Musical Tour to Coutances
24th-27th February 2014
A group of five local students and three teachers from the academy spent three musical days in France with the Ecole de Musique de Coutances, the music service for Coutances and the surrounding area. The Jersey students joined forces with their French counterparts to deliver three concerts during their tour, performing to over five hundred people during their stay.
This is the second leg of the new exchange programme between the Jersey Academy of Music and the Coutances music service, established through the St Ouen’s Twinning Association and supported by the Jersey Arts Trust. In April 2013 a group of wind students visited Jersey, performing at Georgetown Methodist Church, Les Landes Primary School, and St George’s Church, in the Coutances Music Service Residency.
Rehearsals for this tour began at the start of the Spring Term, when the students devised a programme with teacher Claire Boleat to prepare for the tour, based on a mixture of popular light pieces and more classical flute ensemble repertoire:
The group travelling to Coutances comprised five students in total – four flutes accompanied by violin/piano, and was led by flute teacher Claire Boleat along with Emmanuelle Dumas and Chris George.
During the three day tour the students firstly had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral and Museum during the first morning, and this concluded with a guided tour of the Town Hall followed by a Welcome Reception from Josette Leduc, Minister for Culture (pictured centre below), with members of the St Ouen/Coutances Twinning Committee and teachers from the Ecole de Musique de Coutances:
Following lunch the visiting students gave a schools concert at the Coutances Primary School to over two hundred French children aged 6-11yrs, in which they performed a mixture of lighter repertoire including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang complete with piccolo and swanee-whistle:
That evening the group gave their first public concert at Saint Sauveur Lendelin, in which they met the group of young French flute students with whom they would be rehearsing the following day. This concert gave all the students the opportunity to perform their ensemble repertoire, and the concert ended with a ‘public rehearsal’ in which all the students performed together the combined piece they had prepared in advance for the first time…in front of the audience! Thankfully this went well and brought the concert to a fun conclusion.
The following day was dedicated to rehearsals with the combined Jersey/French students, in which they prepared a French suite for flute choir entitled Sardanes, by Joubert, to perform in the final public concert that evening. The three flute teachers led one movement each, and pictured is Claire Boleat rehearsing the second movement:
There wasn’t a single seat spare at the concert hall at the Ecole de Musique de Coutances that evening, and the concert featured not only the ensemble works from the various flute groups, but also gave each of the Jersey students the opportunity to perform a solo. The concert concluded with the combined performance of the Sardanes, and one nice addition to the performance were the ‘Concert T-Shirts’ designed by Lauren Gallaher, one of the Jersey flautists, who created T-Shirts for all the students to keep as a souvenir of the project:
We would like to thank all the organisations involved in this project, the Ville de Coutances, Ecole de Musique de Coutances, St Ouen’s Twinning Association, and Jersey Arts Trust, for enabling this project to take place, and plans are underway for a large-scale flute project in Jersey next year.