The Hope Project is a day of music being offered free of charge for the people of Newport to come to be soothed and comforted by beautiful minimalist music. It will take place in an empty shop in the city centre at Friars Walk on Saturday November 21st, 2020.
This idea began to develop in the early, frustrating summer of 2020 when I realised all my musical work was gone. As a freelance musician there was nothing on the horizon. I was listening a lot to Phillip Glass' music which I find very healing and comforting... I wanted to share this beautiful, healing music with others who I knew were also suffering in many ways. I approached some fellow musicians from the St Woolos Sinfonia to see if they'd be interested in putting together a program of minimalist/contemporary music to provide solace to the people of our city Newport who are really suffering at this time. I found very sympathetic minds and hearts in my fellow musicians Christoph Madler, James Drummond and Nerys Clark, and we decided to do something totally free for our fellow Newport residents. Newport has been hit hard economically by Covid and there are a lot of empty shops. We felt a vacant shop would be the perfect venue from which to offer this music as it represents our desire to go into the darkest, empty spaces to bring beauty and hope to them. It also provides us with a large enough space that we can safely do this following social-distancing guidelines in a large and well-ventilated space. We approached the staff at Friar's Walk shopping centre to ask if we could rent a space for a day and thankfully they are happy for us to use the shop in a unique way. We are going to set up the shop very simply using coloured tape to mark off areas where people can stand well-distanced from one another and just invite them to come in as they walk past for a moment of calm and reflection. They can stay and listen to just one piece or stay longer if they wish. We've planned to do three 1-hour sets throughout the day so that many people can wander in and out while not exceeding social-distancing guidance.
We'll be playing powerful, atmospheric music by music by Philip Glass:Max Richter:
and Samuel Barber:
Our hope is to make this a series of 'Hope concerts' this winter and spring.
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness and life to everything." - Plato