Hear and Now

Over the past six years the Philharmonia has worked in Queens Park, Bedford, with the Tibbs Dementia Foundation’s Music 4 Memory (a singing group for people living with dementia and their carers) and Fusion Youth Singing (a teenage vocal/instrumental ensemble), on an intergenerational community creative project entitled Hear and Now.

Project leader Tim Steiner and members of the Philharmonia work closely with participants to create and compose original music, both vocal and instrumental. Inspiration comes directly from the participants via discussion, reminiscences and creative workshops.

2013 brought an expansion of Hear and Now to involve more community groups and augmented vocal and instrumental forces. Building on the successes of previous years, Tim Steiner used musical material generated in workshops in a newly commissioned piece entitled Nonsense Songs, performed in the Bedford Corn Exchange on 21 July 2013.

Hear and Now 2013 was constructed of the following elements:

  • A mentoring programme imparting ambassadorial and music leader skills to be used during the project and beyond with Arts Award Bronze accreditation earned.
  • Creative intergenerational workshops, producing lyrics and music in a fusion of styles/genres. Workshops were led by Tim Steiner and involved Philharmonia musicians.
  • Instrumental coaching by Philharmonia musicians.
  • Vocal coaching by Jeni Melia.
  • A large-scale, high quality performance of original material, showcasing of the cultural and musical diversity of Queens Park and beyond.

Hear and Now is a unique community music collaboration, bringing together a diverse cross-section of the local community. Performing groups in 2013 included Carers in Bedfordshire, Concord Singers, Da Capo String Ensemble, the First Generation Italian Club, First Tuesday Singers, Fusion Youth Singing, Music 4 Memory, North Bedfordshire Youth Chamber Orchestra, members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Promethidion, Queen’s Park Academy, 21st Century Education Trust Singers, plus many more instrumentalists.

Hear and Now 2013 was very proud to recieve the Community Hub Music Award for Nonsense Songs at Music for Bedford Borough's inaugral Gala Awards event at the Bedford Corn Exchange on 26 June 2014, an annual event run by the hub recognising the achievements of local musicians, teachers, projects and events.

Hear and Now 2014
2014 saw the culmination of the sixth annual project. In May 2014 participants were invited to visit the Philharmonia's London home, the Southbank Centre, where they experienced a working rehearsal and took part in an afternoon workshop once again led by Tim Steiner and supported by Philharmonia musicians, before the Orchestra and Tim returned to Queens Park in June to take part in an intimate creative weekend.

The London visit on 31 May 2014 provided participants with the following:

  • An opportunity to visit the Royal Festival Hall, bridging the gap between Queens Park and the home of the Philharmonia Orchestra and contextualising the work of Bedford’s resident orchestra
  • An insight into the intricacies of a working rehearsal of a professional symphony orchestra under the direction of renowned conductor Maestro Yuri Temirkanov
  • The possibility to ask questions and enter into discussion with world-class musicians in a relaxed, safe environment
  • An occasion to explore the vibrant South Bank and all it has to offer culturally
  • A platform to revisit Nonsense Songs and build creatively on the repertoire heard during the rehearsal in an afternoon workshop under the direction of leading music education specialist Tim Steiner.

The creative weekend in Queens Park, Bedford in June 2014 consisted of:

  • A two day creative project for Fusion Youth Singing and Music 4 Memory in an intimate and collaborative setting to improvise and compose.
  • An opportunity to work with poet Dean Parkin to create original poetry and words, which was then put to music by the participants under the guidance of Tim and the Philharmonia musicians.
  • A short informal performance presenting the work created to a small audience of family and friends.

Support

Hear and Now is presented in partnership with Orchestras Live, and is made possible due to the generous support of the following organisations: Harpur Trust, NADFAS, The Neighbourly Charitable Trust, Orchestras Live, The Steel Charitable Trust, Simon Whitbread Charitable Trust, The Wixamtree Trust and Fusion Youth Singing.

The future of Hear and Now depends on continued fundraising; if you would like to make a contribution please click here.