More than 170 children from 10 special schools and schools with special needs provision, across Hampshire, joined together recently for an outer space themed multi-arts performance.
The event, organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, told the story of a fallen star and the adventures it has getting back to its place in the sky before it lost its shine. Between each song, schools performed their own dance and musical performances, culminating in the finale built around a song that had the message ‘everybody has a place to shine’ at its centre.
Commenting after the performance, Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “This annual performance by our special schools is a wonderful way to bring children together and inspire them. Music plays an important part of education for all children, particularly so for those with special needs – helping them to better express their feelings and emotions. Performances such as this, can help to motivate, raise self esteem and enhance communication and expression in children, where language can be a barrier.
“It was tremendous to see the children thriving in the sensory nature of performance – with the colourful costumes, use of parachutes, bubbles, confetti, lighting and screened animated films. The marvellous thing about music is that it is accessible to everyone, and I was immensely proud to see so many children from our special schools coming together in this way.”
Choirs of children from special schools in Basingstoke, Fareham, Havant, Test Valley and Winchester – sang songs they had been rehearsing since the beginning of the year. They were supported by the Baycroft School Brass Band. The space-themed story was inspired by Tim Peake’s own space adventure to the International Space Station that many schools are following, and was linked to key areas of learning about space from the science national curriculum.
Councillor Edgar, added: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the children to be involved in a big event, experiencing live music in a theatre and having the chance to sing as part of a larger community. They were able to celebrate a feast of visual responses to music and share the joy of making music together. A powerful and emotive experience, memories of which will last a lifetime, I have no doubt.”
Amongst the 150-strong audience at Ferneham Hall in Fareham, made up of parents and families, and alongside Councillor Edgar, were the Chairman of the County Council, Councillor Jonathan Glen, the Vice Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Chapman and the Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham.