The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Commonwealth Resounds Ensemble-in-Residence, the Dionysus Ensemble recently travelled to the Solomon Islands to lead a musical project for young people. Here is a report of the project, written by Ensemble Leader Léonie Adams.

Project Outline: 

The Piano Association of Solomon Islands (PASI), the music training organisation on The Solomon Islands, enables children to learn various instruments, not simply the piano. These children receive tuition only once or twice a year and must manage alone apart from that, with help only from untrained volunteers.

This project provided expert instrumental teaching for existing students in piano and violin as well as giving some children their first ever instrumental lessons, including the first ever cello lesson on the Islands!

Go Compose! 

The Dionysus Ensemble ran a “Go Compose Solomon Islands” day, which for the first time, introduced composition and trained the students not only how to create their own music, but to write it down. The day was focussed on music theory and notation practices as well as the importance of music being documented for posterity so that their music can be shared, performed by others and last into the future. Our students returned over the following few days with pages of newly created music, which they’d worked on at home after class, to ask advice, seek out new ideas and direction and to check their work with us. We performed and recorded all of their pieces for them so that each student now has a professionally performed record of their first piece.

Performance and Presenting Skills 

We held a performance and stage craft class working on presenting well to an audience, which is a highly valuable transferrable skill for job interviews. Solomon Islands has a very high rate of youth unemployment so this skill will put these students at an advantage in an incredibly competitive job market.

The idea of walking on to a stage with good posture, bowing and timing your performance were unfamiliar to these students, and the change by the end of this class was monumental.

Introducing the piece of music that they were about to perform was also a new challenge, and we discussed voice projection, clarity of speech and diction, as well as stage fright, nerves, courage and presenting a confident attitude to the audience.

We, in conjunction with the British High Commissioner, provided a high profile recital opportunity for three students at different levels from beginner to grade 8 at the British High Commission drinks reception for the Diplomatic Community, and about half of our students performed in their first ever public concert held at St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara. Some of our students not only performed their prepared music but also their own compositions, giving a world premiere of their works and a public outing of something created and performed entirely by them.

Every single student performed in a more informal concert on our final day at the Maranatha Hall. This gave everyone a chance to show their progress and development in a friendly and relaxed environment in front of family and friends.

Dionysus Ensemble Performances 

As a chamber ensemble, the Dionysus Ensemble performed at various diplomatic events for the British High Commission & the American Consul and also for Rotary Honiara, as well as at the Heritage Park Hotel, in the children’s ward of the Hospital and live on the radio for SIBC – Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Essential Skills for Life 

Music gives the children transferable skills such as teamwork, perseverance, working hard bringing results, maths & counting, listening, dedication, responding to others, physical & motor control & dexterity and social interactive skills. Participating in an ensemble enhances feelings of self-achievement, encourages people to overcome challenges, builds self-confidence, and raises determination to make more effort to meet group expectations regarding standards of playing. Music is giving these children a purpose, and a skill set which will help them to access further education, learning, jobs and to be able to deal well with social situations.

We have discovered innate and natural musical talent in these students, an enormous desire to learn, improve and develop and a commitment to their studies which is truly admirable. The children involved in this inaugural project came when they weren’t scheduled for a lesson just in case someone was late and they could have extra time, with a list of questions every day and with renewed vigour and interest as the project went on.

These children committed to this project with an intensity seldom seen by our team and were soaking up every scrap of knowledge that we could give them.

Impact and Sustainability 

“I couldn’t sleep last night because I wanted to practise!” – Reynard 15

“You taught me to be brave and to play the piano” – Juanita 8

“Great teachers and musicians. Loved learning from them and listening to them playing their instruments. Such great inspirations.” Ian 18

This project brought an exciting and invaluable range of experiences and opportunities to all involved in PASI which really spurred them on.

As well as working with the children, the Ensemble worked with local teachers and parents to share our teaching expertise & practice tips so that they will have a wider range of techniques and resources available to encourage and enthuse the children going forward.

The British High Commissioner, HE Brian Jones and Dionysus Ensemble Founder and Cellist, Léonie Adams, founded & opened a Commonwealth Music Library within Honiara public library so that donated sheet music and CDs are now freely available to anyone in the Solomon Islands to borrow. This invaluable resource was made possible by the incredibly generous donation of new books by Universal Editions London and will allow our students and anyone who is interested to discover new music to listen to and to read & learn.

Beyond this Project 

We would love to be able to continue the work that we started – to put in place regular teaching, a regular concert itinerary in which they could perform, to develop their composition skills, to increase the number of students able to have access to PASI and to take desperately needed resources such as instruments, spare strings, manuscript paper and music stands over for them.

We also want to develop their connections with local businesses to generate background music performance opportunities for the students, to widen the range of instruments taught and to link up PASI with the Police Band to put on a joint concert. This is just the beginning of structured music leaning and making in the Solomon Islands and the possibilities are enormous. With continued support and guidance, they want to set up a music hub where all musicians can come together to support each other, learn and develop as well as putting on performances, sharing resources and ideas. The students are willing, enthusiastic and a joy to teach, they expressed their gratitude so clearly in their attitude and progress over our project.

Sponsors 

This project would not have been possible without the kind and generous support of our sponsors and supporters.

The British High Commission, Honiara

Solomon Airlines

Universal Edition

The Mercers’ Company

The Royal Society of St George

Imperial Travel, Solomon Islands

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Sharing Musical Skills: Antigua and Barbuda!

Donate now

The Commonwealth Resounds is delighted to share musical experiences with young musicians in Antigua and Barbuda. In collaboration with UK conservatoires and specialist music schools, we have supported the nurturing of young musical talent in the islands of Antigua and Barbuda following the devastating Hurricane Irma in 2017.

In 2019, as part of the Commonwealth’s 70th Anniversary celebrations, we created an exciting new training/skill-sharing programme for young musicians with the High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda, the Royal Over-Seas League and the Purcell School for Young Musicians.

During the Pandemic, visits to the island were limited; however, we are delighted to be returning with a new generation of musicians in 2023 – watch this space for updates!

Hurricane Irma hit Antigua

6th September 2017
06 September 2017
12:00 AM

Commonwealth Resounds began their first project

September 2017
September 30, 2017
12:00 AM

First meeting of Alison Cox MBE & Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda

The Antigua project starts to take shape
April 2018
April 02, 2018
12:00 AM

First international musician visits

July 7th -18th 2019
July 06, 2019
12:00 AM

Go Compose Antigua!

July 2019
July 10, 2019
12:00 AM

Pandemic online tuition

2020-2023
Many of the young musicians who travelled to Antigua in July remained in touch with Karen-Mae and ABYSO and continued teaching the young people online.
January 01, 2021
12:00 AM

Return to Antigua planned

2023

The team assembles and begins to plan the first return trip after the pandemic to collaborate with the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO)
October 09, 2022
12:00 AM

Project news

Day 4 in Antigua

Day 4 in Antigua

Day 4 in Antigua

Day 4 of our journey in Antigua began on a slightly quieter note, providing a peaceful backdrop to the bustling energy that was soon to follow for the musicians. The calm of the morning was not afforded to our composers who devoted their time to delivering a Continual Professional Development (CPD) session. The location? Antigua All Girls School in the vibrant city of St. John’s.

The session revolved around the vital task of supporting teachers in their approach to composition. This has started with general compositional techniques such as how to get children composing using a minute of silence, body percussion, improvisation. Teaching composition goes beyond mere techniques or theories. It’s about empowering educators to inspire creativity in their students, enabling them to craft their own unique musical narratives. It was a delight to engage with local teachers, and we felt a sense of shared understanding and passion that transcended cultural and geographical boundaries.

With the insightful morning session behind us, we shifted our focus to the afternoon rehearsal. There’s a certain magic that comes to life when an orchestra begins to work together. It’s not just about the notes on the page; it’s about the shared energy, the camaraderie, the silent understanding between each musician as they breathe life into the composition. This is something the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra have in bucket loads. We have always been so blown away by the energy and enjoyment that the young people show every time they pick up their instruments.

Our composers spent the afternoon leading a series of workshops. Each participant was encouraged to come up with a 3 or 4 note motif. This motif, simple as it may sound, was then used as the bedrock to develop intricate melodies. The exercise proved to be an engaging exploration into the transformative power of music. With just a few notes, we created a multitude of melodies, each imbued with the composers own character and emotion.

As the day drew to a close, we embarked on a culinary adventure. The evening meal introduced us to a local Antiguan favourite – the ‘Patty’. Made with a flaky pastry crust and filled with a spiced chicken filling, the Antiguan ‘Patty’ is comfort food at its best. It was the perfect end to a day that was as fulfilling as it was exhilarating.

To close our day, we enjoyed the ABYSO Initials and Juniors recital. This younger group has been set up to train up the next generation of musicians for the ABYSO senior orchestra. Having enjoyed an astonishing display of talent, we can tell you that ABYSO are certainly going to be safe and secure for the foreseeable future. The concert finished with the Commonwealth Resounds joining the Junior orchestra to support them as they performed a selection of pieces.

This day has taken a little longer to write up than usual, you’ll find out why soon!

Day 3 in Antigua in  pictures

Antigua day 3

Day 3 in Antigua

Hello once again from Antigua!

Day 3 opened up a plethora of thrilling experiences and a hint of local delights. Starting the day with a bang, we marked our presence on ABS TV’s popular breakfast show ‘Antigua and Barbuda Today’, a fantastic platform to showcase our musical journey and the incredible work we’ve been accomplishing. Ellen spoke on the sofa alongside the incredible Clarita from ABYSO and together they described the journey that everyone had been on already and highlighted the exciting concerts which will be taking place. Including the Junior recital tomorrow (July 11th) at 6:30 at Dean William Lake and the concerts later in the week with ABYSO which we have been rehearsing hard for. Our string quartet, Emily, Rebecca Peter and Emmi performed What a Wonderful World as a musical highlight.

As an entirely new event, Reuben, Ka Youn and Alison led professional development for music teachers on the island. The aim being to support composition teaching within the island and give teachers the confidence to approach creativity within composition too.

Over at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium, the morning transitioned into the afternoon rehearsals and a composition workshop  led by the trio of Reuben, Ka Youn and Alison. They introduced us to the concept of graphic scores, an innovative notation method using visual symbols to convey music. For the members of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO), this represented a novel approach to musical interpretation. They took to it admirably, and their debut performances using a graphic score were indeed an aural treat.

Following the composition workshop, we divided into our respective sections. Maestro Reuben guided the wind players while violist Peter took the string section. The objective was to refine our collective sound and explore the creation of ‘colours’ in music through the careful manipulation of bow speeds and pressures. It was a deeply engaging exercise that underscored the nuances of orchestral performance.

In the midst of these musically intense activities, we also managed to hit the airwaves once again. Peter, Ellen, and Connor made an appearance on the popular radio programme ‘We the People’. Their lively discussion and shared experiences added another dimension to our ongoing engagement with the local Antiguan media landscape.

To top off an eventful day, we were introduced to a local favourite – Ting. This traditional Antiguan drink, a fizzy grapefruit soda, proved to be a delicious hit among the team! It offered a refreshing escape from the tropical heat and left us all eager to explore more local culinary delights.

Looking back at Day 3, from sharing our music on national TV, delving into detailed workshops, engaging with the radio audience, to sipping on delightful local drinks, we’ve truly resonated with the vibrant pulse of Antigua. We’re buzzing with anticipation for what Day 4 will bring!

Day 2 in Antigua

Day 2 in Antigua

Day 2 in Antigua

Hello from Antigua! Day 2 greeted us with a stunning sunrise, the perfect remedy for the lingering jetlag that had everyone up and about by 4 a.m.! Luckily, the soothing blues of the Caribbean Sea were waiting for us. After an early morning dip, the aroma of a delightful Antiguan breakfast wafted across the beach, fresh mango is definitely the perfect start to a day.

As we bobbed and swam in the crystal-clear water, we soon discovered we had company. To our delight, we spotted a stingray, gliding with a gracefulness that was captivating to witness. Nearby, a Caribbean cushion starfish lay on the sandy floor, its bright colour a striking contrast to the pale seabed, serving as a wonderful reminder of the vibrant and diverse life beneath the sea’s surface.

Revitalised by our morning swim, we redirected our focus to the day’s musical exploits. In the afternoon, our driver Charles ferried us to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, a place usually echoing with the excitement of cricket, but today, it hummed with a different kind of rhythm. The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) was deep into their rehearsal when we arrived, their dynamic music filling the air with an electrifying energy.

We dispersed into our respective sections – strings, wind, brass, and percussion – each group dedicated to refining their parts, the stadium reverberating with the harmonies of each instrument in practice. The high point of our afternoon was a composition workshop led by our own Reuben and Connor. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for music were contagious, guiding us through the intricate process of composing and fine-tuning a musical piece. We were introduced to an experimental piece by the innovative composer, Pauline Oliveros. This immersive, exploratory composition tested our boundaries, and performing it together fostered a deeper connection amongst us and with the music.

As the afternoon sun cast longer shadows, we reconvened as a full orchestra, prepping for the forthcoming concerts. Under Maestro Roland’s baton, we practised for the performances on the 15th of July at the grand Weatherills Estate and the 16th at the Fisheries Complex on Barbuda. The orchestra is evidently in excellent shape and eager for the grand finale performances just a few days away.

Upon our return to the hotel, our string quartet assembled to prepare a special performance for the breakfast TV show ‘Antigua and Barbuda Today’ on ABS Television the following morning. It’s a thrilling chance for some of our string players to put together something fresh and new. Tomorrow also sees the first ever teacher CPD event for composition within Antigua. We’re looking forward to sharing more about these exciting developments tomorrow!

Day 1 in Antigua

Day 1 in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Day 1

Today was an exciting day for the 21 musicians travelling to Antigua with The Commonwealth Resounds, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of music and musicians across the Commonwealth, as we set off on a cultural exchange to the captivating island of Antigua.

Our day kicked off at Gatwick Airport, with the group meeting in person for the first time, full of anticipation and excitement. Instruments in hand and spirits buoyed, we were primed to embark on our adventure. We would like to pause to thank British Airways for their help getting all our instruments onto the plane.

On touching down in Antigua, we were greeted by Claudine and Karen Mae, The High Commissioner of Antigua. Their warmth and hospitality radiated through the welcome, we’re very grateful for their warm welcome and look forward to sharing our musical cultures.

The pace immediately picked up as our wind quintet was ushered to Pointe 99.1fm, where we had the opportunity to join the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, on his well-known evening programme, Browne and Browne. Alison and Reuben spoke at length on the station about our plans and excitement whilst we are here. Discussing all things music with Colin O’Neil the conversation was positive and he really emphasised the power that music can bring to all our lives, be that academic, social or just for our own pleasure. It was amazing to hear about all the musical opportunities that the island offers and shares with the world. This platform offered us more than just an introduction to Antiguan society; it was a precious opportunity to share our musical passion with the nation.

With the group struggling to fit into the studio. Our wind quintet, just one small component of The Commonwealth Resounds group, enchanted listeners with a captivating Disney medley.

As the programme closed, we were introduced to King Goldie, a Barbudan who plays a fabulous home-made instrument. Using waste materials he created a banjo like instrument out of a butter tin and shaft of wood found nearby, a wonderful way to use music as an environmental power for good. He performed the popular redemption song to which the entire studio sang along with joy.

Prime minister, Gastone Browne, thanking the group for their performance just hours after stepping off the flight from London.

During the programme, the Prime Minister spoke about his support for the arts, a sentiment that was heartening to hear. The arts are a bedrock of any society, and knowing they hold a place in the island’s leadership discussions underscored the significance of our cultural exchange.

We’ve hit the ground running with our cultural exchange. The maiden day perfectly encapsulated the mission of The Commonwealth Resounds. It showcased the power of music and culture to build bridges, foster understanding, and resonate with the shared spirit of humanity. The warm reception we’ve received matched the weather and the evident appreciation for the arts have set the tone for what promises to be a deeply enriching journey ahead.

The Commonwealth International Composition Award

The Commonwealth International Composition Award

Commonwealth International Composition Award

In association with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Purcell School for Young Musicians

Do you want to learn how to compose music?

A Connected Commonwealth is a Composing Commonwealth!

Her Excellency, Baroness Patricia Scotland

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

I have no doubt that the Composition Award will flourish and deliver some life-changing experiences for young people across the globe.

Paul Bambrough

Principal of the Purcell School, the oldest specialist music school on the Commonwealth

We are so excited about this initiative for young people!

Luis Dias

Musical Director, Child's Play, India

Composition is a very special and personal thing. I am excited to see what the results will be from the four pilot countries!

Geoff Parkin

Artistic Director, Royal Over-Seas League and Patron of the Commonwealth Resounds

I am delighted to hear that you are continuing to promote music within the Commonwealth, focusing upon its youth.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN

Latest news

The Commonwealth International Composition Award

The Commonwealth International Composition Award

Visit https://cicompositionaward.com/ The Commonwealth International Composition Award is open to young composers all over the world. We are offering exceptional levels of online training and support to all those who wish to take part. Four Commonwealth countries...

Launch of the Commonwealth International Composition Award

The Official Launch of the Commonwealth International Composition Award was held at Marlborough House on Tuesday 30th April. It was attended by many distinguished guests from the music profession and the Commonwealth and hosted by Zeb Soanes, BBC Presenter and Author....

Commonwealth Hurricane Support Concerts

Commonwealth Hurricane Support Concerts

In 2017, Hurricane Irma created great devastation, especially in the Commonwealth countries of Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.

Before CHOGM 2018, The Commonwealth’s Secretary-General appealed to all Commonwealth Accredited Organisations, asking them for some help and support. The Commonwealth Resounds, as a musical organisation wondered at first how we could possibly do anything to help. Then we had an idea!

We contacted many of our musical outreach partners in the UK – primary and secondary schools, individuals, music hubs and others – and asked them to consider running their own Hurricane Support Concerts, educating children and audiences about the Commonwealth, the Caribbean and hurricanes, and raising funds to rebuild cultural programmes in affected countries. There was a very positive response to this appeal! Schools in London, Hertfordshire, Manchester and Norfolk responded and created excellent concerts, raising funds for the hurricane victims.

The Commonwealth Hurricane Support Concerts programme is making excellent progress, and more concerts will be taking place in schools  throughout 2018 and 2019.

To offer a concert, find out more or to support for the programme in other ways please email Alison Cox OBE, Founder and Chair of Trustees, The Commonwealth Resounds at tcr2015@btinternet.com Alison will be delighted to hear from you, and will be able to answer all your questions.

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Dionysus Ensemble, Our Ensemble in Association

Dionysus Ensemble, Our Ensemble in Association

Ensemble In Association

A virtuosic chamber ensemble with a string quartet at its core, The Dionysus Ensemble is equally at home on the concert platform, playing for events in both formal and informal settings, as well as providing music education projects.

Find out more at thedionysusensemble.com

In 2021, the Dionysus Ensemble received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award and was selected by The British Council to represent the UK in their Australia Season in 2022. Additionally, in 2018, TDE became the first-ever professional musical ensemble to be officially attached to the Commonwealth.

As part of TDE’s Commonwealth work, the ensemble has delivered a Music for Social Change outreach project in The Solomon Islands and delivered an instrumental project bringing school children together as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival.

TDE was honoured to play at the Commonwealth Day service in 2019, which was broadcast live internationally from Westminster Abbey by the BBC. After the service, founder and Artistic Director Léonie Adams was presented to HM The Queen and senior members of the Royal Family and Government at the request of The Palace.

Since then, TDE has been invited to perform at private events for the Royal Commonwealth Society and at Marlborough House for Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, including for the inaugural Commonwealth Day Heads of State Banquet in 2020.

In 2020, The Commonwealth Secretariat commissioned TDE to create an online Commonwealth musical video with performers from each member nation coming together during the pandemic – the United Commonwealth Covid Music Project, which was followed in 2022 by a pan-Commonwealth music video for the Platinum Jubilee – New Every Morning.

The Dionysus Ensemble was commissioned by the Mayor of London in 2021 as part of his “Let’s Do London” campaign to provide a series of interactive Pop-Up performances in central London mainline train stations.

From 2013 to 2020, the string team from The Dionysus Ensemble ran three not-for-profit interactive children’s concert series. TDE has delivered many outreach projects, including poetry and music with vulnerable teenagers in Slough, a climate change music project for Jesuit Missions in three of their UK schools, and a workshop and performance project with children and community groups for HOMESlough as part of the COP26 climate change summit.

TDE has also released a world premiere recording of newly discovered music by William Herschel to critical acclaim as part of the bicentenary celebrations in 2022 for William Herschel.

The Dionysus team are all experienced educators, instrumental teachers, coaches, and outreach providers, and have taken musical projects into a wide range of communities. They explore music and communication through composition, improvisation, and performance with instruments, songs, and sounds, bringing a project to life through music in schools, nurseries, hospitals, prisons, and care homes.

One of The Dionysus Ensemble’s founding ethos is to bring live music into situations where none might be present.

Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Dionysus Ensemble in the Solomon Islands

The Commonwealth Resounds Ensemble-in-Association, the Dionysus Ensemble recently travelled to the Solomon Islands to lead a musical project for young people. Here is a report of the project, written by Ensemble Leader Léonie Adams.

Project Outline:

The Piano Association of Solomon Islands (PASI), the music training organisation on The Solomon Islands, enables children to learn various instruments, not simply the piano. These children receive tuition only once or twice a year and must manage alone apart from that, with help only from untrained volunteers.

This project provided expert instrumental teaching for existing students in piano and violin as well as giving some children their first ever instrumental lessons, including the first ever cello lesson on the Islands!

 

GoCompose White logo

 The Dionysus Ensemble ran a “Go Compose Solomon Islands” day, which for the first time, introduced composition and trained the students not only how to create their own music, but to write it down. The day was focussed on music theory and notation practices as well as the importance of music being documented for posterity so that their music can be shared, performed by others and last into the future. Our students returned over the following few days with pages of newly created music, which they’d worked on at home after class, to ask advice, seek out new ideas and direction and to check their work with us. We performed and recorded all of their pieces for them so that each student now has a professionally performed record of their first piece.

 

Performance and Presenting Skills

We held a performance and stage craft class working on presenting well to an audience, which is a highly valuable transferrable skill for job interviews. Solomon Islands has a very high rate of youth unemployment so this skill will put these students at an advantage in an incredibly competitive job market.

The idea of walking on to a stage with good posture, bowing and timing your performance were unfamiliar to these students, and the change by the end of this class was monumental.

Introducing the piece of music that they were about to perform was also a new challenge, and we discussed voice projection, clarity of speech and diction, as well as stage fright, nerves, courage and presenting a confident attitude to the audience.

We, in conjunction with the British High Commissioner, provided a high profile recital opportunity for three students at different levels from beginner to grade 8 at the British High Commission drinks reception for the Diplomatic Community, and about half of our students performed in their first ever public concert held at St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara. Some of our students not only performed their prepared music but also their own compositions, giving a world premiere of their works and a public outing of something created and performed entirely by them.

Every single student performed in a more informal concert on our final day at the Maranatha Hall. This gave everyone a chance to show their progress and development in a friendly and relaxed environment in front of family and friends.

Dionysus Ensemble Performances

As a chamber ensemble, The Dionysus Ensemble performed at various diplomatic events for the British High Commission & the American Consul and also for Rotary Honiara, as well as at the Heritage Park Hotel, in the children’s ward of the Hospital and live on the radio for SIBC – Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Essential Skills for Life

Music gives the children transferable skills such as teamwork, perseverance, working hard bringing results, maths & counting, listening, dedication, responding to others, physical & motor control & dexterity and social interactive skills. Participating in an ensemble enhances feelings of self-achievement, encourages people to overcome challenges, builds self-confidence, and raises determination to make more effort to meet group expectations regarding standards of playing. Music is giving these children a purpose, and a skill set which will help them to access further education, learning, jobs and to be able to deal well with social situations.

We have discovered innate and natural musical talent in these students, an enormous desire to learn, improve and develop and a commitment to their studies which is truly admirable. The children involved in this inaugural project came when they weren’t scheduled for a lesson just in case someone was late and they could have extra time, with a list of questions every day and with renewed vigour and interest as the project went on.

These children committed to this project with an intensity seldom seen by our team and were soaking up every scrap of knowledge that we could give them.

I couldn’t sleep last night because I wanted to practise!

Reynard, 15

You taught me to be brave and to play the piano

Juanita, 8

Great teachers and musicians. Loved learning from them and listening to them playing their instruments. Such great inspirations.

Ian, 18

This project brought an exciting and invaluable range of experiences and opportunities to all involved in PASI which really spurred them on.

As well as working with the children, the Ensemble worked with local teachers and parents to share our teaching expertise & practice tips so that they will have a wider range of techniques and resources available to encourage and enthuse the children going forward.

The British High Commissioner, HE Brian Jones and Dionysus Ensemble Founder and Cellist, Léonie Adams, founded & opened a Commonwealth Music Library within Honiara public library so that donated sheet music and CDs are now freely available to anyone in the Solomon Islands to borrow. This invaluable resource was made possible by the incredibly generous donation of new books by Universal Editions London and will allow our students and anyone who is interested to discover new music to listen to and to read & learn.

Beyond this Project

We would love to be able to continue the work that we started – to put in place regular teaching, a regular concert itinerary in which they could perform, to develop their composition skills, to increase the number of students able to have access to PASI and to take desperately needed resources such as instruments, spare strings, manuscript paper and music stands over for them.

We also want to develop their connections with local businesses to generate background music performance opportunities for the students, to widen the range of instruments taught and to link up PASI with the Police Band to put on a joint concert. This is just the beginning of structured music leaning and making in the Solomon Islands and the possibilities are enormous. With continued support and guidance, they want to set up a music hub where all musicians can come together to support each other, learn and develop as well as putting on performances, sharing resources and ideas. The students are willing, enthusiastic and a joy to teach, they expressed their gratitude so clearly in their attitude and progress over our project.

Sponsors

This project would not have been possible without the kind and generous support of our sponsors and supporters.

    • The British High Commission, Honiara
    • Solomon Airlines
    • Universal Edition
    • The Mercers’ Company
    • The Royal Society of St George
    • Imperial Travel, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Tour!

We are excited that our Ensemble in Association, the Dionysus Ensemble, is looking forward to a tour to the Solomon Islands. The group is looking forward to working with a number of organisations on the islands including the Piano Association of Solomon Islands (PASI) and several local teachers to share their international experience and provide world class performances. The group has a number of ideas which they hope to bring to fruition. Including, the formation of a National Youth Orchestra, supporting teaching around the Islands, presenting their world class performances to the community and passing on the love and joy of music to the next generation! The Islands are already preparing for their visit and newspapers have featured the group and some of their exciting plans. If you would like to support the Dionysus Ensemble’s tour to the Solomon Islands, click here.

Ensemble in residence

The Commonwealth Resounds continues to be very proud of its first-ever Ensemble-in Association, The Dionysus Ensemble. Cross-cultural musical projects run by these exciting, enterprising young musicians are highly valued by those involved, and the ensemble is flourishing. We look forward to future exciting collaborations during the term of their residency.