Beam up the beats

29th June 2007 at 01:00
Young musicians can now experience a wake-up call of a different kind, as Marian Blaikley explains

Group musical composition can feel like a grand achievement for primary school children. But what if your work was eventually beamed across space? This was the goal for 80 pupils aged 10 and 11 from St Barnabas' Church of England Primary in Openshaw, Manchester.

They were one of three schools in the area competing to produce a short piece of music - a "wake-up call" - one of which would be heard by cosmonauts on the International Space Station.

Each school was assisted by musicians from the Manchester Camerata, one of England's leading chamber orchestras. A day of workshops at St Barnabas'

touched on scientific topics, including the nature and speed of sound, the reason why there is silence in space, and demonstrations with liquid nitrogen. Then they used images from the Hubble space telescope to think about sound they might use to depict space.

The winning wake-up call was a vocal piece by Wyche Primary School in Nantwich, Cheshire. Romanie, a St Barnabas' pupil who played African drums, says: "I didn't mind that our piece didn't win because I knew we all did our best."

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