Intergenerational Project

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.

Curriculum Support

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.

Most of the melody was really written by them just having a go at singing something, which was amazing…  In the song there’s a line about the neighbour’s cat, hanging hungrily around, and the kids made the word around go “around”, and I just thought yes, just incredible, that they’re painting a picture with words.
Chris Killerby and Grace Carter

Professional recording

On 27 February 2020, the children and the OHP Inspire team joined together one more time to have the Robins’ song professionally recorded.

I felt a little nervous, but I also felt excited, because I knew that a few months after we’ve done it we’ll be proud when we’re listening to it.
Avonmore student
They’ve all grown so much in their confidence and children that weren’t keen to sing in the first place have just loosened up and really enjoyed it, and that’s because of the team at Opera Holland Park putting in that effort, making it really easy for them… Music matters because it’s an opportunity for the children to express themselves, and school can be quite prescriptive sometimes. We need to do a, b, and c, and the opportunity to get creative – in this case make our own song – isn’t something that they normally get the chance to do.
Grace Carter (Project répétiteur)