Now, more than 1,700 young musicians can add their names to the list as they and Hampshire Music Service look back on the success of a ‘once in a lifetime’ show.
The spectacular performance consisted of wind, and brass ensembles, several orchestras, massed choirs, dancers and groups, with samba, jazz and Taiko drumming, all members of The Hampshire Music Education Hub. It was the biggest event ever organised by Hampshire Music Service, with more than 200 local schools involved, and it captured the attention of ITV Meridian news on the day.
The concert also included a choir debut of ‘My World’, written by Hampshire composer, Tom Guyer, and writer, Zella Compton. ‘My World’ is a mini musical about ocean pollution and our collective responsibility for change, narrated by Hampshire actor, Sarah Parish.
She said, “I got goose bumps hearing that. It was so incredible and so passionate and brilliant. It’s so important that children enjoy music and have the opportunity to create and be creative. This is a wonderful opportunity for them. Once in a lifetime. They’re never going to forget this.”
St. Mary’s Church of England Junior School in Old Basing had 33 pupils performing at the concert. Head teacher, Caroline Welch, said, “How many children, or in fact adults, can say that they have performed at the Royal Albert Hall? Our children were enthralled. I loved watching their faces as they entered the auditorium for the first time – true awe and wonder. It was a wonderful celebration of the strength and depth of music in Hampshire.”
Tom Welsh-Smythe, who is a Year 5 pupil at St. Marys, sang as part of the massed choir. He said, “It was really exciting to sing at the Royal Albert Hall. I’ve never been there before and it was a lifetime opportunity! We sang several songs. I was especially excited to sing ‘My World’ because it was the world premiere performance. The whole thing was really exciting. I really enjoy singing, especially jazzy, happy songs, and I am going to carry on singing in the choir.”
The concert, organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, also commemorated those who have fought and died in World War One. The programme included Passchendaele and the anthem, ‘We Will Remember Them’.
Hampshire Music Service provides music education and tuition for over 55,000 children in the county each year. The service also co-ordinates bands, ensembles, orchestras and choirs involving Hampshire children and young people as well as organising some 400 performances every year. These can range from small gatherings of musicians and their families, to large events in public venues such as Winchester Cathedral and The Anvil in Basingstoke.
You can buy ‘Hampshire at the Hall’ on DVD for £15, available from late May.
Photo by Richard Washbrooke