‘The Project’ takes shape

Our great musical adventure, aka ‘The Project‘, is under way.  Here’s all the latest news, direct from musician and composer Dave Nelson:


Some of you will have heard about ‘The Project’ before, but now that it has begun to take shape properly you may like to have some more detailed information…


This is for you if you’d like to get involved in the creation and performance of what we think will be a spectacular, exciting and enjoyable piece of music with many local singers and instrumentalists taking part.

On Sunday October 16th I will be directing the whole ensemble, which will be made up of musicians and singers from the Upper Calder Valley, as we endeavour to create and perform a large-scale “Songscape” based loosely around the four elements: earth, water, air and fire…all in one day!

This is a community event organised by Mytholmroyd Arts Festival and it’s open to anyone who plays an instrument, sings, writes song lyrics or possible does all three. You don’t have to be brilliant! My job is to involve everyone who wants to participate, no matter how inexperienced they may be at writing, singing or ensemble playing. We’ve even got some fantastic, easy-to-play Javanese Gamelan instruments and lots of other percussion for people who don’t own an instrument. Other instruments that you can expect to see on the day so far include guitars, bass, piano, harp, hammer dulcimer, various brass instruments, accordion and mandolin. We have room for lots more!

The end result will be a partly improvised, partly structured piece of music; partly instrumental, partly choral, sometimes both. There will also be times when only one or two instruments are playing; times too when the lyrics are sung or even spoken by just one person. Parts of the music will feel like a massive sound collage played over a basic groove – other sections may come out being more free-form.

It’s an ambitious target, but I’ve done this kind of work many times before whilst delivering music workshops to schools, colleges and to many adult groups. We’ll be starting with some fun musical games and warm ups which will give us most of the musical ideas needed to form the whole piece.

We’re going to make a start at 10am on the Sunday morning (16th October) at the Ted Hughes Theatre in Calder High School. If you’d like to take part you’ll need to be there just before then in order to set up, tune up etc. We’ll carry on throughout the day, gradually putting the piece together, before taking a break late afternoon in preparation for a performance (A World Premiere!) in the same venue that evening.

You may be wondering where all the lyrics will come from. Some will come from writing workshops in local schools given by Hebden Bridge poet Winston Plowes. But they could also come from you! There are lyric writing sessions being held on October 5th and 12th at Mytholmroyd Community Centre, when your own ideas can be worked on and joined up with others to form the lyrical base of the whole piece. We’ll also try to add melodies to your words – not only for the choir to sing but also for some of the instrumentalists to play.

So if you’re a singer (or someone who enjoys singing), an instrumentalist (or someone who plays a bit) or a writer (or someone who simply enjoys writing) and you’d like to participate in this unique and possibly unforgettable event, then please get in touch with me on 01422 843315 or via dave@piano40.co.uk

2016 Festival dates announced

We are pleased to announce the main Festival dates for 2016.  Please mark Friday 14th to Sunday 16th October very firmly in your diary.

MAF16 diary

Our theme this year is the four elements, one of which has been rather too prominent in our thoughts in recent months. We’ll do our best to restore harmony and balance with a celebratory exploration of fire, air and earth (and maybe just a dash of water).