This autumn, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s (RPO) community and education programme RPO Resound has been building on its thriving relationship with Brent Music Service (BMS) and today marks the culmination of this very special collaboration. Brent is The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020 and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been working in partnership with BMS, award-winning composer and music leader James Redwood, the poet Momtaza Mehri and more than 8,000 Brent school children and young members of BMS orchestras to compose and perform Anthem for Brent 2020.
Young people from Brent have been involved in the anthem-writing process throughout 2020, and, for the final stage of the creative process, a further 15 young creatives (aged 10-18) and 8 choir members took part in digital workshops (October-December), collaborating with professional composer James Redwood and nine musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The participants wrote lyrics, composed melodies and music, worked with a film director to create an accompanying film, and recorded themselves singing and performing alongside world-class professionals.
Here is the video of the Anthem for Brent 2020
You can also view or download the lyrics to the 2020 Anthem here.
This project was generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity, and Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture.
Here is some feedback from parents of some of the young participants.
As a participant’s mum, I’d like to express my thanks to you all for everything you have done to encourage my son to have a go at the tasks during the writing workshop over the last four days.
"When my son realised he had been selected to participate in this workshop he was very excited. He couldn’t quite believe it. However, he did feel a little scared because he has never done anything like this before. Thanks a lot for being so lovely to him and for making him feel confident and comfortable to express his thoughts. I think he may be the youngest participant but he never felt left out. I appreciate there are a lot of talented youngsters in the session however you guys and girls made sure everyone was included regardless of musical talent or ability."
"My son says he has learnt a lot. The following I quote from when I asked him about the sessions........”My English is going to be so much better when I go back to school & I know more about music now too. I’m very thankful that I was chosen because it has inspired me to continue to try my best with music as it will all help me to be a musician when I’m older. The “teachers” are so good.”
"My son thinks you are all amazing. He loves music, he sings with a Choir and was learning to play the violin & had a few piano lessons prior to our national lockdown in March. Unfortunately, the instrumental lessons haven’t resumed yet but he enjoys his weekly choir zoom call. He keeps telling us he will be a musician when he is older. Therefore having the opportunity to work with and listen to such talented individuals is inspiring and an experience he will never forget. He was fascinated by how quickly everything came together this week. [The Workshop Leader] James made a lasting impression on my son. “oh my, how does he do that?” was a phrase I’ve heard a lot of over the last few days."
We have some feedback from young participants too:
"A quick note to say that, I found the experience of creating the anthem highly enjoyable and enriching. I was glad to be selected to take part in this unique opportunity.
It is a privilege to work on a project with high calibre musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brent Music Service. Thank you, James, Rupert, Sophie, Gerald, Orli and Tim. I look forward to finishing off the project." Male participant.
"Thank you for the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with the RPO musicians and for allowing me to write music for the Brent Anthem." Female participant/Sister.
"Thank you all RPO musicians for coming to assist us and create the first anthem for Brent." Male participant/Brother.