Music and dance project wins award

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A music and dance project commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War has won a prestigious award.

Dark Clouds are Smouldering into Red involved more than 100 local young people from Derbyshire earlier this year.

The education residency was led by Derby-based professional orchestra Sinfonia Viva in partnership Derby LIVE, Derby Museums and the Tom Dale Company.

The residency has won the Young People in Heritage award at the eighth Derbyshire Heritage Awards, which celebrate work taking place in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the county and reward best practice.

The local project involved more than 150 pupils from primary schools, Derby Moor Community Sports College and Music and Dance students from Derby College.

They visited Derby Museum and Art Gallery for an inspiration day, where they met a role-playing WW1 soldier and nurse to show them what life would have been like at the trenches, explored archive pieces and artefacts and looked at images from the time of the war.

They then worked with award winning composer James Redwood and Viva musicians to compose their own songs and music. They have also devised dance pieces with choreographer Tom Dale.

All of the groups then came together for a final rehearsal before performing alongside Viva.

Dark Clouds are Smouldering into Red – inspired by Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem How To Die - has since then continued with a regional tour of education residencies in Mansfield; East Lindsey in Lincolnshire and in Scunthorpe.

Sinfonia Viva composer and workshop leader James Redwood explained: “We are delighted that the quality of this work has been recognised with a Derbyshire Heritage Award.

“The whole project has been about inspiring the young people to think more about the feelings and emotions of war both from the point of view of the soldiers and their families at home.

“They have really engaged with the subject - writing words for the songs and composing the music which they will perform playing a wide range of instruments.

“The performances that have already taken place in Derby and Lincoln in the first stage of the tour have been very moving. The music and dance tell different stories from the period and finish on a thoughtful but upbeat note with the sun rising out of the muddy trenches.”

The project has been backed by a wide range of sponsors and supporters, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Rolls-Royce plc, The Bergne Copland Trust, Orchestras Live, Derbyshire Community Founation and Tom Carey Fund and the extended tour has been made possible by a £89,118 Strategic Touring grant from Arts Council England.