With the start of the new school year, over 1,000 pupils each week will now be benefiting from Opera North’s award-winning In Harmony community residency as the Company introduces the project into a third primary school in South Leeds.
In Harmony was created with the aim of enriching lives, improving social well-being and engaging the next generation through community-based music-making and professional instrumental tuition. New Bewerley Community School in Beeston joins the two existing participants: Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle, who have been with the project since its launch in 2013, and Low Road Primary School in Hunslet.
New Bewerley Community School last worked with Opera North in 2015 when they devised their own mini operas based on Donizetti’s Elixir of Love. The In Harmony Opera North residency will build on this partnership, placing music at the very heart of the curriculum and giving every child the chance to learn to sing and to play a musical instrument. The focus initially will be on Early Years and Key Stage One pupils culminating in a performance with the brass section from the Orchestra of Opera North in December. In the new year, the project will widen to include the remaining students, with the whole school taking part in a concert at Leeds Town Hall next summer.
Gary German, Headteacher at New Bewerley Community School, said:
“We are really looking forward to welcoming Opera North’s In Harmony team to the school. The enthusiasm shown by our Year 5 pupils when we worked with Opera North before was remarkable. Even those who thought opera wasn’t for them were converted by the end. Seeing the success of that project made us really keen to become an In Harmony school thereby enabling all of our students to enjoy music together.”
In Harmony Opera North involves the children participating in weekly choral, instrumental and orchestral sessions, as well as other creative projects throughout the year. Pupils also have the opportunity to join in arts-based after-school activities and work together to stage performances both within the community and further afield.
Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Education Director, said:
“Having seen the remarkable difference which In Harmony has already made to the children’s concentration, emotional health and academic achievement at Windmill and Low Road Primary Schools, we are delighted to welcome New Bewerley Community School on board.
“We believe In Harmony is successful because we work with the schools on a long-term basis and also involve the wider community, ensuring that everyone in the locality benefits from the many pleasures engaging with music and the arts can bring.”