With the Proms season in full swing in venues across the UK, we were delighted to be joined by 30 young musicians and their tutors from North Lincolnshire at our recent BBC Ten Pieces Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.
Ten Pieces is a BBC-led initiative which aims to engage young people (aged 7-14 years) in orchestral music by selecting an annual shortlist of ten pieces of repertoire and providing classroom teaching resources, concerts and workshops. Each year the Proms celebrates the Ten Pieces programme with a concert extravaganza at the Royal Albert Hall. In addition to performing this year’s specially chosen repertoire, the RPO were able to showcase their community and education work in North Lincolnshire through an original creative response.
Coming together over two weekends in June and July, the young musicians from North Lincolnshire Music Education Hub created their very own original piece of music. Supported by Creative Leader Paul Griffiths and 4 RPO musicians, the ensemble took inspiration from acclaimed Indian composer Ravi Shankar’s Symphony, one of the pieces featured in the Prom concerts on Sunday 23rd July.
With ages ranging from 10-19 years and from beginner to diploma level abilities, the students worked tirelessly alongside the professional musicians to build their piece. In just 20 hours of work, students used scales, rhythms, melodies, structures and textures from Shankar’s piece to produce their brand new composition, The Faces of Brahma. The group chose the title because Brahma is the Hindu god of creation with four faces, and their piece had four very distinct movements.
With the piece complete, the students then travelled down to London to perform the premiere of their piece side-by-side with the full RPO to two sell-out Royal Albert Hall audiences of 5,000 people! The students, who had never been to the Hall before, were excited to meet their fellow performers, including more members of the Orchestra, the 500 strong children’s choir, conductor Jessica Cottis and presenter/actor Rory Kinnear. Playing their piece from memory, one student said:
“I enjoyed memorising our piece. I was less nervous because I didn’t have the music in front of me, trying to read every note because I knew that I already knew the piece and my fingers would remember what to do next.”
During their down time between rehearsals, the group also got a chance to explore some of London’s prime tourist attractions including Hyde Park and the Science Museum.
Sally Russell, Manager of the North Lincolnshire Music Support Service, said:
“I do honestly feel that … the inspirational and aspirational impact [of the project] will remain with the children for a long time.
The sense of achievement and a job well done … transcends the performance opportunities that we provide as a centre because they’ve ‘seen it before’. This experience of going on a journey together and then performing under different circumstances and with different pressures will draw this group together with such a shared experience.”
The RPO is the resident orchestra at The Baths Hall, Scunthorpe, and works regularly with the venue and North Lincolnshire Music Education Hub to engage the local community with the cultural opportunities in the area.
This project was supported by North Lincolnshire Music Education Hub, North Lincolnshire Council, Friends of North Lincolnshire Music Centres, The Milson Trust and the RPO.