Peter Rose was appointed Head of Expressive Arts at St Augustine’s RC High School, Lancashire in 1980, and his massed choirs of children aged 11-16 soon became renowned throughout the world for their wonderful performances.
Anne Conlon, a graduate of Liverpool University, was Head of English and eventually Senior Teacher at St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More RC High School from 1980 until her retirement in 2005, and was very happy to accept Peter Rose’s request in 1980 to write the lyrics for their first musical collaboration: The Conversion Job, a highly amusing musical telling the story of Saint Augustine and his forty heroic monks as they set about their daunting task of converting Britain to Christianity.
Peter and Anne’s second collaboration, The Kestrel Song, won the BBC/WWF “Sounds Natural” Competition in 1982 and led to a commission from Ivan Hattingh, WWF’s Head of Education, to write a musical highlighting the dangers being posed to the world’s rainforests. The resulting work (in 1983) was Yanomamo, the world’s first ecological musical, which has since become one of the most performed children’s musicals in the entire repertoire.
Further WWF commissions followed: African Jigsaw (1986), which explores the problems of migration from countryside to city in developing countries; Ocean World (1990), which tells the story of a mother whale and her baby calf making their treacherous journey north; and Arabica (1996), which uses the glamorous commodity of coffee to explore the injustices that arise from international trade and debt. These four musicals have been performed by hundreds of thousands of children on every continent of the world, and they simultaneously delight and educate audiences with their unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking ecological narratives. Several have also become award-winning television programmes, including Song of the Forest (narrated by Sting for Channel 4), Ocean World (narrated by Sir David Attenborough also for Channel 4) and African Jigsaw, broadcast as a ‘Splash Special’ documentary on ITV.
Peter and Anne’s latest collaboration is One Sun One World. Commissioned to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of WWF in 2011, One Sun One World was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in London by over 1500 children from the schools of Kensington and Chelsea, the Choir of St Augustine’s, Lancashire, soloists from the Royal College of Music, and the English Chamber Orchestra (augmented by students from the Royal College of Music.) One Sun One World is now being performed across the world, and is introducing a new genration of children to the tuneful, memorable and though-provoking work of ‘Rose/Conlon’.
VIST THE ROSE/CONLON WEBSITE AT WWW.ROSECONLONMUSIC.COM