Over the last year, Opera Holland Park’s Inspire programme has been working with a group of twenty-five children from Avonmore Primary School on various projects, to encourage more singing in the classroom and in intergenerational concerts in the local community.
One of the first times OHP started working with Avonmore was when, in February 2019, the children joined Age UK Kensington and Chelsea to perform at St. Cuthbert’s Church’s annual Valentine’s Day event. The songs they performed were co-written by members of the two groups, under the guidance of composer James Garner. The intergenerational project was set up to celebrate the creativity of both age groups, and to foster a sense of community and wellbeing through music.
Later on in the year, OHP started working with Avonmore on a second project, which took place across five weeks to complement the winter-term curriculum. Led by Choir Master Chris Killerby and Répétiteur Grace Carter, the children created a song based on Michael Morpurgo’s Coming Home. The original story focuses on a male robin as he sets off on an epic adventure to make it back home in time for Christmas. The children, however, decided to take a different approach. They centred their song on Mrs Robin who, as she anxiously awaits her husband’s return, sees a feather fall from the sky. This project culminated with the children performing their song at the Chelsea Hospital as part of their Christmas Concert with guest soprano Fae Evelyn.
On 27 February 2020, the children and the OHP Inspire team joined together one more time to have the Robins’ song professionally recorded.