School children from Bishop Ramsey CE School, London, have created and recorded a new song for world-famous mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato which is being released by Erato today [22 April] to coincide with Earth Day. An accompanying music video for the single will also be unveiled in partnership with Classic FM. The song – called Seeds of Hope – has already been performed by children’s choirs all over the world as part of DiDonato’s EDEN tour.
Seeds of Hope was created as part of a pilot project for a ground-breaking global engagement programme that aims to reconnect young people with nature through the power of music. This formed a fundamental part of Joyce’s EDEN project, a global initiative that also includes a recording on Warner Classics’ Erato label and a 45-venue tour across five continents.
To create the song, Joyce invited the children to explore nature around their school, plant bulbs, and seeds, and asked them to think about the question, ‘what if trees could sing?’. With that question in mind, they created lyrics and melodies which their teacher, Mike Roberts, pieced together to create Seeds of Hope. Warner Classics recorded them performing the song with Joyce and is releasing it today on Erato as a single for Earth Day [22 April]. They have also created a music video, debuting simultaneously in partnership with Classic FM.
Joyce spent a day rambling in the school’s woodland area with the children as they worked towards performing and recording the new song. “It touched me to see how the children began to notice the nature around them – foxes, trees, birds, and beetles – and to fall in love with it in a new way,” she observed.
The sheet music for ‘Seeds of Hope’ is available on Joyce’s EDEN website and children from all locations on the EDEN tour will be working on the themes of EDEN through music in advance of joining her to perform ‘Seeds of Hope’ on stage.
Joyce DiDonato said: “Part of EDEN’s mission is to challenge everyone who encounters it to stop and observe the beauty that is present all around them. Sometimes it requires a shift of focus, and sometimes it comes from an inspiring infusion of art and beauty created in real-time.”
From prison reform, the plight of refugees, the need for music education for all, to the industry-defining In War and Peace, opera superstar Joyce DiDonato has long been an artist who has dedicated herself to creating and initiating projects that challenge and galvanise the public, transcending the physical confines of the concert hall.
EDEN is DiDonato’s latest multi-faceted initiative, one that she will dedicate much of her time over the next four years to, uniting music, drama, and education to confront questions of our individual connection to Nature. DiDonato’s passionate belief, and the driving force behind EDEN, is that a collective return to our “best selves” is needed to not only address our current climate crisis but the crisis of heart, as well. By examining our relationship to the natural world and our unique place within it, EDEN invites the listener to explore and search for answers about belonging, purpose, and healing.
The full EDEN album is available now on Erato/Warner Classics and celebrates music ranging from the 17th to the 21st century, and embracing such composers as Handel, Gluck, Wagner, Mahler, Ives, Copland, and Oscar-winner Rachel Portman – whom DiDonato commissioned to write a new work, especially for EDEN.