Statement from our CEO

As many of you know, when we re-opened our doors at Leiston Abbey on 4th July we were the first course provider in the UK to do so. We were also one of the first venues, nationally to bring public concerts back. Now 11 courses, and 4 concerts in after the reopening, the revised systems we have in place to make both our residential courses and concerts safe are working well. We review all systems at all times. From the revised catering arrangements to increased deep cleans, my first priority at all times is the safety of our ever growing Pro Corda family.

As an education setting and concert venue, we are able to continue in exactly the same way we have since July within the new Government rules. I will be putting a few extra measures in place:

  • Concert audiences will be seated in safely distanced pods of 6.
  • We will continue our stringent registration processes on first days of courses, and also as people arrive at the box office for concerts.

We’ve announced our full course programme for 2020-21 – for now with more shorter courses for smaller numbers to allow for single bedroom occupancy. I hope that by Easter 2021 we can return to the traditional format of larger 8 day courses. But we will serve all our incredible Pro Corda students with this month and next also seeing the return in person of YSE, our London Saturday School, and our Create Together workshops for children with additional needs (the latter continuing to run online to ensure we reach everyone.) We will continue to have sensible, workable and safe covid policies in place across all areas and, as ever, please do get in touch if you have queries or concerns.

Thank you to you all for all your ongoing support.

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Create Together, Wherever! Autumn 2020

We’re thrilled to announce our Create Together, Wherever! series for the Autumn! During the Autumn and through to Christmas, we’ll continue to see our incredible Pro Corda Create Together family online – AND we’ll be carefully and safely bringing back in-person workshops.

Announcing the new autumn Create Together, Wherever! programme.

Andrew, Laura, Kelly, Elly, Dan & Noel are all super excited to announce the new autumn Create Together, Wherever! programme.

We hope that you can all make space in your diaries at 5:00pm each Friday for Pro Corda workshops. We are going to take one show each month and explore it through drama, creative musicianship and yoga and then perform together on the 4th Friday of each month! We will be running workshops every Friday up to the 18th December with a break for half term on Friday 30th October.

DRAMA

Join Elly exploring the characters and plots of the show

Friday 2nd October

 

Friday 6th November

GO CREATE

Join Andrew, Laura & Noel to create new music inspired by the show

Friday 18th September

 

Friday 9th October

 

Friday 13th November

 

Friday 4th December

YOGA

Join Kelly exploring creative yoga practise inspired by the show

Friday 11th September

 

Friday 16th October

 

Friday 20th November

 

Friday 11th December

VIRTUAL THEATRE

Join the whole Pro Corda team for SHOWTIME!

Friday 25th September

 

Friday 23rd October

 

Friday 27th November

 

Friday 18th December

Join the workshops via the website front page – the link will go live at 4:45pm every Friday. Also, keep checking the website for singing & signing and dance videos from Kelly & Laura. We would love for everyone to join in with as many of the activities as they would like to – creativity has NO LIMITS!

Don’t forget you can access tons of fantastic content from some truly wonderful musicals that the Create Together, Wherever! cast have been putting on since March. Click through to Musical Theatre and Go Create to discover more.

Safely bringing back our in-person Create Together, Wherever! courses.

And starting on 17th October at Leiston Abbey we will be bringing back our weekend Create Together courses, as one-day workshops to start with. This Friday also sees the resumption of our Create Together workshops at our partner schools. Pro Corda will be in action at Sunnydown School in Caterham on Friday!”

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2020-21 Course Season

Following all the guidelines, we’ve had a wonderful series of courses this summer – it’s been fantastic to hear chamber music, laughter and joy coming from every corner of Leiston Abbey!

Now, with just over 2 weeks to the start of September, we cannot wait to announce Pro Corda’s 2020-21 course season. Thanks to the whole Pro Corda family coming together, Pro Corda has been able to restart its courses ahead of many other providers which – together with the support of key funders like Arts Council England and BBC Children and Need – has formed part of a very intensive period of courses and online programmes during the national crisis. There is no let up and we plan for 2021 to be our golden year. Annabel and Andrew will be writing to all families in time for the start of September and watch this space for more details on our exciting 2020-21 season!

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24hr Pianothon 2020

Pianothon 2020 will take place from 6pm on Thursday this week and will run right through the night to Friday evening at 6pm! The 24 hour piano concert with Andrew Quartermain will feature special guests and is part of the Piano Sanctuary program run by Pro Corda. Indeed the last hour of the Pianothon will be broadcast live as Episode 20 of Piano Sanctuary On Air on Friday evening at 6pm.

The Pianothon is all about a very special group of people – Pro Corda’s incredible Create Together cast who have been performing every single week during lockdown on the Virtual Theatres and creative workshops.

This week we will be on to show number 20 on those Virtual Theatres, having performed a wide variety of amazing musicals from Wizard of Oz to Dear Evan Hansen, Moana to Les Miserables – it’s been an incredible journey so far.

Pro Corda’s provision for children and young adults with additional needs will continue digitally throughout August and then with a dual delivery of digital workshops and getting participants back together as soon as it is safe to do so. That all means a significant increase of resources, so Pianothon is part of the crowdfunding campaign raising £10,000 to allow us to do that.

To get involved, and be part of Pianothon 2020, click the button to donate.

You can also be part of Pianothon 2020 by tuning in at any point from 6pm on Thursday through to 6pm on Friday. The whole event will be broadcast live on Pro Corda’s YouTube channel. The final hour will then be broadcast as episode 20 of our weekly podcast Piano Sanctuary.

You can link through to the live streams below.

6pm, 6th August - 6pm, 7th August
YouTube LIVE
5pm, 7th August
Piano Sanctuary On Air Podcast

This is an extraordinary event put on for an extraordinary group of people. Please do whatever you can to help us. Thank you.

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Pro Corda secures purchase of Leiston Abbey freehold

After nearly 3 years of negotiations (following the Church’s wish to dispose of its long standing freehold stake in the Leiston Abbey site) we’re thrilled to announce that a fully funded deal has been struck and Pro Corda will now be the proud owners of the Lady Chapel, the Abbey ruins, the entrance drive, and car park.

From Pro Corda’s CEO Andrew Quartermain: “This is a major development and the best possible “welcome back” present to all our Pro Corda community returning to Leiston Abbey as we re-start courses. Owning the freehold (to add to Pro Corda’s existing ownership of the other buildings on site) allows us to do so many things. We can develop new and exciting rehearsal and teaching spaces, we can instigate new and imaginative aspects of the visitor experience for those across the world who visit our site each year, and we can also enhance our own safeguarding of the site together with its security for all our Pro Corda students.”

This whole deal has been made possible by two private funders who will be recorded with a special plaque in due course. We are so immensely grateful to them for their support.

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Leiston Abbey re-opens it's doors

This weekend sees Pro Corda’s first steps back to its courses.

We will be the first course provider of our kind in the country to be back, starting with two small “Piano Sanctuary Retreat” weekends followed by the revised summer series as of 21st July.

From our CEO Andrew: “I’m thrilled we are leading the way bringing residential courses back. Each step we take is within the full boundaries of safety and will be done in the right way at the right time. It is vital also that we continue to operate – for as long as it takes – our “Dual Pro Corda.” Not all our participants will be able to be back with us in person right now, and some will not be able to return for many months. So we will meet that challenge and make sure we are there for them in equal measure. My thanks as ever to a wonderful team. We cannot wait to welcome you back!”

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International Piano Magazine showcases Piano Sanctuary

International Piano Magazine showcases Piano Sanctuary

The following article appeared in the July / August 2020 edition of International Piano Magazine. It is kindly reproduced with permission.


British pianist Andrew Quartermain has launched a new piano and lifestyle initiative aimed at adult learners and piano music lovers. Dubbed Piano Sanctuary, Quartermain says ‘It will be so much more than a piano course. It will be a retreat. It will be about people. It will be about a great social time. It will be about great food and wine. And above all it will be about friendships. The piano will be the common factor that binds all of these threads together.’

Quartermain is the CEO of the leading music education charity Pro Corda in Suffolk, UK. His ideas for Piano Sanctuary have been developed through many years of performing and teaching, meaning that he understands ‘what adult learners actually want, as well as ways to fast-track learning via creative work’.

Piano Sanctuary will feature weekly podcasts (soundcloud. com/liveattheabbey) plus online courses. These include Piano Sanctuary Adventure (which fast- tracks learning via the powers of improvisation) and a Starter course for beginners or those who learnt as children but who have been put off re-starting the piano.

Improvisation plays a key role in Quartermain’s approach because ‘it ticks every single teaching box’, he explains. ‘Pulse, phrasing, understanding of structure, harmonic language, textural and sonority awareness, confidence in performing, technical advancement, memory and also performing technique in general – if you are making up your own music you are developing ways to make a performance sound completely fresh. Plus, for adult learners, improvisation provides a fast-track method to exploring new sounds, possibilities and general sense of excitement at the keyboard.’

Another special initiative Quartermain has developed during the lockdown is a regular Spa session – an offshoot of the weekly podcasts, featuring 20 minutes of non-stop soothing piano music. ‘I’ve received great feedback from listeners,’ says Quartermain. ‘People use it for early evening wind-downs, as well as during stressful and worrying times to get them into sleep mode.’

Once the lockdown lifts, Piano Sanctuary will begin hosting retreats at Suffolk’s beautiful medieval Leiston Abbey and neighbouring Abbey House. ‘Our first retreat takes place from 3-5 July, with many more planned throughout the year,’ says Quartermain. ‘While the virus persists we will ensure complete safety by ensuring very low numbers each weekend. Leiston Abbey also gives us all the space needed for safe, distanced teaching. Each participant will have their own piano and the site will be run like a hotel, including wonderful food prepared and served in very safe ways.’

Quartermain promises that Piano Sanctuary ‘will truly be a music course with a difference’. Meanwhile, the weekly podcasts and regular Spa sessions are free to stream for all those who can’t yet attend a retreat in person.

Once the lockdown lifts, Piano Sanctuary will begin hosting retreats at Suffolk’s beautiful medieval Leiston Abbey and neighbouring Abbey House. ‘Our first retreat takes place from 3-5 July, with many more planned throughout the year,’ says Quartermain. ‘While the virus persists we will ensure complete safety by ensuring very low numbers each weekend. Leiston Abbey also gives us all the space needed for safe, distanced teaching. Each participant will have their own piano and the site will be run like a hotel, including wonderful food prepared and served in very safe ways.’

Quartermain promises that Piano Sanctuary ‘will truly be a music course with a difference’. Meanwhile, the weekly podcasts and regular Spa sessions are free to stream for all those who can’t yet attend a retreat in person.

You can find out more about Piano Sanctuary by clicking the links below:

Piano Sanctuary Podcasts
Piano Sanctuary Weekends
Piano Sanctuary Podcasts
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Join in with our new Create Together Video

Pure Imagination:
Sing & Sign Along
Check out this little teaser trailer to see what the video might look like...
This week we are making a special Create Together, Wherever! video together
- We need your help!

Try and learn the words and signs with Laura, then record yourself singing & signing the WHOLE SONG. Please wear headphones (or have the music turned down really low) and stand close to the screen, facing it when you record yourself. You can see the words by clicking the Willy Wonka banner above.

We can’t wait to see and hear your singing & signing videos!! Send them to laura@procorda.com by Friday 5th June at the latest.

We will then bring everyone’s videos together to make our special Create Together, Wherever! version of Pure Imagination.

Those who making this film are taking part in Pro Corda’s extensive weekly provision for our young people with additional needs “Create Together Wherever” which we launched immediately back in March when the crisis began and when it was clear that these vulnerable children and young adults would be ever more vulnerable during lockdown.

This Sunday’s show will be “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”. If you want to join us, click on the Golden ticket from 2:45pm on Sunday 31st May. We will be LIVE from 3pm!

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Arts Council England’s Coronavirus Emergency Response

Arts Council funding

Pro Corda has been awarded a full grant within Arts Council England’s Coronavirus Emergency Response stream. This represents the 3rd Arts Council grant for Pro Corda in recent times (ACE were also exclusive sponsors of our 50th Anniversary series.)

This new and very significant grant will not only be pivotal as we enter the transition phase back to course delivery, but is also wonderful national recognition of Pro Corda’s current and immediate response to the national crisis via the digital delivery we are putting out across all our programmes – from the Virtual Theatres for our participants with additional needs to Pro Corda@home for our Core course students through to the podcasts.

To find out more about these incredible programs click the links below:

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Pro Corda's Rainbow

Pro Corda's Rainbow - a must watch for all!

With the NHS Rainbow such a poignant symbol during these times – a symbol both of thanks to those who give so much on our behalf and of hope for all of society –  Pro Corda are very proud of a selection of our participants with additional needs who have come together to produce this incredible film.

Do find a moment to watch it
– you won’t regret it!

And do please share it on your social media platforms. All those featured have permission for their performance to be seen.

Those who came together to make this film are taking part in Pro Corda’s extensive weekly provision for our young people with additional needs “Create Together Wherever” which we launched immediately back in March when the crisis began and when it was clear that these vulnerable children and young adults would be ever more vulnerable during lockdown.

As well as creative and instrumental workshops each week, together with daily Pro Corda digital resources for them, these participants come together each Sunday for a Virtual Theatre rehearsal and performance. The show last week was “The Wizard of Oz” featuring of course the ever famous “Over the rainbow!”

Please enjoy Pro Corda’s incredible aural NHS Rainbow……

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