Epic. All I can say is, epic. This year as part of the Auckland Philharmonia education programme, a new initiative was their 'Bring It Together' day. This was where students from many of their partner schools, and of very different abilities, came together for a few hours to make music alongside APO musicians.
I was asked to write the arrangements and gosh it was hard work. For every instrument in the orchestra there needed to be three tiered parts to cater for the different abilities: beginner (up to grade 2); intermediate (grade 3-5); and advanced (grade 6+); plus a few additions like cornets, saxophones and baritones.
The programme was:
- Ode To Joy by Beethoven
- Happy Happy from Ren and Stimpy
- Tidal Fragments, a collaboration between Auckland schools
- March Slav by Tchaikovsky
The new piece, Tidal Fragments, was the APO's idea to create a piece from musical contributions 'inspired by the sea' from the participating schools. As I received them, seeing the different tempos, styles, keys, time signatures, timbres, etc, I wondered how I was going to bring them together. Eventually I decided to leave them in their existing state, and have an underlying 'seashore' idea which would tie everything together. Here's the programme note:
Tidal Fragments is made up of individual ideas from Auckland schools - all variations on the theme of water. These ideas have been elaborated and kept as very different ideas (even staying in their original keys) as they come and go throughout the piece - as if evoking different creatures in the water, different people coming and going on the coastline, or fishermen and yachtsmen going about their business. Tying all of these fragments together is an underlying ripple of waves on the coast as the tide moves from out to in.
Kind thanks to Mangere College, Rangitoto College, Avondale College, Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, James Cook High School, New Lynn School, Redoubt Normal School and Sancta Maria College for their contributions.
It's hard to know before you hear the first notes whether it'll be a success or a failure, but it all seemed to work tremendously well. Of course many observations to store away for next time, but everyone left with a smile on their face and I hope with their eyes open wider.