, we took our bow." Matthew, 7E

At the start of last month, my form was told that we and three other classes from across Salford had been selected to see the Hallé Orchestra perform live at the Bridgewater Hall. Not only that, but we would also be playing in our concert, having created our own piece of music. 

The Hallé concert was an incredible experience. It started when the conductor, Sir Mark Elder, walked in and shook the hand of the lead violinist. They played four pieces of music, all of which sounded astounding. 

The following week, a violinist called Helen came to school and brought a student called Lisa, who also plays the violin. They worked with us for three consecutive Monday’s to create our own piece that told the story of part of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger opera, which was one of the pieces that we had seen the full orchestra perform. We were given the finale of the piece. Our piece was split in to four sections and began with a string section. That led in to a long droning, ostinato section that began with the strings, then the keyboards and finally, my section, the percussion. The next part was a song contest where three groups sang parts of songs together over the top of “7 years” played on the strings and keyboards. The first song was “Man in the Mirror”, then, “If I were a Boy” and finally “It’s everyday bro”. 

"The concert itself went really well I felt and my parents really enjoyed it, 10/10! It was great to see everyone working together. Very innovative.” Ben, 7E 

"Recently, two Year 7 Forms have been chosen to participate with the “Adopt a Player” scheme that is run by the Hallé Orchestra. Each form had a musician from the orchestra to work with to create a piece of music based on one that we saw the Hallé Orchestra perform. Over three weeks, we learnt how to create melodies and rhythms on different instruments, such as piano, drums, guitars, violins and cellos." Maria, 7E