“In days where inspiration, awe and wonder have apparently sunk beneath the surface in education, this project had all three in bucket loads. Absolute musical gold-dust!”
Primary School Head Teacher

Increasingly we are seeing the importance of place to our communities, and the important role that arts and culture can play in establishing this. To mark The Sixteen’s 40th anniversary in 2019, we launched our residency programme where we aim to delve deeper into local communities and reach a wider and more diverse group of people with The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage performances at the centre. The residencies will lead to a more compact programme with high intensity and using a new approach to reach a larger number of people in the communities that we visit. We hope that they will create a strong legacy and support The Sixteen’s audience development in the specific areas.

In 2019, our residencies took place in Carlisle, Manchester, Medway and Truro. In each area, The Sixteen Education Team work with different sectors of the community including Refugees, Older People, people with Dementia and school children.

A particular highlight for the whole team during our residency in Manchester was our session with the Olympias Music Foundation. Winners of the Creativity in the Community (Be Proud Awards 2019) and Promotion of Equality and Diversity (Manchester Culture Award 2018) awards , Olympias Music Foundation is a charity which champions diversity in music. Since 2015, they have delivered over 1400 free music lessons to over 164 children in Manchester, engaging hundreds more children and adults through workshops, performances and concerts in the community.

From violin lessons for children on free-school meals, to community choirs for vulnerable BAME women and school children, they believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate in music-making and engage with music, regardless of background or income, and that these encounters can be life-changing.

These aims of the Foundation match those of The Sixteen and this relationship sparked many a magic moment. During the song circle with the ladies of the adult choir we shared songs from the UK and also Iran. 100% of the participants were refugees having moved to Manchester over the past four years. English for most was their third language and so music became our shared language. The ladies wrote poems about their journeys from Iran to the UK, and local composers from the Royal Northern College of Music composed the music. These songs were then performed in a sharing performance to the community.

The Sixteen’s partnership with the Medway Music Association has been in place for a number of years, where our players have witnessed the difference that our engagement and enthusiasm has made.

“It was great to note a significant rise in the standard of playing throughout the orchestra, compared with earlier in our engagement. I thought this was particularity super, particularly this year as it’s still relatively early in the academic year. May it continue.” Howard Rowntree, Trumpet Tutor

Residencies in 2020 will take place in Carlisle, Manchester, Medway and London. If you would like to collaborate, become a partner or learn more about out education programme then please do get in touch.