There is nothing as good for the soul as a bit of singing and dancing - something which the pupils at Ceara School know all too well! While Covid restrictions have prevented us from making music together in person for some time, this spring we were delighted to be able to deliver our Ceara Schools Online Workshop Project following its success in 2021. We welcomed back freelance project presenter and cellist Cecily Smith-Nesbitt, along with several familiar Ulster Orchestra faces, to facilitate these sessions. The participating pupils were encouraged to actively engage with the workshops through the creation of percussive music and communication accessibility was facilitated through the use of Makaton signing.
This year’s project was themed around 'Dance' and afforded a great opportunity to share some World music and traditional dances, which are highly gesturally stimulating, easy to follow and easy to take part in. The pupils particularly enjoyed Taba Naba, a children’s song and dance originating from the Torres Strait Islands near Australia. The workshops were delivered by video to four classes of Ceara school students aged eleven to nineteen over the course of several weeks. Each week, participating classes were filmed interacting with the music so that their engagement could be amalgamated into the following week’s workshop, for them to watch and enjoy.
As well as offering the pupils a chance to express themselves through music and dance, the workshops also gave opportunities to listen to short performances given by the orchestra musicians, with these quieter moments of music appreciation helping to improve wellbeing and promote relaxation for pupils and teachers alike.