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Camden schoolchildren rock the Royal Albert Hall

Pupils take over one of world's most prestigious venues for dazzling concert

16 March, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

SCHOOLCHILDREN took over one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues on Monday evening to stage a stunning night of music.

More than 2,500 pupils took part in the Camden Schools Music Festival, held every two years in the Royal Albert Hall. Normally reserved for some of the globe’s best-known musicians, the youngsters sang and played instruments in an evening compered by Channel 4 newscaster Jon Snow.

Owen Cotter, Year 6, Miriam Berry, Year 4

They were following in the footsteps of the likes of Adele, Beyonce and Frank Sinatra to perform there. Esther Caplin, chair of Trustees at the Camden Music Trust, which organises the event, told the New Journal: “Tonight brings so much together because it is a whole team approach. It’s so much bigger than the individual. It’s also celebratory and is so important for the children because it means kids will be able to access more opportunities. Let’s not forget that music brings joy and raises their soul.”

Muryn Power, Year 4, Gwen Cotter, Year 4, Maya Germain-Bond, Year 4, Alisa Kamberi, Year 4

This year’s event included an original composition performed by each member in the hall, called The Wondrous Machine, composed by James Redwood of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Mr Snow said: “This is the first time everyone has performed together in this hall after practising in their respective schools. Take this as a tribute to our wonderful conductors and the schools that everyone is here together and in harmony.”

Kayden Suleman, Year 5, Gaspard Grosclaude, Year 5

He added: “I’ve been to nearly every concert so far. This is my 10th and I don’t want to be disingenuous but this is the best ever. And I’m a reporter so I tell the truth.”

Erlisa Hajrullahu, 10, a Year 5 pupil at Beckford Primary School, performed a solo, Bring Me Sunshine, in front of the mass audience as the final song of the night but said she wasn’t knocked by nerves and felt excited. She said: “I’ve been singing at home since I was six years old then I joined the school choir three years ago. I love singing because it lets you bring emotion into a story.”

The mission of the Camden Music Trust is to open doors for every child in the borough regardless of their ability to pay, creating musical opportunities for all of Camden’s children. The Camden Music Trust offers bursaries and scholarships, helping the 15,000 children who are living below the breadline. To date more than 23,000 children and young adults living in Camden have sung, played and performed at the event and the Trust is calling on local businesses and donors to help them continue this legacy.

Peter West from the Camden Music Trust said: “Over the past 20 years it’s been clear to see that the festival has raised expectations.”

Christina Hindmarsh, a music teacher at Kingsgate whose speciality is the cello, said: “Certain children out there develop with instruments, then there are some who discover they have a talent. Music is also important as a form of escape. I can’t think of another borough in London which does music as well as Camden does. I think it’s amazing, but maybe I am biased.”


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