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Opera for all

Our Junior School Choir performed Redflight Barcud this summer, a wonderful new bilingual chamber opera about saving the red kite - a bird native to Wales. The words are by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis and the music is by Richard Chew. The work was commissioned by the Welsh National Opera as the first in a trilogy for primary school children to raise awareness of conservation issues. The performance was the successful conclusion to a seven-week partnership with the WNO.

I had attended two training days at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (home of WNO) to learn the children's singing parts and some of the choreography, and returned with rehearsal notes and a CD. I had a couple of weeks to work with the school choir before the producer, Hannah Finch, brought a model of the set for a day's workshop. Sharon Richards, the musical director, came to check on our progress.

One afternoon we rehearsed with WNO and the children were captivated. The following day we performed the opera to the school and held an evening performance for parents. A huge thank you must go to the WNO and to MultiA, the charitable organisation who selected us for the project and secured the funding.

Carole Willows Deputy head and music subject leader, Sea Mills Junior School, Bristol LEA

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