Jess Gillam: Space Explorer?
Jess Gillam and her Ensemble took 800 primary school students on a mission to outer space and back this month as part of Saffron Sounds: LIVE.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be 8 years old, experiencing your first ever live music event in a space like Saffron Hall? Now imagine that event is being led by Jess Gillam, dressed head to toe in sparkly stars, who opens the show with 'Who is ready to go on a space mission?' while the fanfare of the Star Wars theme tune plays.
Now you're getting close to feeling the sense of pure excitement radiating from the full house of primary school students and teachers who took part our interactive schools concert Saffron Sounds: LIVE on 4 May (which, coincidentally, is officially 'Star Wars' day - who knew?).
Jess and the rest of her 'rocket ship crew' (otherwise know as the Jess Gillam Ensemble) took the students on a journey through time and space. They performed music by David Bowie, Astor Piazzolla, Joby Talbot and more, which students had been studying as part of the Saffron Sounds resource syllabus offered to schools by Saffron Hall for free.
Video collage by Year 5 students from a participating school recording their Saffron Sounds experience
Students got to revisit interactive songs they had learnt as part of in-school Saffron Sounds workshops led by members of Jess' ensemble in the weeks leading up to this performance. It was clear how much fun students had taking part in the 'Ostinato' song or 'See yourself', many experiencing the joy of singing with hundreds of other children for the first time.
And when the fun all became too much, the musicians led a 'breathing square' exercise which encouraged students to become aware of their breath while Jess wandered around auditorium amongst the school groups playing a reflective and calming solo saxophone melody.
An hour and a half - and a lot of clapping, singing, dancing, breathing and seat-wriggling later - it was all over... until next time!
Saffron Sounds is an ongoing project run by Saffron Hall which provides music resources and guest artist interactions to support music provision in local schools. If you or someone you know would be interested in accessing free music curriculum resources, in-school workshops and interactive concerts for school groups please register your interest in our Saffron Sounds web page.
If you are interested in volunteering to steward education and community events, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’d like to contribute to all the work we do here, please consider donating to support our work.
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So far, donations from people like you have brought the power of live music making to over 180 primary school children as part of Saffron Sounds. Please donate now keep inspiring the artists and audiences of the future.