With decades of experience working in the field of performance and opera, McOpera Education and Outreach offers a wide selection of packages and projects, devised and delivered by our full range of professional orchestral musicians and singers.

From nursery through to Advanced Higher, from youth groups to corporate clients, McOpera’s Education and Outreach programmes offer exciting, innovative and inspiring opportunities to create and explore music and performance.

All our McOpera musicians are committed to reaching out musically to our community- this is a key aim of our co-operative approach to artistic life in Scotland. The McOpera musicians also have close working relationships with Enterprise Music Scotland, Scottish Opera Education Department, Artlink, Musical Minds, Children’s Classic Concerts and Glasgow Life.

Scroll down the page for more on our projects, past and present!



The “Tales” Project

East Dunbartonshire Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir
East Dunbartonshire Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir

McOpera successfully received funding from Waitrose Music Matters and East Dunbartonshire Arts Council to commission an outreach project and concert on April 21st 2017 at Cairns Church in Milngavie as part of the Milngavie Music Club 75th anniversary celebrations and concert series.

The project was based on ‘Cautionary Tales and Fables’, and at its heart was be a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ in its full septet version, conducted by Sian Edwards, narrated by Flora Munro, with a projected film by Roddy Simpson and local storyboard artist Derek Gray.

This was coupled with a commissioned piece by composer Peter Kemp for children’s chorus (East Dunbartonshire Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir) and instrumental ensemble. Drawing on the Visit Scotland 2017 theme of local history, heritage and archeology, the project explored local tales set to music (including the Bennie’s railplane, the madcap events of Charlie the elephant at Craigend Zoo, the folly of the Antonine Wall and Lunardi’s balloon flight). These were workshopped within the community in a variety of formats (with both adult and children’s community groups, using music, art, text and photography).


Reeltime / McOpera Outreach Young Parents’ Music Project

In partnership with Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland, Motherwell based charity Reeltime Music taught interactive music skills at two eight-weekly sessions between September and December 2016 to young parents aged 15 to 25 years old and their children under 5. Five McOpera musicians worked with Early Years’ specialist Daniela Hathaway alongside Reeltime Music to provide informal music experience to young parents to boost their confidence and aid child development while encouraging bonding with their child. Families were given musical challenges to complete and try out popular instruments such as guitar, drums and keyboards as well as explore more unusual instruments including cajóns, ukuleles and mandolins.

McOpera led families though music and play sessions designed to encourage bonding and communication while creating music and having fun together. Parents and children sang and rhymed, played with props and puppets and enjoyed percussion activities which were linked to everyday life. The rhythms also provided a calming and soothing effect for children, and parents were given resources to recreate the fun at home.

Laura Scott, project co-ordinator at Reeltime Music, said: “We identified that young parents lacked the confidence and self-esteem to attend community groups which could benefit them and their child. Our project acted as a stepping stone to encourage attendance in mainstream groups and promote understanding of the benefits of artistic time with their child.

“Without vital funding from UK Steel Enterprise and Creative Scotland YMI Access to Music, the project could not have gone ahead. The extra funding allowed the project to run further and therefore have a bigger impact on the young parents facing disadvantage in our community in North Lanarkshire.”

Learn more about Reeltime Music


Britten’s ‘Noye’s Fludde’ at the Lammermuir Festival 2016

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An exciting community opera performed as part of the Lammermuir Festival 2016

Conducted by internationally acclaimed conductor Sian Edwards, and featuring singers Andrew MacTaggart, Penelope Cousland and Donald Maxwell as the Voice of God; and with the children of Dunbar Primary School and the community of Dunbar and wider East Lothian in a cast of over 120 performers and crafts people.

Directed by Caitlin Skinner and Assistant Director/ Chorus Master Moira Morrison, designed by Carys Hobbs and produced by Sue Baxendale. Accompanied by film sequence by Roddy Simpson.This fabulous community opera was performed on Sunday 11th September at 2:30pm and 5:00pm in Dunbar Parish Church to full houses and great critical acclaim.

“Britten’s warm-hearted monster of a masterpiece fitted beautifully in among the festival’s bold offerings….celebrating the talents of the community, and all the benefits that brings, it was an astonishing achievement… there can have been barely a dry eye in the house”- The Scotsman (September 2016) *****

For more information visit The Noye’s Fludde Website


McOpera Early Years Development



In August 2015, five instrumentalists from McOpera Outreach worked with writer and director Martin O’Connor, composer Oliver Searle, singer Daniela Hathaway, designer Rachel O’Neill and choreographer Janice Parker to develop Squirrel, a new interactive opera for the early years’, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. Based at Platform in Easterhouse, the team created an innovative concept in workshop performances for the 0-5 years and their parents and carers, culminating in a showing of work at Platform’s Play Cafe on the 2nd and 9th September, with further exploratory sessions taking in place in local nurseries. Taking as its inspiration the seasonal journey of the native red squirrel in its natural woodland environment, the research focused on exploring and facilitating the interaction and bonding of parent and child in creative activity using the musicians’ innate understanding of pulse and movement, timbre, expression and non-verbal communication.

Further performances and touring are planned subject to attracting successful funding. McOpera thank Creative Scotland for their support of Squirrel, our pilot project for the early years.

 
Read about this project in Ken Walton’s article for The Scotsman


Projects for people living with dementia

David Cargill House, Glasgow

Working with residents at the David Cargill House, McOpera Outreach presented a package of one-to-one musical interaction in a ‘quiet room’ environment, supported in larger groups by a range of familiar musical songs and material, and led by our workshop leader, soprano Rachel Hynes.
The songs for the group sessions were chosen by the residents, and arranged by the group of 3 musicians and 2 opera singers to perform with them during the visits.
To cater for the variety of mobility needs, our McOpera musicians moved through the care home as ‘wandering minstrels’, taking specific requests for songs into each room.
The power of working with operatic voices and live orchestral instruments in this context cannot be underestimated, and the connection this had with the residents was particularly powerful.

I can’t believe the response.. it’s been just absolutely fabulous! Everybody has had such a wonderful time – they’ve all participated, those that wanted to, and it was just great.”
Roslyn Kirk, Activities Co-ordinator
David Cargill House, Glasgow
www.davidcargillhouse.co.uk

Musical Minds, Kilmarnock

McOpera Outreach were out with Musical Minds, a 100 strong Alzheimer’s Choir based in Kilmarnock. Aline Gow, Alison Hastie, Sue Baxendale and our fabulous baritone, Steven Faughey, had the most amazing experience with the choir, some of whom joined us to perform solo spots- the lovely Irene singing Moon River, Ian playing beautifully on violin and our highly skilled accordion player, Miles.
Hats off to those who run this truly inspirational project…. We will be back for more!


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Nursery, Primary and Special Education

Nursery, Primary and Special Education

For Primary and Nursery groups, McOpera’s ‘Let’s Make an Opera’ project works with schools to devise and perform their very own bespoke opera, providing the perfect cross-curriculum project, involving writing text, creating artwork, composing and performing music.

“A fantastic experience for staff and children alike.”
(Let’s Make an Opera, Kirkstyle Primary School, Kilmarnock)

For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Secondary Schools

Secondary Schools

In the Secondary school sector, McOpera offers a choice of bespoke workshops and performances exploring the musical concepts outlined in the SQA music curriculum, using all the instruments of the orchestra and/or voice to bring these to life in your classroom.
McOpera also provides composition workshops and performance masterclasses for S3-6.


For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Nursery, Primary and Special Education

For Primary and Nursery groups, McOpera’s ‘Let’s Make an Opera’ project works with schools to devise and perform their very own bespoke opera, providing the perfect cross-curriculum project, involving writing text, creating artwork, composing and performing music.

“A fantastic experience for staff and children alike.”
(Let’s Make an Opera, Kirkstyle Primary School, Kilmarnock)

For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Secondary Schools

In the Secondary school sector, McOpera offers a choice of bespoke workshops and performances exploring the musical concepts outlined in the SQA music curriculum, using all the instruments of the orchestra
and/or voice to bring these to life in your classroom.

McOpera also provides composition workshops
and performance masterclasses for S3-6.

For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Opportunities for Music Ensembles

Opportunities for Music Ensembles

With its full complement of classically trained musicians and singers, McOpera provides a range of coaching and tutoring services for ensembles, orchestras and choirs.


For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Community

Community

Our experienced McOpera musicians offer sessions for people with special needs, the elderly and dementia groups, and welcome the opportunity to build longer term projects with clients.


For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Opportunities for Music Ensembles

With its full complement of classically trained musicians and singers, McOpera provides a range of coaching and tutoring services for ensembles, orchestras and choirs.

For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Community

Our experienced McOpera musicians offer sessions for people with special needs, the elderly and dementia groups, and welcome the opportunity to build longer term projects with clients.

For further information contact
Sue Baxendale (McOpera Education and Outreach) on 07791 332420

Contact

Our Team

Sue Baxendale: McOpera Outreach Officer

Sue Baxendale has worked in performance for many years as Section Principal Horn with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, and as both Producer and Education and Outreach Officer for Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland (McOpera) for which she has both devised and led numerous projects. Throughout her creative life, she has been a strong advocate for the unique power of opera to express and articulate our modern lives.

Recent productions for McOpera have included the Scottish premiere of Fleishmann/ Shostakovich’s opera Rothschild’s Violin, and the world premiere of the original version of Erik Chisholm’s haunting Simoon with dance film, as part of the Cottier Chamber Project 2015.

After attaining a degree in English Literature and Music from the University of Birmingham and a Postgraduate performance diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music, Sue was appointed as Section Principal Horn with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in 1996. Alongside her opera commitments, Sue works extensively throughout the UK, playing both horn and Wagner Tuba, with ensembles including the Scottish Ensemble, BBC SSO and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, RSNO, Opera North and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra amongst many others.

Peter Kemp: McOpera Composer, Community Musician

Peter has enjoyed a varied portfolio career as a performing musician, workshop leader and composer. After a decade playing as a member of the viola section of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Peter studied as an animateur and composer with Peter Weigold at the Guildhall School of Music. He attained an MMus in Composition with John Maxwell Geddes in 2006 at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RCS), winning the prestigious Dinah Wolfe Memorial Prize.

Peter has worked extensively in all branches of music education, including many years working with children from both the mainstream sector and special educational needs, including those on the autistic spectrum. He was lecturer in Community Music at the University of Strathclyde (on both the BA Applied Music and Community Arts degrees). He now works across the creative industries as a performer, instrumental teacher, conductor, workshop leader and composer.

Peter has written 13 children’s operas , often incorporating dance, drama, storytelling and the visual arts.
He was a finalist in the Cottier Chamber Project/ RSNO Composition Competition in 2015, and his music has been performed by members of the London Sinfonietta, on Radio 3 by the Hebrides Ensemble, and on CD with the Chinook Clarinet Quartet.
Peter’s latest work, Salsa Strings is premiered in March 2016 by the Glasgow Schools’ String Training Orchestra, which he also conducts.

‘Kemp has produced a finely-sustained, well-crafted study in absolute stillness. With its spaced-out piano chords at the outset, supported by long, slow notes on clarinet and cello, Filigree was entirely about atmosphere and stasis; and very effectively done it is. Even when the violin’s high-flown lyrical line develops song-like limbs, and the music grows in natural intensity, the essentially motionless, almost trance-like quality of the piece remains undisturbed.’ Michael Tumelty, The Herald (Filagree, for the Hebrides Ensemble)

‘The script and music of ‘A Mexican Christmas’ allowed the skills and talents of all of our pupils to shine through a colourful, vibrant performance! The children, staff and audience loved it!’ – Fiona Leishman, Headteacher, Craighead Primary

Daniela Hathaway: McOpera Early Years Specialist

Daniela Hathaway is passionate about music, singing and teaching. She was born in Argentina and studied singing as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Daniela has sung in opera and concerts in venues across the UK, France and Argentina. Currently she sings with Trio Vocalise, a trio for soprano, ‘cello and piano, and a tango duo for bandoneon and voice called Tango des a Dos. She has taken part in concerts for Live Music Now, and regularly sings for Music in Hospitals and Music Clubs in Scotland.

Daniela is a qualified Kindergarten Colourstrings Course teacher and has attended training courses in Kodaly and Early Years Music. She has her own weekly Colourstrings Classes in Glasgow, on the Southside and in the West End. Previously, she worked for NYCOS, teaching Mini Music Makers classes, and for the City Halls, teaching music sessions in nurseries in and around Glasgow.

Daniela recently taught for Scottish Opera Education Department in two capacities; the Spanish and music specialist in their ‘Sing Up Saturdays’ classes for children. Daniela also teaches her own weekly Spanish Music Classes for children and babies.
This Summer Daniela will be teaching more Spanish Music Classes for children and babies at Scottish Opera, and taking part in the Early Years Music Festival at Eastwood Theatre, East Renfrewshire.

Rachel Hynes: McOpera Dementia Project Leader

Welsh born soprano Rachel Hynes established herself on the operatic stage by ascending the ranks of Scottish Opera, from chorister to company principal soprano. She read music at University College Bretton Hall, Leeds and then studied singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating with masters degrees in both Performance and Advanced Opera and winning the prestigious ‘Ye Cronies’ Opera Award.

She made her critically acclaimed debut as a house principal singing Freia in Das Rheingold. Rachel also performed Helmwige in Die Walküre and Third Norn in Götterdämmerung in Scottish Opera’s internationally acclaimed Ring Cycle. Other roles with Scottish Opera included Giannetta in L’Elisir D’amore, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (2001), Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice , First Lady in The Magic Flute and Mimi in La Bohème . Rachel sang Denise in Tippett’s The Knot Garden for Scottish Opera in early 2005 to critical acclaim and then with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis at the Barbican, and at the Cantiere d’Arte, Montepulciano. She made her Edinburgh International Festival concert debut singing Anna in Maria Stuarda, under Sir Charles Mackerras, and performed Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and Sir Richard Armstrong. Rachel was a finalist in the 2005 Wagner Society UK’s Bayreuth Bursary Competition. Other engagements include Cara in the premiere of David Bruce’s new opera Push! for Tête à Tête, 4th Maiden in Strauss’s Elektra in the opening concert of the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival and Alice Ford (cover) at Opera North. Rachel has broadcast on BBC, Classic FM and RAI 3.

Recent and future engagements include her house debut as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with Opera North; Lania (cover) in David Sawer’s new opera Skin Deep with Opera North; soprano soloist at the Llanelli Proms; Rachel created the role of The Figure to great acclaim in David Paul Jones’ new children’s opera The Songbird, for Giant Productions; the title role (cover) in David Alden’s new production of Katya Kabanova at English National Opera and Welsh National Opera; she created the role of Caregiver in Elena Langer’s new opera The Lion’s Face for The Opera Group (Brighton Festival and The Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House Covent Garden); opera singer/performer in Tightrope with Indepen-dance/Amici Dance Theatre; Witch and the cover of Gertrude in Hansel & Gretel, Floria Tosca in A Little Bit of Tosca, all at Scottish Opera; Second Lady in Sir Thomas Allen’s new production of The Magic Flute at Scottish Opera.