As a new school year begins, a third Leeds primary school has joined the award-winning In Harmony Opera North community residency taking the number of pupils who benefit to over 1,000 each week.
In Harmony Opera North was created with the aim of enriching lives, improving social well-being and engaging the next generation through community-based music-making and professional instrumental tuition. New Bewerley Community School in Beeston joins the two existing participants: Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle, who have been with the project since its launch in 2013, and Low Road Primary School in Hunslet.
New Bewerley Community School previously worked with Opera North to devise their own mini opera based on Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. The In Harmony Opera North residency will build on this partnership, placing music at the very heart of the curriculum and giving every child the chance to learn to sing and to play a musical instrument. The focus initially will be on Early Years and Key Stage One pupils with a performance with the Orchestra of Opera North brass section planned for December. In the new year, the project will widen to include the remaining students, with the whole school taking part in a concert at Leeds Town Hall next summer.
Gary German, Headteacher at New Bewerley Community School, said:
"We're really looking forward to welcoming Opera North’s In Harmony team to the school. The enthusiasm shown by our Year 5 pupils when we worked with Opera North before was remarkable. Even those who thought opera wasn’t for them were converted by the end. Seeing the success of that project made us really keen to become an In Harmony school thereby enabling all of our students to enjoy music together."
In Harmony Opera North involves the children participating in weekly choral, instrumental and orchestral sessions, as well as other creative projects throughout the year. Pupils also have the opportunity to join in arts-based after-school activities and work together to stage performances both within the community and further afield.