National Centre for Early Music

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Minster Minstrels - Laura Soper

Minster Minstrels is York's youth early music ensemble for school age musicians of any instrument. Directed by Heather Moger, the Minster Minstrels learn how to interpret early music with authentic character and style. They perform regularly, including appearances at York Early Music Festival and York Early Music Christmas Festival. There are also opportunities to work with professional musicians in workshops and master-classes and to attend early music concerts to hear and see them in action. Minster Minstrels is run as a partnership between the NCEM and the City of York Council's York Arts Academy with support from The Mayfield Valley Arts Trust.
"Minster Minstrels gave me the opportunity to delve into a world of music that I previously didn't know existed. Early music isn't really talked about at school, so it was great learning about it in a practical way at Minster Minstrels. It is challenging and rewarding to play and gives you a head start with all other types of music ,as your abilities to listen, hold your own line and be comfortable with complex rhythms strengthen so much.

"As part of the vocal ensemble, I was given the chance to do things I never thought I'd do, such as to perform in the Royal Albert Hall and to have a principal role in Venus and Adonis on BBC Radio 3 [the Theatre of the Ayre's production of Blow's Venus and Adonis, directed by Elizabeth Kenny, in the 2010 York Early Music Festival]. It gave me real confidence in myself, as I felt that what I was doing was worthwhile and respected. I am now pursuing my interest in performing by auditioning for drama schools where I hope to study acting."