Welcome to sch.im Isle of Man Department of Education, Sport & Culture


Alan Pickard memorial concert

Last evening proved to be a very emotional and also uplifting concert in the memory of Mr Alan Pickard.

From reading his CV in the programme it became obvious of the immensely positive impact that Mr Pickard had in the community for many years, proving an inspiration to many.

It was a privilege therefore to be involved, in what I'm sure was regarded as being a very suitable tribute.

Please feel free to comment on the concert, and also on the memories that you wish to share of our former Head of Music Service.


New Chronicles of Mann



Primary pupils will premiere new Manx work

PRIMARY school pupils will be in good voice at the Villa Marina in June when they take part in the fourth Children in Song concert.

A record 19 schools, plus the Manx Children’s Choir, will perform the world premiere of The New Chronicles of Mann, a specially commissioned work by highly regarded composer Lin Marsh.

Head of the Department of Education’s Music Service Maggie Richardson, herself a talented singer, will rehearse the school choirs, with their teachers, during the summer term in readiness for the concert in the Royal Hall on Saturday 26 June at 7pm.

Children in Song is held every other year and the Villa Marina was packed for the last performance, which saw more than 500 young singers take to the stage in June 2008.

The concert is staged by the Douglas Buxton Music Trust, which was formed to honour the achievements of the late Mr Buxton, a music teacher who famously founded the Lon Dhoo Male Voice Choir in 1937 and the Lon Vane Ladies Choir in 1946.

A library exists in his name at the Department of Education’s Music Centre in Lord Street, Douglas.

Maggie explained how voice specialist Lin Marsh, who directs the National Youth Music Theatre and has written for BBC children’s programmes on TV and radio, was commissioned to create the work thanks to sponsorship from the Manx Heritage Foundation and the Isle of Man Arts Council.

‘When I first approached Lin about the project, she asked me to give her some information about the Isle of Man,’ Maggie said. ‘I rattled off lots of random things but the idea of seeing seven kingdoms from the top of Snaefell really caught her imagination. The opening song, The Seven Kingdoms, describes the natural beauty of the Island, its location in the Irish Sea and where heaven meets sea. The poetry in the lyrics is exquisite.

‘Her composition comprises nine songs and nine poems about various aspects of Manx culture and history. From the jolly Strolling Down the Prom to the spooky Moddey Dhoo, from the plight of the Laxey miners in The Lady Isabella to the jaunty and jazzy Manx Cat, there is something for everyone.

‘The trustees are delighted with the extent of Lin’s research and this collection of very attractive songs and poems.

‘Children in Key Stages 1 and 2 will really enjoy singing them.’

Maggie continued: ‘The Island has a strong singing tradition going back generations and it is hoped that this collection will become a part of our music tradition for generations to come. Children, teachers and families still remember the fun of previous Children in Song projects and it is through such events that a lifelong love of singing can be initiated and nurtured.’

Lin commented: ‘This has been such a pleasurable commission. Although I had never visited the Isle of Man before, my father comes from the Shetland isles and I am used to island life and its ways.

‘I found in the Isle of Man a beautiful place with such friendly people and a wealth of history – a composer’s dream! Spending five days here gave me a magical glimpse of the heritage and possibilities for song and verse. I do hope I’ve captured some of this magic and I can’t wait to hear the children singing in June.’

It is hoped that the theme of the New Chronicles of Mann will carry though to other, classroom-based work as part of the Manx curriculum, Maggie said.

Details of how to purchase tickets for the concert will be announced later.