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This video is a collaborative project between members of Chetham’s youngest string ensemble, Violetta, and four North West schools. The music was improvised and recorded by the Chetham’s pupils while learning and practicing at home during lockdown, and the visual artwork devised by children who were attending school during lockdown.

The first musicians were sent a poem by Emily Dickinson to kick start their creativity, and then a chain of 17 compositions and artworks was formed, each one inspiring the next.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

With thanks to:
Church of England School of the Resurrection, Manchester
King’s Leadership Academy, Bolton
St Mary’s R.C. Primary School, Swinton
Trinity C of E / Methodist Primary School, Chorley

I received a poem called “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson. This made me think of birds and birdsong when I read it. I then improvised, with the thought of birdsong in my head. It just came naturally, and I didn’t have to think about it very much. I really enjoyed doing it, especially the improvising. ~ Year 9 student

I really enjoyed the project as it was creative and fun to make music out of a piece of artwork. My picture was of a bird flying from a dark place to a light place, so for the dark bit I did a minor key, and for the light part I did a major key to show the change of environment. ~ Year 6 student

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