Seeing stars: family day with Sounds New

It’s five o’clock, and I’ve just got home after a riotous day exploring themes of music and space at the Gulbenkian Theatre and its neighbour the Colyer-Fergusson building, as a Musical Guide to the Galaxy unfurled throughout the day.

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Dance Warehouse exploring Turnage’s ‘Ceres’

Artistic activities included the making of various planets and stars at the activity tables, whilst in the theatre members of Wide-Eyed Theatre provided drama-based ideas; a performance from a six-piece close-harmony group in a capella songs; dancers from Dance Warehouse and Canterbury College explored music by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Brett Dean; in the concert-hall, families were treated to an open rehearsal from members of the Philharmonia and young instrumentalists experimenting with non-notated music, minimalist-style ostinato and swooping electric keyboard glissandi in Solar Sounds.

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Philharmonia musicians and young players explore ‘Solar Sounds’

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Scratch Orchestra, cond, Danny Glavin

The day concluded with a scratch orchestra, comprising students from both Christchurch University and the University of Kent under the able baton of former Masters student, Danny Glavin, in themes from ET, Star Wars, Fnug (not wholly congruent with the themes of space and the universe, but, as Danny said before the piece, “some of it does sound pretty alien!”) before concluding with the equally-tenuous but crowd-pleasing theme from Wallace & Gromit (Glavin; “well, they did go to the moon in ‘A Grand Day Out!”).

A lively day, bringing together professional musicians, young players, families and toddlers to explore new music in highly creative ways.

The festival continues with the first ‘All for One’ concert on Tuesday at 11am in St Peter’s Methodist Church in town.

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