Royal Albert Hall Performance
HAMPSHIRE AT THE HALL - Royal Albert Hall - 23rd April 2018
Well what a day! We had so much fun and the children were amazing and not only the 35 who represented St Mary's but all 1700 of them including many ex-St Mary's pupils playing in a variety of county music groups. We are so proud of them all for representing us so well. Below you will find a show report written by Sarah Crowdy, one of of parent helpers. I have interspersed her report with photos from the day. Many thanks from Ms Welch and myself to Mrs Jones (our woodwind teacher), Mrs Chittey and Mrs Crowdy for helping us with looking after our children for 16 whole hours with no breaks. It is no small task taking youngsters to such a huge central venue and they worked incredibly hard and supported the children and myself so incredibly well.
The Day we went to the Royal Albert Hall....
The bus departed St Mary’s just before 9:30am and we had an uneventful journey to the Albert Hall, popping in for a quick toilet stop and photo opportunity before eating our lunch and having a run around in Hyde Park.
The Photo Opportunity!
The children had brought skipping ropes and balls and howlers and organised themselves brilliantly, forming happy, chatting, skipping, enthusiastic, bouncy groups until it was time to head inside for our rehearsal.
Hyde Park Lunch and Playtime
They had to leave their bags and go into the auditorium with none of the things they had brought with them to keep themselves occupied. They then were sat in their seats for around 2.5 hours of rehearsals, joining in as required and sitting quietly when not, appreciating their surroundings and the splendour of the venue. Mrs Chittey and I sat in the stalls listening, with the occasional toilet trip and replenishing water supplies. We were able to chat to the lyricist and composer of “My World”, a piece specially commissioned for the occasion, and to Jill Larner, Head of Hampshire Music Service, and the person who had made it all happen. It wasn’t a small undertaking to get 1,700 Hampshire children from nearly 200 schools to the Royal Albert Hall to perform, and there have been hours and days of planning and rehearsing behind the scenes to make it all happen.
After the rehearsal, we paid a quick visit to the Wonderlab at the Science Museum, where the children let off steam for a while playing with and in the exhibits, sliding down the slide, watching flashing shoes being lit up by electricity and watching dry ice float around in water. We then ate our packed tea before heading back to the hall to drop our bags before having another quick run around in the park. Then it was time for the performance. What a splendid occasion! The end of the first half featured the Hampshire County Youth Wind Ensemble and the Band of the Scots Guards together performing “Passchendaele”, followed by a moving anthem “We will remember them” which featured our children. It was sombre and yet uplifting, and beautifully performed.
The main event for the massed choir was in the second half, when they were involved in the world premiere of “My World” a piece written to highlight the plight of sea creatures in the face of our pollution. Sarah Parish was the narrator, with the Hampshire Youth Jazz group accompanying.
We are on the left of the screen on the far left of the choir stalls above and below the barrier!
Several St Mary’s children were also involved in a performance of Fiddler’s Hill, which involved many hundreds of the county’s string players.
The String Ensemble (with 2 of our girls somewhere within there!)
There were also other bands, a very loud Samba performance, exciting Taiko drums, several smaller choirs and it was all rounded off with a rousing rendition of Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 in D, Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory with the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, Basingstoke, Gosport & Fareham and Winchester Area Youth Orchestras playing, massed choirs singing and all 1,700 performers squashed into the packed Albert Hall. The encore ended with fireworks and hundreds of balloons floating down from the ceiling – a memorable end to a very special concert.
We were a bit late back, so I’m sure there are a few tired children (and staff!) at school today but they will have special memories from an amazing day.
THANK YOU to Jill Larner and the Hampshire Music Service for making it all happen, to all the HMS and school personnel for all the rehearsing, planning and preparation, to Ms Welch for enabling St Mary’s participation, and especially to Mrs Malone, the most inspirational and enthusiastic music teacher a school could wish for, whose boundless energy and enthusiasm kept us all going!