The Music Workshop Company (MWC) joined forces with Stevenage Symphony Orchestra last month for an exciting composition project with three Hertfordshire primary schools. The orchestra, which is for amateur musicians in and around Hertfordshire, won a grant last year from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to commission the work, Legends of the Tor, from composer Alison Wrenn, and to fund workshops in local schools. 
The MWC team had a great time working with Alison and the orchestra to develop workshops especially for the project. Along with Alison and Pam Davies, the leader of the orchestra, we then visited Lodge Farm Primary School, Knebworth Primary School and Fairlands Primary School to run the workshops. 
 
The project was unusual for the Stevenage orchestra, because although they regularly work with children who have musical instrument lessons through the Wider Opportunities scheme, this project was the first to also involve children who have never had an instrumental lesson. 
 
In each school the children were introduced to Alison’s symphonic piece, Legends of the Tor which is based on the many myths surrounding the Glastonbury Tor. 
 
Dog who ate marshmallowsThey then had the chance to make up their own myth and compose a piece of music that described the story that they had created. After the wJack and the Dragonorkshop they drew pictures to illustrate the stories. The children performed the pieces they created during the workshops at the Stevenage Festival, in a concert with the Stevenage Symphony Orchestra in which Alison’s piece was also premiered. 
 
For many of the children it was the first time they had been to a concert and certainly the first time they had performed at one. 
 
 
The children’s compositions included: 
 
The Crazy Highwayman and the Unicorn 
 
The Hobbit and the Dragon 
 
The Dog Who Wanted Marshmallows 
 
The King in the Dungeon 
 
The Legend of Jack, the Dragon and the Purple Dog 
 
Goddesses – Battle on the Tor 
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