With a strong commitment to maintaining connections with our audiences during the many challenges that COVID-19 has brought to us all, one of the opportunities we have grasped, has been to take this time to adjust to new ways of working, try new ideas, learn additional skills, and to work with new artists across the region.
This weekend we are delighted to be releasing two new digital projects, collaborating with local author and musician Joey Walter and poets Brenda Read-Brown, Nigel Kent and Aliyah Begum.
Building on our new digital storytelling activity, we bring Joey Walter's book Jazz in the Jungle to life with our very own CBSO Jungle Jazz Band. Jazz in the Jungle is Joey’s first children’s book which tells the tale of loveable Oscar the Ocelot who wants to learn to swing like the jazz greats he idolises. It is illustrated by fellow musician and creative Ning-ning Li whose vibrant images bring the fable to life, with music written by Joey herself. This fantastic and engaging piece for all the family will be available to view this Saturday 20th March across our social media channels and in our very own digital Story Corner.
Our second release this weekend is a response to Spring's Calling, the latest in a series of regional online events co-ordinated by the West Midlands Culture Response Unit which marks one year since the country went its first lockdown, and also coincides with World Poetry Day on Sunday 21st March. We asked three very distinctive poets to write a poem based on Spring, but crucially inspired by a piece of music - in this case, a performance of Morning from Grieg's Peer Gynt that we recorded back in 2019 with our Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. In this recording, Mirga brings a fresh, bright energy to Morning which we felt would be the perfect inspiration. Look out for #Springcalling from 20th March to see and hear a variety of short performances from arts organisations across the region, and catch CBSO's new piece across our social media channels over the course of the weekend.
Joey Walter is a musician and writer based in the UK’s second city, Birmingham. Passionate about performing since she learned to walk, her conjury with words began later after a vivid dream inspired her to take pen to paper.
Brenda Read-Brown: In 2001, Brenda Read-Brown gave up a secure career as a project manager to be a writer; it seemed a good idea at the time. She’s won many poetry slams, and performed her poetry on Radio 4, and in Texas, Denmark,the House of Lords, the middle of the Atlantic, and lots of festivals. Her most recent collection, Like love, was launched in November 2018. Brenda really enjoys helping other people find their own words, and she works with many people: prisoners, cancer patients, carers, GP patients, older people and young people. She says that every day is a privilege.
Nigel Kent is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019 and 2020) and a reviewer who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poetry Society, occasionally editing its workshop magazine. He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. In August 2020 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his pamphlet, Psychopathogen, which was nominated for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets and made the Poetry Society’s Winter List, 2020.
Aliyah Begum is a poet and performer, who has been published in several anthologies and is a commended Foyles Young Poet. She was Birmingham's Young Poet Laureate between 2018-2020. You can find Aliyah on Twitter @aliyahbegumx
Be sure to check out our social media channels this weekend to see the results of these exciting new collaborations and to see how different art forms can support, enhance and offer a different or new experience. And in the meantime, check out CBSO stay tuned, an online portal designed to help you stay connected to our Orchestra whilst we can’t play for you live.
The CBSO’s digital work has been made possible thanks to generous support from David and Sandra Burbidge, Jamie and Alison Justham, Chris and Jane Loughran, John Osborn, and Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund.
We are also grateful to the Clive & Sylvia Richards Charity, principal funder of the CBSO’s work with young people.