Magical journey for families

mouse%201Sinfonia Viva will be taking young children and their families on a magical journey across the world as part of the nationwide Family Arts Festival next month.

The Derby-based Orchestra, led by conductor Alistair Malloy and composer Jack Ross, will be performing ‘I Have To Leave My House’ at an interactive family concert at the Assembly Rooms on Friday November 1 from 1.30pm.

The concert features songs and stories based on a specially commissioned book about a mouse who has to leave his house to escape a hungry cat as well as a host of other well-known musical classics.

The performance marks the finale of a unique education music and literacy project by the Orchestra who have been working with its youngest ever participants.

The Orchestra, which has won national acclaim for its education work throughout the region, has been introducing the stories and songs to children aged two to five at a series of workshops at the Becket Children’s Centre on Stockbrook Street and the nearby Play and Learn nursery in Carlton Road.

Many of the 40 children involved will be attending the performance alongside other young families who will leave the November 1 concert with a copy of the book, created by celebrated writer Hazel Gould and CD of the songs composed by Viva’s award-winning Jack Ross to enjoy at home.

The book, which has been specially commissioned by Viva, tells the enchanting story of the mouse hero who travels around the world visiting many different places including the rainforest, desert, ocean, Antarctic and big city in search of a new home that will be safe from the feline menace.

Intertwined with Hazel and Jack’s pieces, the mouse’s adventures around the world will be illustrated by Viva at the interactive family concert with a selection of fabulous and well-known classic melodies.

These will include Greig’s sprightly Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt, the traditional Cuban Peanut Vendor song and equally traditional English Sailor’s Hornpipe, plus Gershwin’s swingalong Walking the Dog, Fonteyn’s at-the-gallop Pop Looks Bach, and Buttall’s energetic Samba alla Turca – based on Mozart’s famous melody.

Sinfonia Viva Education manager Wenna Stockdale explained: “The education project and performance of ‘I have to Leave My House’ project has been specially designed to be part of the Family Arts Festival which the Orchestra has been heavily involved with nationally.

“As well as working specifically with these pre-school children to introduce them to music and story-telling in a fun and interactive way, we have printed 300 editions of Hazel’s wonderful book, each which come with a CD, ‘I Have To Leave My House’ for the workshop participants and young audience members, to encourage families to sing and read together at home.

“The book is very child friendly with beautiful illustrations that introduce children whatever their reading and English speaking skills to the pleasure of books and the written word.

“The workshops and concert will also develop the children’s listening, participation and literacy skills in a fun and inclusive way.”

She continued: “This has been an exciting venture for Viva. We work with young people throughout the East Midlands and beyond and have two residencies in Derby a year involving primary, secondary and college students but this is the youngest group of children in Derby that we have worked with.”

The project has been supported by Rolls-Royce plc, Derby City Council, Derby LIVE, Derbyshire Community Foundation, Orchestras Live and the Tom Carey Fund which supports projects in the Abbey Ward of the city.

Tickets for the family concert on November 1 cost just £5 and are available from the Derby LIVE box office, Tel: 01332 255800 or