Projects 2014-2015

Magna Carta Project: Magna Songs

2015 saw the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. To mark this, La Folia has made a new ‘great charter’ of songs, created by students from special schools and their families. Large in scale and diverse in content, the project has provided many opportunities for the special schools involved and their extended communities to give voice to their needs and human rights in today’s society.

“Both verbal and non-verbal students found a language, an expression of themselves, which made others listen to them in a different way and make them understand.”

Click here to read an article about the project from Arts Council England.


Project Structure

  • Drama devised from students’ exploration of the story of King John and the Magna Carta, raising issues in contemporary society
  • Music composition of songs (devising words and music); Indian music in which the sounds are closely related to the vocalising of children who cannot speak
  • Movement expression through Indian dance, particularly to enable wheelchair participants to explore upper body and hand movements
  • Visual arts making banners, costumes, back cloths, props
  • Film recording for online publication
  • Online publishing providing songs for the international community
  • Performance of songs in chamber concert


  • Pilot sessions in drama and dance in schools
  • Teacher creative workshops
  • Pupil creative workshops in schools; song-writing, dance and drama
  • Family workshop day; families with children with disabilities find it difficult to attend activities together so this is a specific and much needed holiday opportunity for them
  • Pupil visit to Cathedral to explore the Chapter House and the sound world of the Cathedral
  • Public performance in Salisbury Cathedral
  • Pupil visit to hospital to perform to their clinicians and therapists

“Truly the most inspirational show and I took so much from it. The children are my heroes. Absolutely fantastic. Brilliant.” Audience member at hospital performance

  • Filming and recording
  • Publishing songbook online
  • Final public concert; songs were performed by international tenor Mark Padmore, juxtaposed with a multi-instrumental exploration of Bach’s Art of Fugue; this concert validated Magna Songs as worthy of performance at the highest level and set them alongside Bach’s great Magna Carta of music

“It was an extraordinary achievement driven by the extraordinary Howard Moody and it was a privilege to have been involved. The audience’s response at the end of the performance, deep silence and tearful faces, was an apt indication of what had been created.  It was deeply moving.” Audience member at chamber concert

Magna Songs Chamber Concert Review 19.09.15

Magna Songs

Image from hospital performance.

Project Team

Howard Moody: artistic director, composer, arranger, keyboard
Colin Brown: drama
Emily Blows: song
Anusha Subramanyam: Indian dance
Susan Francis: visual art
Adrian Zolotuhin: recording producer; fretted instruments
Vipul Sangoi: film; online publishing
Mark Padmore: tenor
University of Winchester Research Centre for Arts as Wellbeing: evaluation; dissemination of good practice
Sue Kent: management

Participating Schools

Exeter House Special School (Salisbury)
Larkrise Special School (Trowbridge)
Woodford Valley Primary Academy – Resource Base for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (Salisbury)
Grove Primary School – Resource Base for pupils with hearing impairment (Trowbridge)

Funders Arts Council England; Anonymous La Folia Friends; Frank and Elizabeth Brenan; Frank Misselbrook Foundation; NADFAS; Overwood Trust; Wiltshire Music Connect; Salisbury Independent Hospital Trust

ACE black 150Wiltshire Music Connect 150NADFAS 100

Oakley School visits Glyndebourne

October workshop in Oakley School with Howard Moody and Glyndebourne baritone
October 20: Oakley pupils visit Glyndebourne performance for schools of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale

World War 1 Commemoration

Workshops at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House May and October 2014
La Folia worked with soldiers in recovery to make music to enhance their lives.
Rehearsals with Ageas Salisbury Festival Men’s Chorus September – November 2014
Performance: In Remembrance 8 November 2014 at St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury
A concert combining instrumental music written in 1914, songs created in 2014 by contemporary soldiers, and vocal music written in 2014 inspired by an event of 1914.

In Rememberance

“Wow, what a great concert!  Incredible. Certainly one that will stay with me for a long time … a powerful and thought provoking experience. Thanks so much for letting  me be part of it.” Musician, In Remembrance

“It was so good – and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.” Audience Member, In Remembrance

Funders La Folia Friends; Fawcetts; The Girdlers Company
In collaboration with St Thomas’s Church and Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival

Elevate (ArtCare)

Elevate is a project to bring live arts to patients, staff and visitors at Salisbury District Hospital. La Folia perform recitals in wards and public spaces every two months.

“Music reaches the soul in ways that words cannot always. In such a public place – how wonderful! Thank you.” Audience Member


Ken Aiso (violin)
Anna Cooper (violin and accordion)
Joely Koos (cello)
Mark Withers (clarinet)
Morgan Szymanski (guitar)

Funders Arts Council England; Salisbury Independent Hospital Trust