More than 3,000 young musicians have taken to stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the annual School Proms.
Lasting three days, from Monday to Wednesday, November 10 to 12, the event saw school and youth music groups, orchestras, choirs and other partnerships perform specially commissioned pieces.
Among the highlights on the first evening, 650 young people from Calderdale performed a Qawwali – an energetic musical performance of Sufi Muslim music and poetry – by the late master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The work, Tumhein Dil Lagi, explores the themes of equal opportunities, community cohesion and right versus wrong and the costumed young people chanted the cries of war in between verses while clapping in the Qawwali style.
The Tuesday saw a premiere of Secret Music, which used Siegfried Sassoon’s poem of the same name as its inspiration. Composer Ed Puddick, nine music hubs from Greater Manchester, and the Greater Manchester Jazz Orchestra brought the poem to life to mark Remembrance Day.
The final evening included the South Riverside Music Partnership Massed Ensemble, which brought together four music hubs and the Animate orchestra. Entitled The London Breed, the performance was inspired by Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem of the same name and reflected the diversity of talent among young the south east Londoners.
The School Proms are organised by Music for Youth, a national youth music organisation that provides free performance opportunities for young people aged 21 and under.
The event is sponsored by the National Union of Teachers, Royal Albert Hall, ABRSM, and Vivendi, and is also funded by Arts Council England, the Department for Education, and Creative Scotland.
Judith Webster, chief executive of Music for Youth, said: “Despite items in the news about the state of music education in the UK, each year we have huge problems trying to decide who to invite to take part – such is the standard of music-making by young people all over the country.
“There is so much high-quality music being performed by young musicians, supported by dedicated and committed music teachers and leaders, and we feel it is vital to celebrate and shout about the fantastic work and achievements, which are an inspiration to others in the sector and beyond to a public audience.”
For more information and a full list of the groups, music hubs and schools involved this year, visit www.mfy.org.uk/schoolsprom CAPTIONS: (image above) The Greater Manchester Massed Ensemble, from nine music services in the city, perform Secret Music
The Calderdale Massed Ensemble performs a Qawwali (above, two images)
St Cecilia Singers and Coloma Choir from Surrey sing faith-inspired songs (above)
The Beckfoot Drumline from Beckfoot School, West Yorkshire (above)
The balloon drop which marked the finale of each night’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall (above)
The TMC Gospel Choir, a Cwmbran choir for students aged 10 to 18, performing (above)