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Gibraltar Literary Festival! 

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THE GIBRALTAR STORY ORCHESTRA (GSO)

THE ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT MY PETER AND THE TIMBER WOLF CONCERTS AT THE GIBRALTAR LITERARY FESTIVAL

Ann Bryant presents ‘Peter and the Timber Wolf’ in concert at Inces Hall

By Cathy Batchelor

Ann Bryant started out teaching music and drama specialising in Early Years and KS1 and then began writing in two distinct fields -children’s fiction and music educational resources. In recent years, those two strands have regularly intertwined, and Hal Leonard recently published her book Instant Primary Music Lessons with 33 video lessons, each one starting with a piece of classical music introduced through story, poetry etc. 

 

Over the years she has become very used to talking to children of all ages in workshops and presentations both in the UK and internationally, but her two author presentations of her picture book Peter and the Timber Wolf at Inces Hall Theatre, on Friday, as part of the Gibunco International Literary Festival, seemed to hold an extra special vibe for her. She mesmerised the packed audiences of over 500 enthralled Year 2 children and has enthused about the palpable excitement in the air. As she said, “There was magic in the hall that day!”

 

During the presentation the Gibraltar Story Orchestra played the music of Peter and the Wolf whilst Ann narrated her book, which is a modern quirky take on the original story, all in verse. Her voice became another instrument and the images from the book were projected on a screen above the orchestra.

 

The Year 2 children were introduced to the members of the orchestra who all explained a bit about their instruments and played the motif for the character in Ann’s story that they were representing. As well as the music, the story and the pictures, the audience were brilliant at joining in with body percussion and conducting, the creeping of the cat, the snapping of the wolf – lots of interactivity throughout the piece. Ann says “It is so important to get children involved with books and reading at an early age. I saw this in my three-year stint as Patron of Reading for the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Today’s children are tomorrow’s lovers of books and literacy.”

 

At the end of the story, the children helped find a solution to getting the duck safely out of the wolf’s tummy and Rafael played a clever glissando on his cello to emulate the sound of the duck flying away! A massive cheer went up when Ann then announced that it was time to sing the Snap Snap Song that she had sent to the schools in advance of the event. Both the audience and orchestra were still singing away as they left the hall!

 

After the event Ann said  she would like to give, “huge thanks to the Minister of Tourism for inviting me to the festival and to all the team, especially Suyenne, for their warm welcome and organisation of the event. Big thanks and admiration to the teachers for fielding all those children and thanks and respect to Cathy for organising the orchestra and to Joe, the conductor, as well as each and every member of the orchestra, who brought an extra dimension to the event. It was also a pleasure to give out around 120 pre-ordered pre-signed books thereby encouraging a love of reading again of a story that had come to life on the stage with classical music.”

The Gibraltar Story Orchestra (GSO)

The Concert

Rafael, the cellist who captivated the children in the audience when he produced a really authentic sound of the duck, newly released from the wolf's tummy, flying off into the distance!!! 🤣

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Lady Mary Peters: It was a joy to spend time with such a delightful warm and incredibly talented person. An Olympic gold medalist! Check out  https://marypeterstrust.org/

 

Puneet Bhandal: is writing a series of books for 8-12s - The Bollywood Academy books. She also has a fashion business and designs red-carpet dresses. Great company.

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The Gibraltar Story Orchestra

Yeva Skalietska: Yeva is 13 and started a diary at the age of 12 before she escaped from war torn Ukraine with her grandmother. Such a lovely bright mature girl.

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The bags of pre-ordered copies of my book Peter and the Timber Wolf, lined up ready to distribute to the various schools!

Community Singing

Around once a month I have the truly joyous experience of playing the clavinova for community singing. Here I am with Jill who is an ace percussion player. You never know who's in the room with you on these occasions. Our faces show age but they don't tell our stories. If they could, we'd all be in awe.

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Stowting Primary School 19/06/2023

 

Yesterday it was boiling hot in the hall at Stowting Primary School but the children were unperturbed! They remained engaged and enthusiastic throughout my sessions from Reception to Year 6. Jacob from Reception made an excellent Mr Grey when we dramatised my book, Jungle Home. Years 5 and 6 were very speedy at cracking the codes from my book Code Breaker. Years 1 and 2 really know their traditional tales!I did something I’ve never done before on an author visit to a school  - I read out a few pages of the book I’m currently writing to Years 3 and 4. Their reactions were wonderful and very helpful indeed! 

 

Another first  - I showed various foreign copies of my books to the children and I often find that there’s someone in the school who recognises the Polish language and also Arabic, but this time, Sophia from Year 6 came out to the front and read the blurb in Japanese and then translated it for us all. The book, Rose’s Big Decision is from my Ballerina Dreams series. It was a fantastic moment! Here I am with Sophia.

 

It was a pleasure to spend my day at the school. Thank you to Sarah Uden, the Head, and to all the staff and children for making me so welcome. 

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GENEVA ENGLISH SCHOOL

I had just the best day at this gorgeous school. The very lovely Shelley Vavrecka, with whom I’m pictured below, looked after me perfectly and it was clear she had put a great deal of time and effort into organising the day so it worked like clockwork and I spun from whole-school assembly to sessions with Years 3 and 4, then Years 5 and 6, then Reception followed by Years 1 and 2 - all interspersed with book signings. Thank you to Geneva English School for making me so welcome.

Thank you so very much for the absolutely fantastic day on Tuesday. The children got so much out of the day and were absolutely captured by your workshops. You targeted every year group perfectly, your energy kept every child focused, (even the very smallest!) and I honestly don't think a single child left the room without having learned something. I also really so appreciated your positive attitude and warmth throughout the day. It was a pleasure working with you. 

Shelley Vavrecka, Geneva English School.

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WORLD BOOK DAY AT FINBERRY PRIMARY SCHOOL

 

Finberry Primary School did themselves proud with their dressing up as book characters and their fab SCENE IN A SHOEBOX project. I had a very full-on day of presentations with all age groups from Nursery to Year 6, and found myself giving out many signed bookmarks as rewards for impressive answers in the KS2 session! A huge thank you to Amy Prime, Senior Teacher at the school, who organised the day so brilliantly and was utterly supportive throughout, wearing a blue wig and a big smile! 

 

Here I am with winners of the SHOEBOX competition, with KS1 and with the librarians.

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A Day at Bedales Pre-Prep School - Dunannie - February ‘23

 

It was so lovely to spend a day with an ex-colleague, Alex Thompson, at Dunannie, the pre-prep department of Bedales. Alex who is the librarian and in charge of learning support, had organised the day perfectly and it was a delight to meet the children who impressed me with their ability to throw themselves into all the activities with enthusiasm and enormous creativity. 

‘You judged it perfectly for the age group. That was such a great session. We all loved it. Everyone was really enjoying themselves even our children who er… don’t always join in, joined in so happily. Thank you!’

Ruth O’Neil Reception TA.

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MUSIC AND DRAMA EXPO 2023

 

I was privileged to be invited to do a session in the Key Note Theatre at the Expo, as a kind of launch for my music course Instant Primary Music Lessons published y Hal Leonard and consisting of a beautiful book and 33 accompanying video lessons for specialist music teachers as well as generalists. Sadly the book wasn’t quite ready - I believe it comes out in one week! 😪 I met some lovely people before, during and after my session and I do hope delegates left with a few more ideas for bringing classical music to life in the classroom, and that those people who were brave enough to demo movement, found it a joyful experience. 

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Chigwell School - the Pre-Prep

 

Last week I experienced the joy of going back to teaching for a day! Evelyn Gibbs, Head of the Pre-Prep at Chigwell School called me in to work with children from Reception, Years 1, 2 and 3 so that two teachers much more used to teaching music to older children were able to observe. I had a great day working with the children and having discussions with the lovely and talented Mike and Ciara. The facilities were wonderful, as was the welcome I received from all concerned. The children were lovely and receptive, especially Year 1. But what impressed me in particular, was the deeply felt respect and consideration that the staff showed to one another. I saw so many examples of this during the day and feel sure that it must contribute greatly to the smooth running of the school and the happiness of all who teach and learn there. I’m very much looking forward to returning to Chigwell on 10th March with my author’s hat on!

Music Training - Canvey Island

 

Yesterday I was privileged to take over two music training sessions for Sue Nicholls, great friend and music educationalist and also, as I’ve now discovered, talented needle woman. Sue has made loads of giant scrunchies and cut out many many perfect circles of lycra to provide connecting singing circles that are superb props for any pre-school setting. I learnt many of her songs and trialled them in a local pre-school then delivered the training to pre-school teachers and carers, yesterday on Canvey Island. The sessions were organised by the empathic, astute and most efficient Sarah Goldsmith who is the Schools Music Curriculum Officer for Essex Music Service. The sessions were filmed by superb cameraman and film editor, Peter Knight. It’s a good job he’s superb as there will be a great deal of editing to do, in order to cut out all the giggling and shrieking that went on when we grown women tried to keep 5 balls rolling on a sheet of lycra! Thank you everyone for making me feel so welcome. Here I am with Peter and Sarah at the sea front to where we escaped between sessions!

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THE GIBRALTAR LITERARY FESTIVAL

 

It was lovely to be invited back to the Gibraltar Literary Festival this year. I talked to Year 6 at St Bernard’s Upper School, to Years 1 and 2 at St Bernard’s Lower School and to Year 2 at Notre Dame Lower School.

 

All the presentations were fun because the children were so engaged and so open to learning and exercising their imaginations. Cameron in Year 6 gave me a fantastic word to describe a jubilant silence - ‘Justistic!’ I love that word. The made-up words are often the best.

 

At the end of the talk Stephanie Payas said “I’ve never heard them so quiet and attentive. You really captured their attention. They were enthralled by you.” That was a lovely compliment.

 

All the staff and children from all three schools were delightfully welcoming. Here I am with Bella, the English coordinator at Notre Dame Lower School.

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St Bernard’s Lower School

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We thoroughly enjoyed your visit.  The staff and children were both so impressed with your interactive session and we could tell that aside from being an immensely talented creative artist, you are a highly skilled teacher too!

Sonia Montiel Lopez

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Following an excellent ‘In conversation with Jess Philips.’ 

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Having a break at the Gibraltar Literary Festival in the green room at the Garrison Library.

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School Visit!

 

It was great to spend a day with Willesborough School infants and then the following day with the juniors. Fabulously behaved children with big imaginations especially Year 5, who gave me countless words to describe ‘silence’ as part of an interactive story. Here are four proud recipients of signed bookmarks - rewards for exceptional responses. 

 

Thank you for welcoming me, Willesborough and for your lovely comments about the workshops and the children’s engagement!

Music Workshops at Herne Hill School

I had a full on day doing workshops with Pre-Reception, Reception and KS1 children at Herne Hill School, yesterday. The fabulous and very talented Lubica Cechova was a lovely host. Photos to follow!

Author Visit to Eastbrook School, Dagenham, 16th July 2021

 

This is a little jewel of a primary school where the teachers are inspirational. An outdoor ‘Reading Festival’ was organised by Chris Peake, Head of English, in which I danced The Boogie Bugs with Reception (all six verses, in 29 degrees!) and also did a little play based on my book Jungle Home. Their fabulous teacher, Miss Maxted was so supportive and one of the most enthusiastic teachers I have ever met.


Years 1, 2 and 4 sang ‘The Snap Snap Song’ derived from my book Peter and the Timber Wolf, and also ‘Mum, Mum Quickly Come’ originally written for BBC Schools Radio.


Kimba Bush-Ramsey was the other author at the school and he presented one of his own raps, which was a beautiful piece of writing, and then we heard some of the Year 5 and 6’s own poetry. The children had clearly been incredibly inspired
by Kimba. Their words were from the heart.

Chris said:
"Both Ann and Kimba were fantastic to work with and if given the opportunity, I would work with them both again in a heartbeat. Ann's demeanour and way with the younger children was beautiful to behold and
she had them in the palm of her hand with her sing along stories. Each and every child involved in her sessions were captivated and enthralled by her. The festival aspect of the event went down with aplomb. The two of them worked amazingly well together and were incredibly flexible as we worked on a running order as the afternoon unfolded. Every child had a great time and the staff were all gushing with praise for both acts."

 

Thank you very much to Chris and all the teachers for making me feel so welcome.

Another Great School Visit - Woodlands Primary School, Gillingham

I haven’t enjoyed a UK school visit as much as the one to Woodlands in a very long time! The children were incredibly well behaved, attentive and open hearted and it was great to see so many teachers and TAs in my sessions. A huge reason for the success of any school visit is the librarian who first makes contact with the author and in this case it was Amy Costidell, an outstanding librarian who cleared her day in order to be with me throughout. She knew every child as her job lies at the heart of the school and she had generated waves of enthusiasm and energy prior to my visit. It was a pleasure to sign books in a calm organised setting and I would go back to this school in a heartbeat. Thank you to Amy and all the staff and children.

Music Project

Things are hotting up with my project with Hal Leonard. Three terrific but exhausting days of filming, the first with children from New Beacon School and Granville Schools, Sevenoaks, the other two, just myself. Can’t wait to see the edits - well, I can… It’s all a bit scary!

The Hearios

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