SINGING HISTORY CONCERT: THE SOUNDS OF STEAM
Building on last year’s successful Singing History Concert, Helen Weinstein applied for funding this year to fit with a history of science focus, devising events and activities for young people around the theme of STEAM, covering Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths. Thus Historyworks curated the “Singing History: Sounds of STEAM” Concert on Saturday 12th March, as part of both the Cambridge History Festival and University of Cambridge Science Festival. On this occasion the concert took place in partnership with Great St. Mary’s Church, who very kindly offered their beautiful venue and also assisted with art, history and science activities before the concert itself.
Children from 6 local primary schools were invited to participate in the concert and the children performed a wide selection of songs commissioned by Helen Weinstein and co-created by CBBC Horrible Histories writer Dave Cohen and the Historyworks team and also helped teaching the audience a few of the songs too!
No one there could avoid engaging with the concert's “Sounds of STEAM” theme, because the Cambridge subjects covered in the programme incorporated songs inspired by Cambridge’s incredible Science, Technology, Engineering and Arts history stories, such as the Victorian Sewage Pumping Station and Fitzwilliam Museum lions and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
The first key theme was about the Victorian Sewage Pumping Station and St. Matthew’s School children led the first song; “What Shall We Do With The Drinking Water?” with accompaniment on the guitar by musician Patrick Olsen from the Faculty of Education, who volunteered for us at the event along with a number of DTP students. This was followed by other sewage related songs such as ‘River Cam’ and a fantastic performance from Milton CE Primary School’s ‘Milton Mash Up’ Composition Group, who composed a piece inspired by the sewage works in Milton, which tied rather nicely with the sewage theme!
The audience also the opportunity to learn a song about Great St. Mary’s Church’s chimes, which inspired the famous ‘ding dong, ding dong’ chimes of Big Ben in London, with the help of children from Milton Road Primary School!
We were also very excited to have CBBC’s Horrible Histories writer Dave Cohen join us for the event and had the privilege of him teaching a few of his newly composed songs about Cambridge history, commissioned by Helen Weinstein using the Historyworks Public Art funding, including a song about Rosalind Franklin’s part in the discovery of DNA, which vert well received by children and adults alike!
We also were joined by Rachel Snape, Head teacher from Spinney School and representing 'My Cambridge', where she talked about the values of every child having a right to cultural experiences and a sense of entitlement to cultural and creative life.
Before the concert started there were also a number of Doing and Thinking Art Activities for families in the Church, with sessions including balloon wagon building with students from Cambridge University’s Eco Racing Team, handling coprolite (fossilised dino poo) from the Sedgwick Museum, illustrating history topics with creative art responses, making 3D models of Great St Mary's and free trips up the Tower for participants! Visitors were also invited to follow a new history trail transmitted by bluetooth beacons to guide users to unique and fascinating stories around the Market area and Great St Mary's.
It was wonderful to have so many Primary School choirs and singers come join us with their families and friends for another fantastic ‘Singing History’ Concert.
For more information about the Cambridge History Festival visit:
For more information about the University of Cambridge Science Festival visit: