An important part of Thaxted Festival’s annual season is our work with local schools on education projects. In 2021, despite our shortened season and all the restrictions in place at this time, we were delighted that we could partner with Thaxted Primary School in a project centred around the performance of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals by Covent Garden Sinfonia conducted by Timothy Redmond on Friday 2 July.
During their school lessons, Year 5 pupils listened to all the sections of the work, which depicts various animals, and even some musicians, through different instruments of the orchestra. They discussed which animals might be represented by the instruments and sounds, as well as thinking about pitch, tempo and other components of the music.
On the afternoon of Friday 2 July, all the Year 5 pupils came into Thaxted Church to attend the full orchestral rehearsal of the work. They listened to each of the movements, and conductor Timothy Redmond got them involved in lively discussion of the instruments, sounds and how the style of each piece characterised each animal. Headteacher Michelle Hughes said about the experience: ‘The children really enjoyed it and came back full of enthusiasm for the artwork they are going to do.’ It was also clear that the musicians themselves enjoyed the experience, with the chance to work with a young audience in rehearsal, as well as at the full concert later in the day, after not being able to perform in public since March 2020.
Thaxted Festival is very grateful for the support of Yardley’s Charity and Thaxted Fayre Trust, for this local education project, and to poet Roger McGough for allowing the use of his adaptation of the text for Carnival of the Animals in this project and in the evening performance, which was narrated by broadcaster Zeb Soanes.
Top image: Conductor Timothy Redmond leads the rehearsal of Carnival of the Animals with Thaxted Primary School pupils during our 2021 Festival.
Zentangle art created by Thaxted Primary pupils representing each section of Carnival of the Animals