Alice (Through the Century)

Published February 23, 2014 by Webmaster in All Yearly Reports

A song cycle composed by Julian Breeze
Lyrics by Lewis Carroll and Julian Breeze
Commissioned by Taunton & Somerset Music, Drama & Dance Festival to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary in 2013

Here is what the composer has to say about it:

“This is a new song cycle of 12 song scored for young voices (mainly in unison) accompanied by a small orchestra/band. As befits a composition designed to celebrate 100 years of a Music Festival I’ve cast each song in a different style of music taken from the last century. So the choirs and orchestra have to negotiate Music Hall, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ roll, Rock, Eighties synth-pop and rap as well as many other types of music.

Of course, that all adds up to a lot of fun with the singers having to work hard to adopt different styles of singing. It’s not really music for class singing – it really needs a dedicated choir to learn all the songs in a few months but I’m certain they’ll love the tunes and the lyrics – which are often very funny!

It’s a challenge for the orchestra, too! The players, who will be drawn from local secondary schools and colleges, will have to make a trombone sound like a bass synth, play an oboe in Big-Band style and get their violin bows around some seriously funky riffs – as well as all the hard bits too!

I’m really looking forward to visiting primary schools and rehearsing the music. I’m also certain that the songs will be echoing around many houses in the area in a few months time – listen carefully to them as I’m planning some audience participation, too!”

When are the concerts ?

There will be two concerts –

1) Great Hall of WellingtonSchool on Wednesday 6 November

2) Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton on Thursday 7 November

On each occasion there will be a rehearsal during the afternoon followed by two performances lasting about an hour each. This is to ensure that all parents and friends get a chance to hear the music, as space will be at a premium in both venues.

The music will be interspersed with linked readings from the “Alice” books.

Each school that takes part will be assigned the performance venue that is most convenient geographically.

What Primary School Heads and teachers have to do :

1) Fill in the application form on the leaflet (see link below) and send it in an envelope marked “ALICE” to Taunton & Somerset Festival, 15, Peile Drive, Taunton, Somerset TA2 7SZ or reply through the email address

2) Festival will need to have the name of the person in the school who will be responsible for preparing your school choir (maximum 20 pupils) for the concerts. You will receive a visit, or possibly two from the musical co-ordinators (including the composer) but someone will need to rehearse the choir weekly and make sure that they know all the songs ready for the performance.

3) At the start of the summer term you will be told if you have been successful with your application and will be sent a pack consisting of a vocal score and backing tracks CD. Lyrics for projection will be e-mailed to your school so you can start rehearsing with your group.

You can put on your own show!

Your school will also have the option of putting on your own performance of the music as part of your own concert, providing that it takes place between January and July 2014 and that you have informed the composer. All materials must be returned by the end of the school year for copyright reasons.

Centenary Festival – Alice in Wonderland Leaflet