Each year we endeavour to get the local children enthusiastic about the music and the performers through our growing educational programme and we are very fortunate to have artists willing to get involved and perform special ‘mini’ concerts for pupils of local Primary Schools.
The involvement with the local school began in June 2005 when Catrin Finch visited with her harp. The next year Chloe Hanslip visited as did the Firsova Piano Trio.
In 2018, Antoinette Cann composed a piece to play alongside brass players from Bledington Primary School. This was ‘Scenes from Antony and Cleopatra’. The children were coached by their regular brass tutor, Andy Farrington and also by Antoinette Cann herself. The whole thing came together at Duo Cann’s evening concert to a full church having been rehearsed to the whole school in their afternoon mini concert.
In 2007 the whole school walked to St Leonard's Church to see Thomas Trotter and Catrin Finch and also experienced the Musical Mystery Tour with Lucie & Roddy Skeaping at the school, ahead of their performance with City Waites.
In 2008 the children enjoyed the playing of Sarah Williamson and Sasha Grynyuk, both in the Church.
In 2009 the new stage at the School, funded in part by Bledington School Association, had its first use by the Pavão Quartet. They played a variety of music illustrating various emotions which could be expressed in music. A seven year old pupil played part of Pachabel's Canon, its final bars accompanied by Bryony James on the cello.
In 2012, Bledington School had three varied musical experiences. On Tuesday Alissa Firsova told how she came into music and played a piece she composed at six years of age as well as relating her experience of being entered into (and winning) a composing competition at age thirteen without her knowledge. This, she said, changed her life. The children were spell-bound.
On Wednesday the children were given experience of practising scales and exercises as well as joining in The Ship of Rio composed by Benjamin Britten which was part of the evening concert with Lesley-Jane Rogers and Jennie-Helen Moston.
On Thursday, Lionel Sainsbury and Mark Bebbington talked about what makes music. The children volunteered lots of ideas and enjoyed a variety of pieces of music.
The head teacher and staff of Bledington School value the opportunities offered by three days of live music for the children.
This year our performers have been overwhelmed by the reponse and attentiveness of Bledington school children each afternoon.
The head teacher and staff of Bledington School value the opportunity of this annual three day concerts.
"Thank you very much for organising the music festival. It is an amazing opportunity for everybody – being able to listen to professional musicians is very inspiring. I really enjoyed listening to the harp, the flute and the viola. The music they played was very calming and relaxing."
Barney - Pupil, Bledington School
'On Wednesday we had the lively ZRI with the violin, accordion, cello, clarinet and santouri. I especially enjoyed the santouri as I have never heard it before. On Thursday we listened to the Marylebone Trio who played the oboe, clarinet and bassoon. They really got us involved too.'
Abigail - Pupil, Bledington School
‘‘Thank you very much for last year when you organised for the oboist to come and then she came out and talked to me, so now I am learning the oboe’’
Katy - Pupil, Bledington School
Mark Bebbington wrote:
"It was a true privilege to play and talk to the children of Bledington Primary School yesterday afternoon. Their interest and concentration were really amazing and the questions at the end showed that they had really enjoyed and absorbed the concert. These young children are an absolute credit to their teachers and, in particular, to the head teacher. Long may the school and Bledington Festival continue to play host to these afternoon concerts…"
Jennie–Helen Moston wrote:
"It was a pleasure to meet you and to perform at your utterly beautiful venue on Wednesday. I hope the school children enjoyed themselves- they were by far the most well behaved and responsive group of children I have worked with in a long time! And it was a really lovely atmosphere in the church for our recital – thank you for having us!"