Minster Minstrels - York's youth early music ensemble
Minster Minstrels is a chamber ensemble for young musicians of any instrument (Grade 3 upwards) who are interested in studying early music - music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque - and learning about how it might have sounded when it was first performed. The ensemble is directed by Heather Moger and meets from 11.00-12.30 on Saturday mornings in term time at Canon Lee School, as part of York Arts Academy.
The Minster Minstrels explore the attractive and varied repertoire of early music through listening and playing, often with only one or two to a part. They consider the historical context of the pieces and learn how to interpret them with authentic character and style. There are opportunities to work with professional musicians in workshops and master-classes and to attend early music concerts to hear and see them in action. The experience gained can also be invaluable for those players who are working towards their Arts Award (see below). See the review of a recent concert given by Rachel Podger, Pamela Thorby and Peter Seymour, written by Minster Minstrel clarinettist Molly Killeen.
Each year the John Marvin Achievement Award is presented to the player who has displayed the highest level of commitment, promise and achievement over the year. The winner in 2012 was Anna Hughes.
Minster Minstrels perform at least once each term, appearing regularly at York Early Music Festival and York Early Music Christmas Festival. In the summer term of 2012 they travelled to London to take part in a massed concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (click here for details and photos) and gave concerts at York Early Music Festival and York Youth Music Festival. In previous years they have performed at the York Mystery Wagon Plays, the Merchant Adventurers' 650th anniversary celebrations, King's Place in London and as part of the York Massed Choir at the Music for Youth Schools Prom in the Royal Albert Hall in 2009. Some took the parts of Cupids in the Theatre of the Ayre's production of Venus and Adonis, directed by Elizabeth Kenny, in the 2010 York Early Music Festival.
If you are interested in joining the Minster Minstrels, please contact the NCEM on 01904 632220 or email email@example.com . Minster Minstrels is run as a partnership between the National Centre for Early Music and the City of York Council's York Arts Academy with support from the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust.
Director Heather Moger also runs Young Minstrels, a recorder ensemble for players aged 8-11 years. For further details click here .
'I have learned lots of new things like the history behind the music and about how dances and dance steps affect how we play the music.'
'I appreciate the superb standard of performance. Whatever level they have reached the standard is truly excellent due to parts being allocated depending on each musician's personal strengths and those of their instruments.'
Minster Minstrels and the Arts Award
The NCEM offers Arts Award to all members of Minster Minstrels and Young Minstrels. Four of the members are currently working towards their Bronze Arts Award, supported by their adviser, director Heather Moger. Belonging to the Minster Minstrels helps improve their playing standard, giving them performance challenges to aim for. For example, being largely a one-to-a-part ensemble helps build confidence, and players are often give solos. The Minster Minstrels also gives them other valuable experience relevant to the Arts Award, with opportunities to share and develop their leadership skills, meet professional musicians and review arts events (see below). Click here to read about the Minster Minstrels' project with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
For more about the NCEM as an Arts Award Supporter click here
Read more here:
Rachel Podger, Pamela Thorby, Peter Seymour:
Concert at Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, November 7th 2012