Southern Pro Musica’s two new concerts

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Southern Pro Musica has two exciting concerts for the new year. Songs from the Shows: Musical highlights from stage and screen on Friday, 14th January

Start the new year with a sensational show featuring Songs from the Shows courtesy of Southern Pro Musica at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Following the last two sell-out collaborations with the superb singers from Guildford School of Acting, Southern Pro Musica is delighted to return on Friday, 14th January, to once again present an evening of musical dazzle. There’ll be numbers from the very best Broadway and West End hits, as well as the most enduring film scores, compèred by Julian Woolford and under the baton of renowned conductor Jonathan Willcocks.

The audience will enjoy spirited ensemble numbers such as ‘Hello, Dolly!’, ‘The Best of Times’ and ‘I won’t send roses’ by Jerry Herman; ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ and ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ by Irving Berlin and much more. The orchestra will bring you iconic film music by John Williams – Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark; the Great Escape music by Elmer Bernstein; the Pink Panther theme, to name a few. This will be an evening for all lovers of music theatre and film.

To purchase tickets go to www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk, call 01483 440 000.

G Live will host Family Classics: Fun with classical music for all the family on Sunday, 20th March.

This popular annual event provides the opportunity for people of all ages to have a go at trying all sorts of musical and percussion instruments in workshops led by Southern Pro Musica musicians. The afternoon will be rounded off with a fun classical concert performed by the full professional SPM orchestra with exciting, family-friendly classical music, a narrated musical story and a song for the audience to join in with. There’ll also be guest appearances by SPM’s ‘Strictly Strings’ scheme pupils from Sandfield, St Thomas, Boxgrove and RGS Prep School, as well Guildford High Junior School Lower Choir.

To purchase tickets go to www.GLive.co.uk, call 0343 310 0055.

Southern Pro Musica is firmly established as one of the leading freelance professional chamber orchestras in the south of England. It includes among its core players many of the finest orchestral players to base their work in the south. In 2013 Southern Pro Musica was appointed by Guildford Borough Council as their ‘principal provider of Classical music’, encompassing a broad range of orchestral concerts and educational outreach work in Guildford.

Entrance is FREE to all Music for Guildford concerts for 18s and under.

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Half term fun for families

Liz Nicholls

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Half term fun for families & children with Surrey Wildlife Trust

Half term is here: Hurray! We know it’s been tough times for parents this winter & that (whisper it) you might not exactly be jumping for joy at the prospect of filling extra time with your children.

But Surrey Wildlife Trust have some great resources to help you spot & encourage wildlife in your own garden or outdoor space, as well as activities you can enjoy online or in one of the 70 Surrey wildlife reserves the charity manages.

England’s most wooded county, Surrey is impressively diverse and possibly the richest of all land-locked counties in terms of numbers of recorded species.

This includes a stunning mixture of landscapes to explore in Surrey, from the beautiful chalk meadows and rolling hills of the North Downs, to the vast heathlands of the Thames Basin and sprawling wetlands in the east of the county.

Visit surreywildlifetrust.org & keep your eye on our social media feed to find out about courses & how you can identify nationally scarce mammals, birds, insects and reptiles that share this gorgeous county with us.

Another half term idea is building a family time capsule with the kids, read our tips here

Wildlife Trusts online

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The Wildlife Trusts have created wonderful online nature activities to encourage everyone to tune in to wildlife at home this spring – and to help people find solace in nature during tough times

Spot bees, butterflies, bats and birds during your permitted local walk, keep children entertained with nature-themed crafts, or tune in to look at fabulous wildlife footage and photos! 

The Wildlife Trusts are also offering plenty of practical outdoor advice to inspire us to do more for wildlife in gardens, balconies or window boxes. 

Tune in at www.wildlifetrusts.org. The Wildlife Trusts launched a weekly wildlife programme on YouTube last week for kids and parents. A new video will be uploaded to Wildlife Watch UK every Wednesday at 10am. The channel will feature wildlife experts, home-school help and seasonal species to spot at wtru.st/Wildlife-Watch-YouTube. 

Future videos will include:

• How to build a pond

• Be a garden scientist  – exploring your garden wildlife

• How to identify insects in your garden

• How to make a bug hotel

• What is marine pollution?

• Why birds sing and how to recognise their songs.

Wildlife Trusts across the UK are providing new ways of helping us feel more connected to the wider world and each other, via their online and social channels.

Wildlife experts who are usually leading school visits, events or talking to visitors on reserves have had to down tools and work from home – and so they can now be found online leading wildlife-spotting tours through their gardens, blogging about the life cycle of oil beetles or sharing heart-warming sounds of a dawn chorus on a sunny April morning.

For example:

Follow over 20 webcams from nests and locations around the UK and watch puffins in Alderney, peregrines in Nottingham, bats in Essex and ospreys on their nests www.wildlifetrusts.org/webcams.

Join Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s mini-beast expert Ben Keywood talk about frogspawn and springtime insects from his own garden. Help the Wildlife Trust record sightings of wildlife and follow their advice for helping in your garden.

Daily wildlife diaries from Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Michael Blencowe who talks about the wildlife in his gorgeous garden.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is advising people about feeding birds, watching wildlife in the garden and learning how to identify it.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is producing a series of videos called Bringing Nature to You. Join education officer Susan Symmonds and hear about the life cycle of an oil beetle.

Go to Surrey Wildlife Trust’s website where you’ll find spotter sheets and activities to help identify local wildlife.

Sign up for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Wild at Home ideas for regular activities and inspiration to help people stay connected with wildlife.

Keep an eye out for #EverydayWildlife across social media, an outlet to share local wildlife, big, small, grand or often overlooked.

Get guidance on how to create a butterfly haven in our Wild About Gardens campaign with the RHS, by downloading a handy booklet full of inspiration.

Leanne Manchester, wildlife gardener and digital communications manager at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “More people than ever are tuning into our wildlife webcams – more than double the figure for this time last year – and we’re seeing people have a lot of fun wildlife-watching in their gardens.

“Spring has arrived in splendid colour and sound, and over the past few days, hundreds of people have told us that they’ve spotted their first butterflies. These are joyful moments that people hold dear at this difficult time.

“Everyone can share and follow on social media using #EverydayWildlife – swapping such experiences can be a lovely way of keeping in touch.

“Do keep an eye on our channels in the coming weeks – we’ve got lots of lovely ideas and activities to help you stay connected to nature and still feel the health benefits of being outside in your garden or neighbourhood.”

Museum & Jigsaw

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Haslemere Museum and Jigsaw School have teamed up to help special needs visitors get the most out of museum visits.

Autism gives people a special view of the world which can make unexpected events and visits to unfamiliar places very challenging but this initiative can help with that.

Hayley Locke, a senior teacher at Jigsaw, visited the museum, which already had many facilities for school visits, after being approached by them.

She said it felt like a safe place “with lots of interactive activities”. Hayley added: “I could see our pupils enjoying a trip there, including those I wouldn’t usually suggest to visit a museum.”

Kay Topping, the museum’s education officer, visited Jigsaw to watch some classroom sessions as the school worked on preparing pupils to visit the museum’s dinosaurs gallery. The class teacher demonstrated the four-step format used, based on a method called Attention Autism. This ranged from handling dinosaur and fossil toys to making fossils.

“It was great to see the children in their own environment and see how a session works at school,” said Kay.

“I learnt not to expect them to engage too much, and that engagement is more likely to be with individuals rather than as a group.”

Six pupils aged six to 11 went on the museum visit – which was a great success and included a session on dinosaurs, handling the toys and making fossils. The children were prepared with the visual schedule and social story and arrived to a familiar face.

“The trip went well, especially as this was a totally new environment for the children,” Kay said.

Hayley agreed: “It was lovely to see each pupil engaging with the activities. The preparation and the familiar learning format certainly helped them get a lot more out of it.

“One pupil was nervous of the new place but once calm he enjoyed stirring the plaster to make fossils. Another loved all the dinosaur toys and is now keen to explore other animals in the museum.”

Further visits are planned including to the African exhibition.

Photos show Harry exploring dinosaur toys and Tristan getting to grips with the ammonite 

More information

Find out more about the Jigsaw School and what they do here

Learn to Play Day

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Photo credit: Indigo James

Pick up an instrument and Learn to Play this weekend for free

Feel there’s a budding Eric Clapton or Charlie Watts just trying to get out or maybe you just want to give your guitar or drumming skills an outing? This is the perfect opportunity to give it a go…

Share in the joy of music on Learn to Play Day – actually two days – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th,  as venues all over the country encourage thousands to pick up and play a musical instrument, whether you’ve never played before or once did as a child this is your chance to have a go for free.

The event has been running for eight years and in that time music shops, teachers, venues and schools have given tens of thousands of free lessons, including 10,000 last year alone.

Learn to Play Day (or two days to be precise) is run by charity Music For All and supported by a host of big names including Jools Holland, patron of the Music For All charity.

“I’m delighted to lend my support to National Learn to Play Day on March 23rd and 24th,” says Jools. “It’s a pleasure to be able to share the joy of music and this special day allows thousands to get involved as venues all over the country offer music lessons for free.”

Jazz star Jamie Cullum is another supporting the event. He says: “National Learn to Play Day gives everyone a chance to play an instrument, even if they’ve never played before. This wonderful day introduces thousands to the magic of music making, and often reunites people with a lost passion for playing. Get involved and perhaps discover a skill you thought you didn’t have.”

Spreading the joy of playing an instrument is the key element of the two days, as Music For All CEO Paul McManus explains: “While we all may have different tastes and preferred genres, there is no doubt that music is something that is universally loved around the world.

“Our Learn to Play Day events are all about spreading the joy of playing and inspiring those of all ages to take up something that will not only have health benefits for the future, but that also brings so many people together.”

Other Music For All ambassadors include Rick Astley, Aled Jones and Gareth Malone and who knows this could be your first foray into following in their footsteps!

Photo credit: Brian Slater

Photo credit: Alan Fletcher

There are various locations where you can begin your musical journey across the region:

Hickies Music Store, Reading 0118 957 5771
Hogan Music, Newbury 01635 37868
PMT Oxford, Cowley Road 01865 725221
Langdale Hall, Market Square, Witney 07904 397603
Archway School, Stroud 01452 330300
ACM, Bridge Street, Guildford 01483 501212
The College of Richard Collyer, Horsham 07470 964369
Westmount Music, Marlow 01628 481510
Unity Centre, Balham 020 8672 8095
Musicroom London, Denmark Street 020 7632 3950
Yamaha Music London, Wardour Street 020 7432 4400
PMT Music, Clerkenwell 020 7253 3283

Spectacular science

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Science and art come alive this March at Innovate Guildford 2019

Our science and arts festival, Innovate Guildford is back for its fourth year and this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet!

Innovate Guildford celebrates the best in innovation in Guildford and beyond. Building on the success of previous events, there are exhibitors from across the local area – Innovate Guildford will inspire and delight people of all ages. There’s plenty for the kids to do and best of all the event is completely free!

Already confirmed this year are McLaren Cars, The Pirbright Institute, a pop-up Planetarium and the Academy of Contemporary Music. They will also be interactive exhibits and workshops for lots of hands-on fun.

Proving there really is something for everyone at this year’s Innovate Guildford, visitors will be able to take part in a wide range of activities including slime design, coding, Minecraft, robotics and even step inside a planetarium.

Plus we’ve got a special treat for computer gamers – Guildford’s megastar game company Media Molecule will be at the show with brand new entertainment!

The event which showcases technology, innovation and creativity in the region, will run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 23rd March at G Live, so save the date for a day out with a difference.

To find out more about the day, exhibitors and workshops visit innovateguildford.co.uk