Education is central to CHOC’s vision. CHOC wants to share the excitement and passion of baroque opera with its local audience – of all ages. It does this by working with local schools, by providing opportunities for music students to perform alongside professionals, and through its distinctive study afternoons.
- Work with Schools
CHOC’s outreach to schools began in 2018 with two workshops for the Parkside Federation of three state secondary schools in Cambridge. Julian Perkins, soprano Susanna MacRae and violinist Karin Björk worked with over 30 students, who were encouraged to take an active role whatever their musical expertise. Students, parents and teachers were invited to the dress rehearsal of CHOC’s Rodelinda and one of the students took a role in the production itself. CHOC will actively seek similar collaborations in future.
Julian Perkins’ workshop at Parkside School (Cambridge) was highly anticipated by students and their patience paid off. Julian has a natural ability to motivate, interest and inspire students of all ages to come to know Baroque music, a genre that is undoubtedly complex and sometimes difficult for students to grapple with at first. The workshop included demonstrations using period instruments such as the harpsichord, as well as choral singing and musical analysis exercises. A really educational experience for students and we look forward to working with Julian again in the future.
James Griffin (Head of Music, Parkside Federation)
- Advanced music students
CHOC’s orchestra provides advanced music students with a rare opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside seasoned players in a complete production of a baroque opera, taking professional standards as read. For CHOC’s Rodelinda, principals from Sounds Baroque mentored and performed alongside talented students from Cambridge University, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Utrechts Conservatorium. In addition to performing in the opera, the students featured as soloists and chamber musicians with Julian Perkins in a Showcase Concert.
Performing with CHOC has been incredibly inspiring: the energy, knowledge and creativity that were put into Handel's Rodelinda created such a magnificent union among the instrumentalists, singers and audience. It seemed to be all part of one big family.
Rebecca Raimondi (violinist, Guildhall School of Music & Drama)
I was delighted and honoured to take part in CHOC’s Rodelinda. Not only did I have a chance to perform wonderful music, but also to learn by working alongside my teacher and other very experienced professional musicians. I am extremely grateful to CHOC for this unique opportunity, and very much hope to work with CHOC again.
Andrés Villalobos (oboist, Royal College of Music)
- Study Afternoon
With its illuminating study afternoons CHOC, in association with the Handel Institute, goes beyond the usual pre-performance talk by giving audiences the opportunity to engage with expert commentators, performers and creative artists who are keen to share their in-depth understanding. For Handel’s Rodelinda, the panel chaired by Dr Ruth Smith comprised Professor David Kimbell, Dr Andrew Jones, Dr Lawrence Zazzo, Julian Perkins (music director) and Max Hoehn (stage director).
I found the talk by Andrew Jones one of the most interesting pre-performance talks in any area that I have heard. To have a real expert showing the composer’s processes during composition, together with musical illustrations, was a delight. For me the ability to follow these compositional changes and illustrations with the score not only gave us the original evidence, but greatly assisted in understanding both the music and its creation.
Professor David Cardin (chemist and amateur musician)