Category Archives: In the Office

Marathon Money


Hello everyone.

My marathon attempt gathers pace. 15 miles on Sunday, 18 this coming Saturday. That’s the furthest I will run before the big day. You have to leave yourself a bit of a challenge!

The CRAZY hills of Sheffield can only count in my favour in Germany. I’m not complacent, but running on the flat will be a DREAM after the ups and downs of Sheffield’s Seven Hills.

Every penny that everyone gives will help to support the fantastic work of Music in the Community in bringing inspirational music to as many people as we can possibly manage.

You can donate now! Please follow this link and help put a spring in my step!

THANK YOU to you all! More updates to follow.

Fraser, Learning & Participation Manager

@frasermitr (click this to follow me on Twitter as the marathon approaches)

If you’d rather not pay until after the run, but would still like to promise an amount, that’s fine! Please click here to make your promise

In the running

My two great passions are music and running. Ingeniously, I’ve found the perfect way of combining the two: tackling a Marathon for Music in the Community! Thus I’ll be running the Cologne Marathon on 13 October this year. For me this will complete a trio of October runs, having previously completed Loch Ness (2009) and Amsterdam (2010).

Twenty-six miles of street-pounding. I might mention that this is about the same as Sheffield to Huddersfield (though Cologne has fewer hills – phew!). It’s also, of course, the distance that Pheidippides sprinted after the battle of Marathon back to Athens before he *collapsed and died*.

I’d love you all to run with me. If not literally (and you might just have missed the training boat now) then by donating generously and sending me on my way with a huge incentive to run well! Every pound we raise will help Music in the Community to continue and extend its wonderful work in sharing music, and a love of music, with people of all ages and backgrounds. So please give as generously as you can – remembering just how jolly far away Huddersfield is

How to pay? From 1 October you will be able to donate quickly and securely online via our website.. At any point from now on (even after race day) you may send a cheque (payable to The Lindsay Foundation) to MitR Marathon, Music in the Round, 4th Floor, Sheffield Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield S1 1XZ. Or you could bring cash to any of our autumn concerts. Whatever and however you give – THANK YOU! You’ll spur me on to run as fast as I possibly can!

Keep in touch!

More on Music in the Community and its work is only a click away.. In the lead-up to the big day I’ll be blogging about it here, and once I leave on the Friday you’ll be able to follow my progress and send general messages of encouragement on Twitter.. You’ll find it’s just like being there, only without the Bockwurst or trainers. Or the 26-mile run.

Fraser    @frasermitr

A carnival of animals!

It’s been all go in the office this week. As the summer morphs into the autumn, schools go back, holidays end, we start to kick on with our preparations for the autumn season. In my first little while as Learning & Participation maestro, with the rest of 2013 in prospect, I’ve had animals on the mind for much of the time: planning and photographing for our Giraffes Can’t Dance Music Box workshops, talking to Paul Rissmann about dog-and-cat duo Stan and Mabel and whether horses really can play bassoons, or deciding whether our budget will stretch to cow onesies for that all-important press photo.


That’s all been complemented, from the desk next to mine, by Polly, creative supremo and recently appointed Learning and Participation Creative Director, who (with the “travelling the world through music” theme of Stan and Mabel uppermost in mind) has been playing the Flower Duet from Lakmé and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries in recent days. By the way, I love the twist at the end of Stan and Mabel (anyone who isn’t yet familiar with Jason Chapman’s wonderful book should look away now to avoid a spoiler): not only do they form the only animal orchestra in the world – they form the best animal orchestra in the world!!


As with all our early-years commissions, with these two pieces we aim to open up classical music to the whole family through workshops, participation, engagement, learning, and FUN! A new strand for us this year is the focus on assisting the continuing development of teachers and facilitators, and offering them resources and ideas to support their work with children, through INSET sessions, the first of which takes place in Sheffield next month. More are planned elsewhere in 2014. And, in the name of making sure that maximum fun and fulfilment can be had at every turn, there will soon be a Stan and Mabel Participation Pack available for free on our website (by the end of the month), which will enable teachers, parents, children – everyone – to learn all the songs and games before coming to one of the concerts later in the year.

As a serious hard-working journalist, I put down my tea, leaned to my left, and asked Polly for a suitable quote about all this. She told me: “Everyone can take part in music. With our world-class musicians, there’s an emphasis on quality, and our commissions from Paul enable children and their families to be part of something that’s really inspiring and accessible.” Regarding INSET sessions, she says that “the emphasis is very much on helping and supporting parents and teachers so that it becomes something they can all share in with their children.”


So we look forward to October, when the wonderful Ensemble 360 return to enliven and inspire us in the Crucible Studio and elsewhere with warm, world-class music-making – and, if all goes to plan, to don the occasional bovine suit in the name of fun…


Learning & Participation Manager    @frasermitr

Something new, something old and something…Christmassy Sheffield Autumn Series 2013

I was going to write about our Autumn Series highlights but I’m finding it impossible to choose so here’s a bit about everything…

Let’s start with our wonderful Ensemble 360 who is playing, as ever, both pillars of the repertoire from the likes of Brahms, Dvorak and Mendelssohn as well as embracing other composers that always demand to be heard. I’m personally very much looking forward to their first concert of the season which marks Lutoslawski’s 100th birthday and Wagner’s 200th birthday – if you don’t know Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes you should definitely check it out!

We’re excited to be joined by Sheffield-based acclaimed author Marina Lewycka to explore why music is such a compelling international language. Born in a refugee camp in Germany, she moved to England at a young age. Her first novel, the unusually titled A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian became a hit in 2005 and three more books have followed since.


Continuing with the Sheffield-based talent; we’re incredibly privileged that Peter Hill has chosen Sheffield to give the world premiere of a newly discovered Messiaen work which he has completed from its incomplete original manuscript. This is ground-breaking work and Peter has kindly agreed to share more about his process in a lecture earlier in the season. Look out for more in the music press and listen out to BBC Radio 3 (who will be recording the concert) in the lead up to the premiere.


Then, moving away from the local genius, we move overseas to Beethoven. Whilst Tim embarks on the homeward journey with the fifth out of eight concerts in his magnificent Beethoven Piano Sonata series, the Elias Quartet take the maiden voyage in a six-concert series of Beethoven String Quartets – well, you can never have too much Beethoven. We’re delighted to welcome them back to what we’ll always see as their home.

Working in partnership with the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition, we’re looking forward to welcoming their 2012 winners, the Arcadia String Quartet, to Sheffield. This will be part of their first ever UK tour and one of their short pieces will be MitR’s first introduction to the music of Adrian Pop, a composer from the Arcadia’s home country of Romania.

And that takes us to Christmas (well, there are only 158 shopping days left to go!) and The City Musick launch us head-first into the festivities with traditional Christmas songs and instrumental music from the 17th to 19th centuries.


And all that without even mentioning the incredible Music in the Community work that’s happening as part of the series; Stan and Mabel schools and family concerts, Music Box children’s workshops, Lads, Dads and Grandads vocal workshop and a string masterclass. But more about those anon.