29 December 2016

Below the Hallé tell us a little more about what it’s been like working on this project with us and what our visitors have to look forward to…

The Hallé is delighted to be teaming up with Chester Zoo to present an exciting education project about the conservation of orangutans: ‘A search for survival through the trees’.

The Hallé’s Education Director, Steve Pickett, has written a special piece of music based on a script developed by the Learning Manager at the zoo, Sarah Bazley, and Zoo Ranger, Phil Blackburn to help educate children about the plight of the orangutan in Borneo. Deforestation is seeing their environment being replaced with unsustainable palm oil plantations.

Steve Pickett said:

We are delighted to be working with Chester Zoo to educate the children about such an important conservation issue.  Music is a fantastic way to learn about the orangutan’s mission to survive and this interactive project will really appeal to the children’s imagination, whilst teaching them the important message behind the story.

Taking place in Chester Zoo’s special 360 degree immersive space in the Islands area, the music will tell the story of a day in the life of an orangutan and the three friends he meets on his journey to find fruit – the hornbill, the elephant and the turtle.

The difficulties the orangutan faces in the wild will be explained by Zoo Rangers, who will tell the audience about the conservation projects being run by the zoo, which includes building rope bridges to allow the orangutan to cross rivers safely and explore more of its habitat to find food to eat.

A gamelan orchestra includes gongs and metallophones of various shapes and sizes, as well as xylophones, drums, bamboo flutes and a two-stringed fiddle.  The Hallé’s own gamelan set was built by Suhirdjan, a respected gong-smith from the city of Yogyakarta, and it carries the name Ruming Laras (Fragrant Harmony).

Visitors will also learn about the violin, viola and double bass as well as three traditional instruments used in Indonesian gamelan; the saron and the slenthem will be demonstrated by the Hallé’s leader, violinist Lyn Fletcher and violist, Gemma Dunne.  The saron and slenthem are both types of metallophones, featuring metal keys which are played with a wooden mallet called a tabuh.  Double bass player Natasha Armstrong will perform three gongs, kempul and agein which are also an essential part of a traditional gamelan.

The audience will also take part in a specially written song, swish, swoosh, swish and play shakers and recite drip, drip, drip, drop, in a musical section to represent the daily afternoon rain which occurs in equatorial rainforests.

Please note that this is a limited event, so book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets must be booked before the event and cost £3, normal zoo admission applies on top. Find out more information and book your tickets here.  There will be eight concerts taking place at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Tuesday 3 and Monday 9 April. The suggested age range for these concerts is 3 – 7 years.