The culmination of the project – an end or a beginning?

Bellfolk’s concert featuring the premiere of Peter Yarde Martin’s new composition, Starsong and Nocturne, took place in May in Norwich. The ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme was a challenge in many ways for the team - not least ringing ‘randomly’ and following non-standard notation.

We were paired with a lovely, brilliant composer and supported by a super mentor, Jenni Pinnock. They made all things possible and we worked together to produce the final performance. The whole experience had been exciting and stimulating for us from the start but on the concert day it was a whirl of activity.

We intended to be relaxed for the interviews and to ignore the fact that we were being recorded by the BBC. Easier said than done!

Having practised in the venue the Thursday before, we thought we knew exactly what to expect on Saturday, but the Church looked somewhat different when festooned with wires and microphones. Nevertheless, we sorted out safe routes to walk, checked bells carefully, concentrated like mad, counted wildly and DID IT. Looking back, I can even say that we really enjoyed it!

Leading up to the concert, there was an incredible amount of planning and hard graft, but the feeling of relief afterwards was almost tangible! After a little while to ‘take breath’, we were left with the question, “So, what happens now?” A few weeks down the line, we have more planning underway. We may manage a re-run of the piece in London with Peter and his choir or may organise another event next Summer under the stars in Norfolk.

Peter has already written another piece for the group and we are considering asking him to do a commission for a future event.

So, how do we feel about the Adopt a Composer Project now that it is completed? All our feedback has been positive! When we discussed it as a group, these were our main highlights:

We enjoyed the challenges of the piece.

We felt fortunate to have worked with such lovely people.

We became a more cohesive team as we worked to a common task and we gained extra musical insight from the experience.

Lastly, and most importantly, we are grateful to Making Music, Sound in Music and their associates for giving us the chance to be part of the project. 

Thank you!