Front Row Club
Front Row Club's Objectives:
To enhance young people’s personal development through appreciation of live classical music of excellence, by providing them with front row concert seats and preparing them for purposeful listening at the concert. A further objective is to ensure continuity of our rich musical heritage by building audiences of the future.
Target: Secondary schools
Vital familiarisation with the music, through workshops conducted in schools by the concert conductor and a member of the orchestra. These will transform students' passive listening to active, critical listening and appreciation. Many top organisations (ROH, RAH) give away student tickets to performances, but none give in-depth tutorials beforehand.
Concert selection: CRS will work with concert promoters (professional orchestras /choirs) to select a concert programme relevant to the curriculum. Front row concert seats will be reserved by the concert promoter for CRS participating students.
Workshops: The professional conductor will visit schools to explore and explain the selected music, with information on the composer’s background, inspiration and the construction of the piece
CRS will commission student-friendly programme notes to give to schools to consolidate workshop learning, together with CDs of the music to be performed in concert.
Workshops: the conductor and a member of the concert orchestra will conduct a further workshop in schools, to illustrate the themes of the piece and familiarise the children with key passages
Students are offered free front row seats, so that they feel involved and close to the action. They will already be familiar with the work, the conductor and musicians involved, so will feel a sense of ‘ownership’ of the concert
For many secondary school children, the stage/audience divide will have been removed and the concert hall demystified and made accessible. This builds on CRS work with primary schools who regularly participate in concert. This project also enables promoting choirs and orchestras to demonstrate commitment to education/ outreach work.
"I felt that I had learnt a lot more in just three weeks about classical music than I had ever expected I would."
Some of our previous projects:
Brahms Requiem, 7 March 2016
The Classical Road Show brought King Solomon's Academy pupils to Barbican front row seats, for Brahms Requiem on the 7 March 2016.
City of London Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Hilary Davan Wetton, conductor
Claire Rutter, soprano
Stephen Gadd, baritone
Brahms: A German Requiem
Strauss: Four Last Songs
Mendelssohn: Psalm 90
Students from King Solomon's Academy had the privilege of two workshops conducted in their school by Hilary Davan Wetton with Stephen Gadd - ear-opening experiences! They were extremely well-prepared for their listening experience in the Barbican's front row seats, especially having learnt some of the Requiem by heart in preparation. Our picture shows the pupils meeting Hilary (in white tie and tails) after the end of the concert.
These Front Row projects give secondary school pupils exceptional experiences which we hope will give them a continuing interest in attending and taking part in concerts of classical music.
St John Passion, 27 March 2015
St John's Smith Square
The City of London Choir and outstanding soloists presented a vivid account of Christ’s passion with acclaimed period ensemble Music for Awhile. St John’s provides the perfect baroque setting for JS Bach’s most dramatic masterpiece.
Mark Wilde, Evangelist
Darren Jeffery, Christus
Rebecca Bottone, soprano
Tim Mead, counter-tenor
Benjamin Bevan, baritone
Music for Awhile, leader Maggie Faultless
City of London Choir Hilary Davan Wetton, conductor
Quinton Kynaston pupils enjoyed workshops with both Hilary Davan Wetton and Maggie Faultless prior to the concert, to prepare them for serious listening! They also learnt some of the St John Passion choruses with their Music Director, Jo Koerner.
Their concentration and enjoyment was impressive and evident, as they sat in their front row seats at St John’s Smith Square, as new members of The Front Row Club. The conductor too greatly enjoyed meeting them afterwards for a photo call and regards this new Front Row initiative, with the collaboration of The City of London Choir, as an important part of the work of The Classical Road Show.
Photo by Rebecca Danby
For the Fallen, 26 November 2012
Spirit of England - Elgar
The Lark Ascending - Vaughan Williams
Henry V Suite - Walton
A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody - Butterworth
The Chivalry of the Sea - Parry
Clio Gould, violin, Claire Rutter, soprano
Jamie Parker, narrator
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
City of London Choir
Conductor: Hilary Davan Wetton
"We started the Front Row Project without really knowing what it was going to be about, but by the end I felt that I had learnt a lot more in just three weeks about classical music than I had ever expected I would. Primarily, Hilary Davan Wetton was so incredibly enthusiastic that one could not help but be inspired by him, and his passion for music was infectious. His ability to sit down at a piano and play anything to illustrate the point he was making was truly amazing, and his love for conducting was so evident that I felt that I could love it too by the end of the sessions. However, perhaps most importantly, it was amazing to be able to learn about a piece of music, especially one with such a rich background as the Henry V Suite and The Lark Ascending, and then go and watch a man you have come to know perform a piece you have come to know in such a renowned venue. In the front row!"
"I especially loved the last piece of music, The Spirit of England by Elgar as the familiar words were really brought to life by the choir and soprano."