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AmaSIng 2019 Inspiring communities 

AmaSing Chester 2019 was a huge success and involved over 1000 children coming together to perform in aid of the charities Dementia UK, Young Minds UK and Chester Zoo.

Theconcerts took place at Storyhouse Theatre from 11th to the 13th March 2019 and  reached 38 schools in Cheshire West, The University of Chester Education and Drama students,  Countess of Chester Hospital children and elderly wards, plus families and elderly in the community.

This year as well as music, AmaSing developed more opportunities and experiences in a variety of art forms including dance, drama and art. Workshops included Music led by Andrew Smith a Manchester based Composer, Dance led by Julie Guile and Chloe Vickers from House of Dance, Drama led by Una Meehan and Art led by David Wearing.

This year the theme was based around happiness and memories and art work that was produced by the different groups during the workshops and in schools was displayed in an amazing gallery in The Garret Theatre in Storyhouse.

During the music workshops different groups worked together with the support of composer Andrew Smith to create some unique songs in aid of charities supported and these were performed by over 1000 children at the AmaSing concerts and included a song in aid of Dementia UK written by children and elderly people called “Once Upon a Time”

Andrew Smith stated “ At a time when music in schools is in a critical state, AmaSing has provided teachers and children with an opportunity to compose and perform alongside professional musicians and artists at a major cultural venue. This unique aspirational project has provided teachers with development experiences, knowledge and skills that they can take back in the classrooms supporting children to express themselves using arts and music”

This song was also sung by over 100 children along with a special dance piece created by House of Dance and was filmed by Capture Filming Services for Britain’s Got Talent in a workshop in January 2019.

Another song was written by families and children involved in the project and is called “Be Happy” and is an uplifting pop song created in aid of Young Minds UK.

The Chester Zoo song was written by composer Ashley Fayth called Palm Oil Conga and through this song and the wonderful workshops Chester Zoo have ran for school children have been educated about the Palm oil Crisis and what they can do to try and support it.

Matt Baker’s song “Walk My Journey” was also performed by the children which was written as part of a project in Chester that many of the schools took part in all about the Refugee Crisis.

Some of the other songs performed included The Greatest Showman Medley, Fight Song Medley and Lean on me.

You can hear the songs in the teacher resources section.

Workshops were recorded and a short film has been created by Sam Riley at Canteen Creative Productions and were shown at the concerts.

The amazing live professional AmaSing band sponsored by Oliver and Co Solicitors accompanied all singing and included Andrew Smith on keyboards, Liam Hardwick on drums, Paul Adams on Bass Guitar, James Dee on lead guitar and Alex Dee on Saxophone/ guitar.

The fantastic professional actor Simon Smithies who worked on Coronation Street, Holly Oaks and Scott and Bailey hosted the show and every song/ dance this year had amazing graphics on the screen created by one of AmaSing sponsors Lumisi who also designed the AmaSing website, Tshirts and programmes.

In preparation for the event, the project worked closely with The University of Chester students via singing, art, dance, and drama workshops.  The students were trained and then given opportunities to deliver these workshops for pupils at all the schools involved to support learning for the performances at StoryHouse.

One of the project goals is to inspire and assist teachers and teacher training students in their professional development, providing exciting opportunities and new experiences working with arts specialists to expand on their skills delivering singing, music and arts in the curriculum. AmaSing is passionate about keeping arts alive in school and by equipping and developing skills for the next generation of teachers in arts.

This year AmaSing partnered with Chester University Education Department, Artsmark, Arts Award and Curious Minds.  Due to funding from sources such as MBNA, The Philip Barker Creative Centre and The Ursula Keys Trust, AmaSing was able to give each child involved a recognised Arts Award and help every school involved gain Artsmark status. AmaSing also supported 50 teacher training students and teachers to become Arts Award Leaders. Amasing is also currently working with LCEP (Local Cultural Education Partnership) to support Cheshire West and many art groups to become an Artsmark Borough.

AmaSing raised £1000 for Dementia UK, £1000 for Young Minds UK and are thrilled to have adopted the Sumatran Orangutans at Chester Zoo supporting their amazing conservation work. AmaSing Fusion 2020 plans to develop further reaching more schools in Cheshire, Wales, Wirral and Manchester, develop links with new educational groups, artists and communities. The theme will be focusing on celebrating diversity and difference. We are very excited to get started.

 

 

 

 

Una Meehan Senior Lecturer and Lead for Young People stated

For the past two years the Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning has been delighted to facilitate and create an innovative partnership between AmaSing and the Faculty of Education at the University of Chester.  This year has seen the partnership grow from strength to strength with an extensive enrichment programme for students training as primary teachers.  Over the past six months, students gained invaluable experiences in the form of masterclasses in art, drama and music followed by workshops working with primary aged pupils in schools, care homes and at the university.

Throughout, student teachers have worked collaboratively with artists and experienced teachers to develop an array of artistic tools that can be applied to their own teaching practice, as well as developing an in-depth understanding as to why the arts are a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum.  They have been inspired by teachers and colleagues who are focused on increasing opportunities for creativity within the curriculum.  Cheshire West is becoming an Artsmark borough and as such we have an array of talented and creative teachers across Cheshire standing up for arts education. These teachers have provided placements for students and supported them to lead music sessions that develop their confidence in teaching a musical repertoire to primary aged students.

Nationally, the curriculum appears to becoming increasingly narrow in its focus, yet these students are actively encouraged to value the arts both at university and in our Cheshire schools. They do not stand alone, they are seeing first-hand what happens when we work collaboratively and this was optimised by 1000 plus primary aged pupils performing a plethora of powerful songs at Storyhouse.   Students have had the opportunity to lead workshops on connectivity and what it means to be a part of community. One group visited a care home to deliver an art workshop alongside primary pupils and older generations, enabling them to explore challenging issues such as dementia and loneliness in a safe environment.

Student confidence has grown, they have felt part of growing community across the county that celebrates the importance of feeling connected to your community and a clear recognition that teaching the arts is an essential element of the development and teaching of young people.     We were delighted that this year, all participating students were able to gain arts advisor status via Curious Minds and paid for by the centre.  We are thrilled that these students will become champions of the arts in their placements schools, but also be able to apply this expertise as a core part of their practice.

Through arts collaboration projects like AmaSing, communities and schools have been able to work together to raise the standard of arts in schools and build on opportunities, skills and knowledge of all participants.

 

 

 

Some comments from the last year AmaSing 2018/ 2019 projects are below:-

Head Teacher Dodleston Primary– We would like to thank you so much for your hard work, enthusiasm and energy in giving our children such an incredible experience at the Storyhouse which they will never forget.

Head St Oswalds Mollington– Today I was reminded why I was a teacher. Over 1000 children singing their hearts out at Storyhouse as part of the AmaSing projects- such fun to be part of and truly inspirational for all involved.

Oliver and Co solicitors- We had such a fantastic night at Storyhouse. It was a fabulous evening with so much talent. Well done to all the performers you were all AMASING!!!!

Artsmark- What a superb evening with artsmark partner Amasing CIC. It was amazing to see over 1000 children deliver such fantastic performances. Well done everyone this is a true example of community engagement in the arts.

Emma Bush – Senior Manager Programmes- Lead for Artsmark and Arts Award North West Region stated- The Amasing project has led schools to develop a more strategic and collaborative approach to Artsmark and Arts Award through exceptional partnership working. Amasing’s established network of schools and the funding from MBMA has enabled a critical mass of schools to engage in both the Artsmark Process and Arts Award as part of this already successful creative project; this has led us to work with Chester to become one of the first places in the region to become an Artsmark Town (working towards 50% of schools registered for Artsmark). This has been a pilot for us and Arts Council England exploring schools registering as a group and working collaboratively made possible by an innovative approach to identifying funding and sponsorship. This creative process alongside the outstanding quality of the final performances is an example of creative best practice that we plan to share regionally

 

 

Parents/ public- Wow fabulous performances tonight- thank you so much for inspiring so many children to have self-belief and go for their dreams!

Inspirational, and such a talent, it really was amazing!!! Well done to all involved.

Chester Zoo-Hannah Brookes Community Engagement Manager – I just wanted to get in touch and say that last night was INCREDIBLE!!! The event was so much more than I expected, your event took everything to a whole new level! It was evident that SO much work went into the preparation, production and work with the children so massive well done and congratulations!

Ashley Faith Composer- I just wanted to say that I was absolutely floored by the performance last night. What you managed to achieve was wonderful, and I can’t even imagine how much time and effort went into pulling off a show like that. I’m genuinely honoured and humbled that “Singing for Songbirds” was chosen as one of the songs selected, and to see it performed by so many children was a career highlight.

Nicola Haigh- Storyhouse Omg I’m beaming! It’s phenomrnal what you have made happen! You have made such an impact on so many kids lives and so many people have walked through the doors for the first time! just amasing. What a phenomenal experience it will have been and so special for those kids to perform on that stage in their city.

Una Meenan- Chester University What a spectacular night watching this phenomenal AmaSing concert. Tears streaming and bursting with pride listening to 100s of Cheshire kids singing!

The Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning – Incredible evening filled with spin tingling performances. So very proud we were able to support the incredible AmaSing CIC concerts. This is what happens when young people are given fantastic art, drama, dance and music opportunities/ education. Congratulations to Rachael for all she has achieved with 1000 plus pupils from across Cheshire. Incredibly proud of the talent and cooperation from everyone.

Andy Smith composer– It has been amazing working on the AmaSing project 2018/ 2019 supporting many worthy charities and inspiring so many children in Cheshire to come together to perform and sing their hearts out for such worthy causes.

Elaine Smithies- Macmillan Cancer Support Charity – Thank you AmaSing for choosing Macmillan to support through your amazing projects. It has been awe inspiring what you have achieved.

Emmy Graham primary school student- I will never forget performing in AmaSing and getting the opportunity to sing with my friends in the huge Theatre and work with amazing musicians. It has given me loads of confidence and I know now if I work hard at things I can do anything I want to do.