Sing Up 2008 - 2010

Pegasus Opera is a flagship organisation for the ‘Sing Up’ project, a government initiative to bring singing and music into primary schools in England and Wales. Pegasus has over 16 years experience in running educational workshops in primary schools throughout London. At the start of January 2008, Pegasus Opera collaborated with Glyndebourne Education and the Royal Opera House Education to deliver a training programme Spread the Tunes for 20 professional singers. 

As a Sing Up Flagship, we have been running singing workshops in 8 London primary schools, a workforce development programme for mainly BME opera singers and a training course for teachers in schools to support their singing leading in the classroom.

Recent triumphs have included a joint devised piece between British born black composer Errollyn Wallen, facilitator Frances Lynch from Electric Voice Theatre and over 420 children from the Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Ealing. The new opera, called Clothesburger, was performed in the Southbank Centre’s Clore Ballroom on 23rd March 2010.
Clothesburger is an original story by Errollyn Wallen and includes ideas and verses written by the children which they have set to music and accompanied with drawings which created a marvellous back drop at the final show. It is an entertaining adventure of best friends Mick and Trishi, who run away from home and discover the Makeadin Café - a magical, adult-free zone where all their homework is finished in 4¾ minutes, and they can eat all the sweets they like! When their journey is foiled by the appearance of Alfie, a terrifying dinodragon, the two runaways learn some important lessons about life, responsibility and the true meaning of friendship...   
Pegasus workshop leaders visited each of the schools 8 times across 12 months to help devise and compose and rehearse one scene per school, learning the songs all the other children had composed but not being told the full plot until the very day the of show. All the children and teachers came together for the first time on the 23rd March, bringing together their energy and creative flare and the result was breathtaking and hilarious and moving! Watch some clips here!

In partnership with the Royal Opera House, 30 young singing leaders from our Sing Up project attended opera workshops in preparation for auditions for the new ROH Youth Opera Company to begin in September 2010. We are delighted to have heard that 9 out of the 40 children who will form this new Youth Opera company, have been selected from our Sing Up project. Well done all of you!

These singing leaders have taken on ambassador roles in their schools and showcased their class work in whole school assemblies, reaching over 2500 young people.

The Sing Up project inspired two more partnerships earlier in the year:

Turtle Key Arts works with children with autism and we took some themes from Clothesburger and ran a week long February half term project in the Baytree Centre, a local community inclusion project on the Brixton Road. 10 children worked with 3 Pegasus leaders and musician John Petter and devised movement and songs, creating characters and costumes, and performed their 20 minute version of the opera to a beaming audience of parents on the last day of the week.

Baytree Nightingale Project
Last summer Pegasus music leader Grace Cookey-Gam and composer Frances Lynch worked with 20 transition aged children in the Baytree Centre to devise an opera around the Hans Christian Anderson story of the Nightingale. A week long series of workshops on voice production, staging and percussion, singing and devising, resulted in a colourful, multicultural interpretation of the delightful story and this was performed at our first Pegasus Community Sing Day on 31st July 2009. Amateur singers and members of the Pegasus Community Chorus came together to share a day of singing at St Vincent’s Community Centre, led by Grace, exploring different styles of music and learning good breathing techniques to set us up for life! See some clips here!

Present projects include Explore Treemonisha, an 8 week series of workshops in 6 schools in Ealing looking at the themes in Scott Joplin’s opera which our professional company are touring at the end of May. [See here for more info on tour dates.] Over 250 children will learn the main choruses in this work, compose new lyrics and tunes, choreograph some dances to go with them and perform these newly inspired pieces in school assemblies at the beginning of June.

In September 2010 we will be launching our new Singing Academy and we will be inviting back all the young people from our schools project to engage in further opera workshops, a children’s choir, small group voice training, mums and daughters singing group, all leading up to end of term showcases and Sing Days in local venues. Watch this space!