Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Ann Beresford, Writer of The Tale Of 3 Trees

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As part of our campaign to give our customers a greater insight into what happens at Out of the Ark Music, we thought you’d like to hear a little more about the creation of our first Easter musical for 7-11 year olds, The Tale Of 3 Trees by Ann Beresford. The Tale Of 3 Trees is a mini-musical with a big heart, perfect as a primary school musical. Full of hope and encouragement, this beautiful traditional folktale is retold with a simple script and four stunning school songs that are full of the expectation, disappointment and ultimate joy at the end of the story. With great Easter songs and the climax focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus, this mini-musical is perfect for Easter, but also suitable for year-round performances.

Just for you, we had our brilliant writer, Ann Beresford, answer a few questions about what inspired her to write The Tale Of 3 Trees and why schools will love it just as much as we do.

Where did the idea/inspiration come from for The Tale Of 3 Trees?
The inspiration came from the beautifully illustrated children’s book which I read to my girls 30 years ago and rediscovered when sorting through their things when they moved out! At the time I was looking for a theme for a summer holiday club that would offer lots of different activities for 5 mornings – art, drama, music, games, quizzes, reflection etc. So, finding The Tale Of 3 Trees book was a gift! The original author is unknown and so it is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Tim Jonke. It is such an unusual and moving angle on the story of Jesus that I was really surprised it had not already been published as a musical! I wrote the songs initially to tell the story in daily episodes and then formed it into a play for children to perform at the end of the week. The children and adults loved all the songs, and parents reported them singing them all the time! We went on to develop the play and performed it with a live band to crowds in the middle of town on Easter Saturday. It was challenging in practicalities, but so exciting!

Were there any challenges you found when writing a new adaptation of a Christian folk tale?
The themes of dreams, hopes and disappointments in so many aspects of life are relevant to every generation and so the challenge was to write up-to-date tunes and lyrics that children would relate to today. They needed to get across the message that there are higher things than power, fame and fortune to aspire to. Things that seem devastating to us at the time can be turned around for our good and the benefit of others too.

Which is your favourite song in the play, and why?
Musically the songs needed to be memorable, fun or inspiring without being too sentimental or too easy. I try to write interesting melodies with a wide range and gorgeous harmonies! I just loved sitting down with my guitar telling the story. My favourite song is the final one, I Could Never Have Imagined, written at the piano. I can hear an adult choir arrangement of it.

Which aspect of this musical are you most proud of?
Obviously, I’m proud of all four songs. I could have written a couple more maybe and padded out the script to make it half an hour, but I kept to the original book and so it is really useful for a twenty-minute assembly.

Why will schools love this musical?
The musical is so versatile, there are so many themes that teachers can bring out. There are also so many different ways to stage it from simple to complex: from solos, to trios, to choir; and from minimal to elaborate costumes, sets and artwork.

If you had to sum up The Tale Of 3 Trees in a few sentences, what would you say?
Three trees dream of what they want to become, but when things don't turn out the way they had hoped, they are dreadfully disappointed. Yet in the mundane jobs they are created to do, they discover that they play a significant role in the life of the greatest person in history - Jesus. In a way they couldn’t possibly have imagined, their dreams came true. I hope my musical version of this simple but profound story will have a lasting effect on all who participate.

Find out more about The Tale Of 3 Trees here.

Ann Beresford has also featured on a number of our other songbooks, including many from the well-known My World series. View the My World series here.

Interviewed by Florence Robjohn - Creative Marketing Assistant, Out of the Ark Music Team.

Keep up to date with all the latest from Out of the Ark Music by signing up to our eNewsletter and subscribing to our blog here.

USED IT? LOG IT! Most schools have a CWCL licence from Christian Copyright Licensing Limited (CCLI) - more information can be found here. This licence grants permission to display song lyrics and music from Out of the Ark Music’s Words on Screen™ Singchronize™ Player and CD ROMs, on any projection screen as well as download and share lyrics and music. Whenever you use our songs, please make note of your usage and then log your songs on your CCLI copy report, so that song writers and copyright holders are paid for their work.

Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary school musicals and primary school songs for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous Easter songs, harvest songs, school assembly songs, leavers songs and even space songs, fill schools with laughter and give students and teachers alike, a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.

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