Education comprised 75% of the work done by Vocal Futures. For each production we recruited a new group of young people (aged 16-22) to take part in a series of workshops relating to the concert, and the music being performed. Called Young Ambassadors, they all had the opportunity to access our series of specially designed educational events as well as the concert itself.
Starting in October 2013, all 300 Young Ambassadors took part in one or more of a series of workshops to introduce them to Haydn’s Creation. These included sessions uncovering the music itself with professional musicians, or the work's history and context with leading musicologists, or taking a broader look at the highly topical creationism-evolution controversy and the impact of Big Bang theory with leading astronomers, including Professor Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society. They also had the opportunity to attend an open orchestral rehearsal, led by the celebrated cellist Guy Johnston, in which they learnt first-hand about how an orchestra works and familiarised themselves with Haydn's sublime music in preparation for the main performance.
Running alongside our intensive musical and contextual workshops, we devised a series of industry-linked workshops, covering aspects of technical production, design, PR, programme writing, and music psychology. Each Pod (partner organisation) participated in a workshop focusing on one of these areas, and produced something of concrete value to the production and project, such as video imagery for use in the performance or a contextual essay on creationism for the concert programme.
At an important stage in their lives, the Young Ambassadors had an experience that they would otherwise not have in everyday life - a chance to encounter an extraordinary art form and a whole host of career opportunities within the music and production industries. They took part in a learning experience of the highest quality and have the satisfaction of knowing they have contributed in some practical way to the success of our final production, tying them into the performance through their investment in creating 'The Creation'. Whilst watching the final production, the Young Ambassadors had the excitement and satisfaction of seeing the fruits of their work contributing to its success and impact on the audience.
For six months following the performances in December 2013, the Young Ambassadors were invited to attend further classical concerts for free and take part in music workshops.