On a warm, sunny day on the 24th of June, the echoing hallways of the Manchester Museum were filled with an enchanting melody. The source? A choir of young, talented singers from the Children's Voices choir of Olympias Music Foundation 🎵. They were there to collaborate with Lucy Burscough, the artist in residence for Manchester Museum's 'Dab Hands' exhibition, a project that explores our profound relationship with our hands through creative and thought-provoking approaches. https://www.lucysart.co.uk/dab-hands-intro
The journey began with the children visiting Lucy's exhibition on the 3rd floor of the museum on the 12th June. They admired the artworks and participated in the creation of their own badges 🏵️. The highlight of the visit was their performance of a song for Lucy.
A week later, Lucy and Anna, the Learning and Engagement manager at the museum, attended the choir's rehearsal in Longsight, where they had the opportunity to hear the children practising the songs they would later perform at the museum. Lucy also brought along some arts and crafts for the children to enjoy during their break.
The culmination of these events was a performance that took place in the 'Living Worlds' section of the museum. The choir, comprised of children from various schools in the community, sang their hearts out to an audience made up of parents, siblings, and the general public 👨👩👧👦. For many of the young choristers, this was their first opportunity to perform in front of a large crowd on a proper stage. There was, of course, excitement and nervous energy, but they rose to the occasion beautifully, singing their hearts out and captivating the audience.
The music, in line with the theme of the 'Dab Hands' exhibition, was centred around hands. The children performed various songs including 'Ain't no mountain high enough' using Macaton sign language; 'Off-beat clickety fingers'; 'Stop the train!'; and an old weaving song from the tradition of 'Broadside Ballads' called 'Handloom versus Powerloom'.
This performance was particularly poignant because it marked the last one for Verity Williams, the longest-serving volunteer with Children's Voices, before she moved to Cornwall. Verity has been a beloved figure, having made a significant impact on the children during her time with the choir. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her all the best in her new journey 🌟💐.
The collaboration was a huge success, and the children sang beautifully. It was an amazing experience for all involved, providing a unique opportunity for the children to learn about art and music, and to share their talents with the public. It also showcased the potential of such collaborations in promoting community engagement and fostering a love for art and music among children.
The melding of music and visual art provided a stimulating and fun learning environment for the children 🤝🎭. What's next for Olympias Music Foundation and the Manchester Museum? We don't know yet, but we're eagerly looking forward to their future collaborations. Stay tuned! 🌟