The Welcome Project

Students and composer play handbells Composer/soloist Steve Falk with students from Blackburn High School, perform ‘Welcome’ on the Federation Handbells at the Arts Centre Sounds Great! aMuse Conference, 11 July, 2013.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

It sounds like a forest in the middle of the night…almost magicalStudent, Blackburn High School

Museum Victoria invites you to create your own performance of Welcome, a musical piece especially composed for the Federation Handbells as part of Arts Victoria’s support for the Federation Handbells access program. Written by internationally acclaimed composer/percussionist Steve Falk, Welcome provides an opportunity for community groups and schools, to engage musicians of all skill levels in an exciting experience with the Federation Handbells.

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Background

Museum Victoria commissioned Steve Falk to compose a piece for the Federation Handbells that would bring together performers of various levels of musical ability and provide a meaningful musical experience for musicians and non-musicians alike. Steve met this challenge beautifully and has created a piece that can be rehearsed and performed as a secondary school music project or by community groups at music festivals or other public events

Welcome was invited to open the 2013 Sounds Great! Victorian Music Education Conference and to prepare for this event Museum Victoria worked with Musical Director Stephen Hardie and students from Blackburn High School. During rehearsals Stephen noted what a worthwhile experience it had been for the students, both those with high levels of musical skill and those less experienced. The ensemble part created an opportunity for those players to be

…actively involved in listening and making an assessment of the sound world that’s being created and what they can do to contribute to that. That’s actually something from a musical point of view that students quite often don’t experience… and indeed a lot of professionals don’t experience it … either.Stephen Hardie Musical Director, Blackburn High School

The world premiere of Welcome, performed by Steve Falk and the Blackburn High School students, was received with great enthusiasm and delight by all in attendance at the Sounds Great! Conference in July 2013 at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Structure

The Welcome composition is structured in such a way that it allows for the involvement of performers of various levels of musical ability. It has parts for 1 solo player, 4 core players and a variable number of players in the ensemble part.

… it works really well in the sense that we’ve got a core group of players who are experienced percussionists and they are doing something that’s engaging and involving to them but then we’ve got the less experienced musicians… who are able to play the simpler parts while remaining engaging and like an intricate part of the piece.Student, Blackburn High School

The performance of Welcome is open to many staging interpretations, with possibilities of creative use of processional and spatial arrangements.