Apr 2015 – Coutances Musical Exchange

21st-24th April 2015


Jersey young musicians had the opportunity to perform side by side with musical friends from Coutances in a series of concerts.  The exchange link between the Jersey Academy of Music and the Ecole de Musique de Coutances was formed in 2012 through the St.Ouen’s Twinning Association, and in 2013 an trio of young musicians from Coutances visited the island, which was then reciprocated in 2014 when seven local academy students visited Coutances.  This time round, a six-strong French flute ensemble visited Jersey, led by their teacher Pascale Mabire.


Coutances/Jersey ensemble with Andy Harvey


The residency began with rehearsals in which the French and Jersey students met for the first time and put together the various pieces of music they had learnt in advance, led by local academy tutors Claire and Andrew Harvey.  On the Wednesday morning, the French musicians performed a schools concert at Janvrin Primary School, introducing the various types of flute, including piccolo and bass flute, and one particular highlight was the Arabian Dance performed at the end with the support of the schoolchildren on various percussion instruments.  That evening the combined Jersey/Coutances ensemble gave their first concert at St.George’s Church, St.Ouen.  The audience were treated to a wide range of solo and ensemble pieces, culminating in a massed group performance of Chitty Bang Bang.


Coutances ensemble at Les Landes Primary School


The following day the French group were back at St.Ouen, performing to Les Landes Primary School, and many of the children were already familiar with Coutances through the parish’s link.  That evening the combined local and French students gave their second concert at Georgetown Methodist Church, marking the church’s 171st concert in their series.


Coutances/Jersey ensemble at Georgetown Church


The final schools concert took place the following morning at Victoria College Preparatory School, in which all the instruments were showcased with the support of various academy tutors.  By the conclusion of the tour, the visiting students had performed to over six hundred schoolchildren. Plans are in place for local academy students to travel to Coutances next year to continue the exciting exchange.