From the Caves to the Cathedral

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 9:45pm

WORDS and music inspired by visits to the ancient Beer Quarry Caves are to be performed by children and young people from across the region at a special concert in Exeter Cathedral in the New Year.

A collaboration between the Jurassic Coast Teaching Schools Alliance of 28 schools from Dorset, Devon and Somerset and Lyme Regis-based youth music charity B Sharp, the Beer Quarry Caves Concert on January 13 at 7.30pm marks the culmination of a year-long project that has seen 390 students and more than 45 teaching staff visit the historic caves at Beer where stone has been quarried for 2000 years and has been used to build Exeter and St Paul’s cathedrals, parts of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.

The performers will include students from the Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis; Colyton Grammar School and Holyrood Academy in Chard, and from four primary schools – St Michael’s and Mrs Ethelston’s in Lyme Regis, Marshwood Primary and Bridport St Mary’s.

“As the lead school in the alliance Woodroffe successfully bid for funding from the Department for Education to run cultural education workshops for teachers and to provide opportunities for community collaboration across the arts,” says Dot Wood, Director of Arts at Woodroffe.

“Through the past year we’ve organised staff training in poetry, stone carving, model/mask making, printing techniques and music composition. As a result of the workshops the schools have a range of work devised by the students which they are going to perform.”

The concert will also find award-winning poet Greta Stoddart reading a new work inspired by her visit to the caves and the children’s author Ellen Renner reading a specially commissioned short story.

Composer/music leader John K Miles has been working on B Sharp Voices, a dynamic creative singing project funded by Youth Music and West Dorset District Council designed to raise levels of aspiration in young people through group singing. A core group of older children with vocal coach Deborah Jordan, drummer Winston Clifford, guitarist Jack Ross and B Sharp music mentors Chloe Stratta and Jacques Verhaeren will join the 94-strong choir of primary school children for the concert in Exeter.

Tickets go on sale at Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre on December 10 priced £6 (£3 children and concessions). A special coach will be running from Lyme Regis to Exeter and seats can also be booked at the TIC.

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