Watching a programme on BBC4 about the indigenous Taino people of the Caribbean (Lost Kingdoms of Central America – The people who greeted Columbus – currently available to view on iPlayer) I was reminded again just how many languages contribute toward the English we know and use today. It seemed amazing that the word ‘canoe’ actually came from these islands so far away. They called theirs ‘canoas’.
Canoe is of course not the only ‘English’ word to originate in a far flung place. The language grows all the time as we communicate on a global scale. One of the best and most entertaining ways to begin looking into this is to consult the Oxford English Dictionary (log in with your library card), a place to discover all sorts of unusual words, look at their origins and expand our own vocabulary. In its online form it is continuously added to, consists of 600,000 words and states that it is: “Widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language”.
It would be impossible to carry all 20 of the physical volumes around with you and most of us would be hard pushed to find space in our homes, so it’s great to have online access with your library card. Go ahead – use it to find out what a word means (it’s thoroughly reliable), where it comes from or, if you wish, to find another with the same meaning (it has a great thesaurus)!
I have to confess that I didn’t have very high expectations of the planned Marylebone Library outreach visit to the Royal Academy of Music for their Freshers’ Week – how very, very wrong I was! At times it felt like we were under siege – in a good way, of course – and we joined up nearly 50 enthusiastic students within our two hour window.
My colleagues Mulgeta and Anthony were great support and David’s excellent display helped to lure them in. Once we had their attention, the students were impressed that they could use one library card for three library boroughs and although the Royal Academy has a well stocked library, they were pleased to learn of our award-winning collections at Westminster Music Library, as well as the online music resources on offer. We will definitely being paying them another visit this time next year!
A weekly Code Club started last week at Charing Cross Library. Code Club is a nationwide volunteer-led after school club initiative encouraging children from 9-11 years old to learn computer programming. Volunteer computer whiz Rob is running the club at Charing Cross Library.
At Charing Cross most of the children were completely new to programming and using Scratch but at the end of the hour they had all created a project (like this example) where Felix (a cat) chases Herbert (a mouse), catches him, says “Mmmm”… and then poor Herbert turns into a ghost!
There were some fabulously colourful and accessorised cats and mice (obviously influenced by London Fashion Week). The children all enjoyed it and said they would be logging on to their project at home and would be definitely coming back this week to do another project.
There are a few places still available for this afternoon’s session – please contact the library to book.
On 4 August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the day the First World War was declared; we opened a four day Behind the Lines creative summer school, due to end with a grand finale performance by participants alongside musicians from the RPO at St John’s Smith Square.
Several people who read our previous post about the Summer School and the performance at St John’s Smith Square asked whether the concert had been recorded. We’re pleased to say that this video about Behind the Lines, including the amazing summer school is now available to view:
Take a look at the Gallery too!
The summer school featured two of our First World War composers who were also good friends, Maurice Ravel and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Ravel had wanted to be an air-bomber, but was rejected because he was too small; he was finally allowed to become an ambulance driver, and he saw and experienced the horrors of the front-line at first hand. Vaughan Williams was a stretcher-bearer, who also knew the unimaginable tragedies of the trenches. Both of them made their war-time experiences part of their music; Vaughan Williams in his ‘Pastoral Symphony’, and Ravel in his suite ‘Le tombeau de Couperin’. These works would be the focus of the summer school, using them as inspiration to create a new work for our final concert.
Pupils from schools across Westminster and adults from local community group Open Age all contributed material for the final work, which was performed in front of an audience of VIPs, family and friends. From the opening chords to the incredibly moving finale – an off-stage performance of The Last Post – what started out as a lot of disconnected ideas, transformed into a very moving and fitting tribute not only to our chosen composers, but also our many First World War heroes.
Posted in Children / Teens, Music
Tagged Behind the Lines, children, composers, concert, music, music library, performance, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, RPO, St John Smith Square, summer, teenagers, teens, workshop, World War I, WW1, WWI