Coffee, cakes and bicycle pumps...

By Nicole Wilson  -  05 July 2017

When international concert pianist Caroline Clipsham moved from London to the idyllic north Devon coast, she was thrilled to have so much on her doorstep for her two children, Emelia age 4 and Charlie age 2. ‘The lifestyle here is incredible’ she tells me. ‘We have so many outdoor sporting activities, the beach, the stunning countryside - it’s absolutely fantastic’. However having come from an intensely musical background (Chetham’s School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama followed by a career touring the world as a soloist and chamber musician) Caroline wanted her own children to hear classical music as they grew up.

Having searched high and low to no avail for any local music groups or family friendly concerts that she could take them to, Caroline decided to set up her own concert series for kids - PolkaDot Concerts.

‘These are informal concerts where you can bring your kids, expose them to great live, classical music but not expect them to sit down all the way through. My son Charlie couldn’t possibly sit still for 45 mins and concentrate but here he and all his little friends, can get up when they feel like it, have a dance along and even join in on the little percussion instruments we have for them at the front’ Caroline explains. ‘The parents sit on the comfy chairs at the back and the kids are on a rug right by the musicians so they can get up close and hear the power of the instruments as well as see all the details.’

Coffee and cake is of course provided afterwards at these monthly morning concerts currently hosted at Goodleigh Village Hall and Caroline takes the same programme into local schools for the slightly older children to experience this classic music. Next summer she’ll be transporting her concerts to the seaside for a family picnic day then even dogs can enjoy the experience!

Caroline has called on her friends and colleagues from the classical music world to visit her in this beautiful part of England and join her in these bitesize concerts to enhance the musical life of kids in north Devon. The first concerts of this year include an opera singer, giving the kids a taste of the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ complete with flag waving; violist Kate Skeet, founder of Lilliput concerts - the highly popular kids concert series in Cheltenham and Bristol and Simeon Wood who will be performing on his flute, panpipes, bicycle pump and NHS walking stick… We think that alone is worth a trip to Devon to see…


Find out more about PolkaDot Concerts here 

About Nicole Wilson

Principal freelance violinist in London, ex London Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, Nicole is also a CD producer, TV/Radio presenter and founder of Musical Orbit.

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