Hackney Music Development Trust   I Can Sing!

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I Can Sing! The Hackney Chronicles




Commissioned by HMDT with funds from:

Made possible with the generous support of:

The Britten-Pears Foundation

The Woodroffe Benton Foundation

Peters Edition is proud to publish Jonathan Dove and to be associated with his contribution to the music for children and his commitment to the community with works such as The Hackney Chronicles, The Palace in the Sky, On Spital Fields and The Crocodiamond (or Rita and the Wolf) a guide to the orchestra based on an original text by best-selling children’s author Anthony Horowitz. Peters Edition has developed a burgeoning catalogue of important education titles for major English examining boards, Edexcel, AQA & Rockschool at GCSE and GCE Advanced Levels. Also, at Foundation Stage, KS1 and Lower KS2, Language Through Music (a series of 3 songbooks with CDs), brings to life, through song and actions, the process of developing and nurturing knowledge and understanding of the English Language.

Ken Howard
Dylan Collard


I Can Sing! –
The Hackney Chronicles

I Can Sing! is a unique and innovative cross-curricular programme in which The Hackney Chronicles, a new children's opera for primary schools by leading British composer Jonathan Dove and librettist Alasdair Middleton (focusing on four stories from different periods in Hackney's history), is performed, stage-managed, designed, marketed and produced by the students on the school site with the aid of a small professional team. The hugely popular project, which has already reached 11 Hackney schools, is a wonderful opportunity for students to work with professional artists to develop their skills and talents and improve their confidence, behaviour, team work and academic achievement.

I Can Sing!

Designed as a means of introducing the curriculum through the arts, the project begins with class work using a specially created teachers' pack offering a multi-disciplinary approach to learning by linking the subject matter covered in the piece to core curricular subjects. Students also visit relevant museums and sites, to participate in specifically designed activities.

I Can Sing!

An artistic team of stage director, music director and technical director (bringing a professional set and period costumes), then work for four weeks in school with two Key Stage 2 classes to produce the opera. Students form a company and audition for roles covering all aspects of the production including performance, stage management, props, lighting, marketing and publicity. At the end of each residency, they perform a high quality musical piece, for their parents, friends and the rest of their school.

I Can Sing!
I Can Sing!

JDJonathan Dove
Jonathan’s operas include the airport-comedy Flight premiered at Glyndebourne in 1998 and broadcast on Channel 4 which has toured to St Louis, Boston and next year Adelaide, Siren Song, L’Augellino Belverde, four large-scale community operas (including Palace in the Sky for English National Opera and HMDT), a church opera, Tobias and the Angel and the television opera When She Died… (2002). His choral music includes the song cycle The Passing of the Year, Köthener Messe for SATB choir and chamber ensemble, The Far Theatricals of Day, settings of Emily Dickinson for soloists, choir, brass quintet and organ, and several anthems and carols, among them The Three Kings, In Beauty May I Walk, I Am the Day and Run, Shepherds, Run! Theatre work includes music for The National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Almeida Theatre. Artistic Director of the Spitalfields Festival, his recent community cantata On Spital Fields was premiered there with great success this year.



I Can Sing!
The opera brought the best out of every single child in a way that was quite simply miraculous! it reminded me of exactly what the best education should look like. The children learnt so much history, art, literature, PSCHE and other subjects through the highly motivating vehicle of the opera. There was a purpose to everything they researched, wrote about and discussed. ...they will never forget the knowledge, skills and experience of performing in The Hackney Chronicles. Jacqueline Bruton -Simmonds, Headteacher Jubilee School 2002

I Can Sing!
Kids came away from the experience saying history was their favourite (new found) subject. The children engaged in additional historic research. It was an invaluable teaching and learning experience, for all involved. This type of project is state of the art learning and teaching – theory and practise coincide with high quality product. Interactive learning at its best. I'm impressed by this visionary approach. Apart from extensive academic development the holistic approach of the opera permeated the classes, personal development, relationships and their positive growth. Children took responsibilities undreamed of and responded to the high expectations of the overall opera programme. Seeds have been sown for future creative experiences. It was highly inclusive - all children, staff were involved as much as possible. Sue Hutchinson, Teacher Northwold School 2004

I just wanted to say what an impact you and the Trust have had on my son's life, I have seen a confidence in Zac that I have never seen before also there was a light in his eyes and an enthusiasm for life while taking part in the opera. Thank you again to everyone that made life more enjoyable for them, even if it was for a short time. Parent at Whitmore School 2004

When we were rehearsing and running through the whole thing it made me feel like we were actually the people in it. We were the history. I kept on thinking why do we have history teachers when we have the opera project! Jennifer, Millfields School

I Can Sing!
I will remember it for the rest of my life. It will be something I will look back at and be proud of. After this chance I learnt a few things about history and I have learnt how to express myself more and I have learnt to build up my confidence and I can communicate with other kids easier now. I think the whole thing is a great project and a chance for kids.
Lizzie, Lauriston School



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