Building on previous experiences, our Education and Outreach Programme for 2022 included both live and recorded performances. We continue to work in partnership with Hertfordshire Music Service and The Purcell School for Young Musicians to facilitate inclusivity and diversity across our education and outreach work as we enable young musicians across Hertfordshire to engage in live music-making with our Young Musicians’ Platform and in workshops, ‘curtain-raiser’ and ‘side-by-side’ professional performance opportunities.

Further details of our education and outreach work during this year’s Festival can be seen below:

Thursday 29 September – Schools Concerts

Our two live Schools Concerts were attended by over 500 primary-age children from 10 local schools in the Welwyn Hatfield area and featured the latest book, Once Upon a Tune, by author and illustrator, James Mayhew.

James is a well-known illustrator of children’s books, but also has significant experience in bringing concerts for children to life with his imaginative and colourful drawings.  This book tells dramatic stories of trolls, flying carpets and magic spells which, in turn, inspired some wonderful pieces of music:

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice  Dukas

The Flight of the Bumble Bee  Rimsky-Korsakov

In the Hall of the Mountain King  Grieg

Scheherazade – The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship  Rimsky-Korsakov 

Overture to William Tell  Rossini

The music, arranged especially for chamber orchestra by George Morton, was performed by students from The Purcell School for Young Musicians, directed by Paul Hoskins and illustrated during the concert by the author.

This creative combination of music, storytelling and art from several different countries, was a feast for all the senses; a marvellous opportunity for children from diverse backgrounds to hear live chamber music in an atmospheric and historical setting. The concerts were vastly over-subscribed, but were also recorded and sent free to view, to all primary schools in Hertfordshire along with a teacher support package.

Feedback from some of the children, staff and sponsors that attended the live concert:

Every child came back absolutely brimming with excitement and awe. These children have not had the opportunity to go out of school for so long due to Covid and due to background and circumstance many would not have that experience afforded to them. Lots of the parents have said this morning that it was the whole topic of their conversations last night and the staff have said that they captured so many moments of joy from the children yesterday and that that the value added to their cultural capital was immense…….Please could you say thank you on our behalf.
Clare Hollingsworth, Headteacher, Swallow Dell Primary School, Welwyn Garden City

I am so pleased I was able to attend last week’s concert at St Etheldreda’s Church which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was wonderful to see the primary school children who attended captivated by the performances. The combination of talented young musicians from The Purcell School accompanied by James Mayhew’s wonderful story telling and illustrations brought each piece of music to life, and I heard many comments of ‘wow’ and ‘that was amazing’ from the children and staff as they left at the end of the concert.

I hadn’t experienced a concert like this before, and I have been telling many colleagues about how wonderful it was.
Cllr Fiona Thomson, Handside & Peartree Division, Hertfordshire County Council

Some comments from pupils at Applecroft Primary School, Welwyn Garden City:

Annabelle  My favourite part was when they did ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ because it was very fast and the painter had to keep up with the music. I enjoyed watching the big drums being played. The artist was really talented and must have practised a lot in time with the music really fast.

Thanvi  It was so lovely and I liked all the violins and drums because I have always wanted to play violins and drums. The artist was brilliant and I was so amazed by how quickly he could paint and finish it at the end of the song.


Saturday 1 October 2pm – Family Concert – ‘Once Upon a Tune’
St Etheldreda’s Church, Fore Street, Hatfield AL9 5AN

Music arranged by George Morton, presented and illustrated by James Mayhew and directed by Paul Hoskins.

This exciting concert also featured students from The Purcell School for Young Musicians but performing ‘side-by-side’ with wind quintet, Ensemble Renard, (Britten Pears Young Artists 2022-23) and professional musicians from United Strings of Europe. It included 5 musical stories from James Mayhew’s book Once Upon a Tune as well as a new student composition based on traditional Chinese melodies, Mo Li Hua by Purcell School student, Edward Tait and a stunning ‘curtain-raiser’ performance from Aaron Stewart on the harp.

The audience were treated some wonderful musical performances, exciting storytelling and, at times, some very fast painting! James Mayhew kindly donated his paintings from this concert for auction; £335 was raised for the bursary scheme to support young musicians at The Purcell School.


Sunday 2 October 10.30am-12.00 noon – The Old Palace
Workshop with Suzi Digby, ORA Singers, Hertfordshire County Youth Choir and Cantate Youth Choir

This was a wonderful opportunity for some of our finest young singers across Hertfordshire to work with Suzi Digby and the professional vocal ensemble, ORA on vocal technique and preparing to sing ‘side-by-side’ with ORA Singers in the Festival Finale Concert. The youth choirs were also invited to attend a special concert with ORA in the Marble Hall, celebrating the lives of our two Queen Elizabeths.

We really appreciated all the organisation you had provided in helping to make this a very successful day . The students obviously enjoyed the whole experience making it a memorable day for them, so thank you for giving us the opportunity to take part.
Peter Twitchin, Manager Hertfordshire County Youth Choir


Sunday 2 October 2pm-5pm
Young Musicians Platform in partnership with Hertfordshire Music Service

Over 70 young people took part in these two concerts featuring  young chamber ensembles from across Hertfordshire including Watford School of Music, Watford Grammar School for Girls, Royston Music School, Dacorum Music School, North-Herts Music School, Mid-Herts Music Centre and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School.

The audience were treated some wonderful performances ranging from movements from Holst’s St Paul’s Suite and Boyce’s Symphony No 1 to the Allegro from Beethoven’s Piano Trio No 1 and the first movement of Borodin’s String Quartet No 2


Sunday 2 October 7pm
Festival Finale Concert

As part of this concert, young singers from Hertfordshire County Youth Choir and Cantate Youth Choir sang sing ‘side-by-side’ with the professional vocal ensemble ORA Singers, performing Morten Lauridsen’s beautiful Requiem, Lux Aeterna. This was accompanied by our resident professional chamber orchestra including players from Britten Pears Young Artists Ensemble Renard.

It also featured an impressive double-choir ‘curtain-raiser’ from the Youth Choirs at the start of the second half – Stanford’s Coelos Ascendit Hodie directed by James Slimings.



Across the Festival – Workshops, Masterclass and Curtain Raisers

This year, we were delighted that one of our international artists, renowned classical guitarist, Morgan Szymanski, was able to work with some of Hertfordshire’s young, aspiring guitarists in a masterclass at Dame Alice Owen’s Secondary School. The guitar ensemble was then invited to play at Hatfield House for one of the ‘curtain-raiser’ opportunities during the Festival.


The workshop with Morgan was wonderful – a truly inspiring experience for all involved; the ensemble visibly grew in stature both in terms of their individual confidence and in terms of their sense of togetherness. They were eager to share their impressions of the experience:

“I learnt a lot of different ways to use the guitar such as how to play loudly and how to stop the string gently” and “It was interesting to think about how we project the guitar and make it sound nice for our audience.”

Our thanks to the Hatfield House Chamber Music festival for these wonderful opportunities.
Katherine Bamber, Director of Music, Dame Alice Owen’s School

Morgan also visited a local primary school during the Festival week to deliver a ukulele-based workshop to 60 pupils at Oak View Primary School. This involved rhythm work, learning how to strum and pluck the ukulele and composing a song, which they then performed in a concert to the rest of the school.

Morgan’s ukelele workshop was great. I know the children truly enjoyed this experience and he, and all others present, were great with our Year 4 children. Thanks very much for all things musical this week.
Emma Hall, Deputy Headteacher, Oak View Primary and Nursery School

We were also able to offer £5 student tickets to many of the main Festival concerts and 6 students took on volunteering roles at various concerts and events. Over the period of the Festival over 1,000 children and young people in Hertfordshire were directly involved in hearing or performing live-music through our Education and Outreach Programme. In addition, over 150,000 school children in Hertfordshire will have access to the Schools Concert film and support package through their schools.

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