Today was the last full day of Summer School. After so much singing, solfa-ing and chatting this week, our voices are showing signs of tiredness. Allan had the perfect warm up for us, working on our vowel sounds and using vocal fry exercises to set us up for the day.


After warm-up, we all headed away to choir for our final rehearsal before our concert. Eva Colomba has been in Michael Spence’s Foundation Choir. She says the choir has been “Fantástico!”  Eva feels this choir has been a great opportunity to summarise and consolidate when she has been doing. She has really appreciated the patient approach from Michael and Chris Andrews, who has been accompanying. She says “the tutors really connected with members and adapted to their needs.”


After a short musicianship session, we had a Musicianship Sharing Session. Every group had presented something from their week’s work, ranging from street call canon’s to Verdi’s Falstaff. Alan Murdock’s group led us all in singing the canon “Neesa”, Pete Churchill’s Jazz Musicianship class serenaded us with a song and Esther’s class shared a Hassidic dance. It was a great testament to the range of styles on offer from the tutors.


Throughout the week, Ben Lawrence has been leading the Early Years sessions. Today, they were sharing picture books and ways to use them in musical sessions. Ben is a big fan of Nick Sherratt books, and demonstrated ideas to use with 'Mrs Pirate' and 'The Foggy Foggy Forest'.



Chris Andrews has been leading sessions on using Art Music in the Kodály classroom, sharing ways to make a wide range of music accessible to pupils in many varied ways! Using music from the well-known classics to film and game music, Chris demonstrated many ideas to incorporate rhythm and pitch exercises in fun ways. 



As well as warming us up every morning and teaching singing lessons, Allan has been running a Vocal Technique class for students of the British Kodály Certificate. Agnieszka Teodorowska has attended online and has enjoyed meeting Allan in person this week. As a child, she sang in very respected choirs in Poland. Sadly, as she grew up she lost the upper part of her register, struggling to sing above an A. Agnieszka says Allan helped her to extend her range by a sixth in the online classes, giving her back her singing voice. She is delighted to be able to continue this work with him at Summer School.

We also have the option of booking individual singing lessons with Florent Isoard. Florent trained with Allan, and everyone who has worked with him this week has been singing his praises! We had to say goodbye to him this evening as he returned to France, but we're looking forward to seeing him at next year's Summer School.


Our evening’s entertainment was a Concert and Ceilidh. The concert saw performances from the Big Choir, Foundation Choir and the Pop Choir. It finished with a surprise performance by Esther and Lázsló performing a canon by Bartók. Lucinda led us in Scottish folk dances in the Ceilidh, ably accompanied by our brilliant folk band, under the leadership of Allan Hubert-Wright. Between our frenetic dancing, we were treated to songs from Scotland and Wales and a performance on cello and piano from Joe Walton and Tim Keasley. Having thoroughly Stripped the Willow, we went back up to Cripps, where the singing continued with songs from Ireland, Ukraine, Poland and the Balkans, with lots of audience participation. The singing continued late into the night in the garden, with delegates sharing in a mix of folk and pop songs. A fitting way to end the last full day of the course: sharing our music.


Helen Blackmore