Amongst delivering many other virtual projects this spring, RPO Resound was thrilled deliver an in-person project at Phoenix Arch School in Brent with a team of RPO musicians. Read what trumpet player Adam Wright (pictured above at a pre-Covid-19 RPO Resound project) had to say about the rush of being back in the room with participants.
"This past year has been a very uncertain, worrying and strange time for musicians. Of course we can still play our instruments and practice at home, but that’s not why we became professional musicians (and, to be honest, I’m not really sure how much my neighbours are enjoying that!). I’m a musician because I love making music and performing with others, and especially enjoy seeing the joy on audiences’ faces as they listen to an orchestra playing together.
"I have been involved with RPO Resound’s community and education projects ever since I joined the Orchestra back in 2006. They are both an integral part of the Orchestra’s schedule and some of the most positive and life-affirming work that we get to do. During the last year, the incredible Resound team has continued to reach participants by running projects online, with musicians based either at home or in small, socially distanced groups at St James's Church hall in Clerkenwell, London. With the aid of technology, we have been able to create music with and perform to participants all over the country. Whilst these projects have been bright moments during an otherwise dark year, it just isn’t the same as being with participants in person, sharing and experiencing music together.
"I was, therefore, surprised and slightly nervous when I was asked to work on an actual live project at the end of last month, bringing a small team of RPO musicians to Phoenix Arch School, a Special Educational Needs school in Brent, to deliver in-person creative workshops with primary school pupils. Whilst travelling up the Jubilee line, I started to get slightly concerned that I might have forgotten many of the skills that we would usually use on projects, such as creating riffs and grooves, improvising, and playing musical games to draw ideas from participants. Luckily, once we arrived and the sessions began, it all came flooding back – along with the instant recollection that, in the hands of children, the cowbell can be one of the loudest sounds known to man!
"We were fortunate to be working with the brilliant workshop leader, James Redwood, whose infectious exuberance only heightened our own excitement to be there. The pupils loved listening to us introduce ourselves and our instruments and were especially enthralled by our rendition of Aaron Copland’s Hoe-Down (from Rodeo) for violin, trumpet and bassoon!
"Things really moved up a gear when we started to create new pieces together: being in the same room with participants and enjoying the freedom to create music with no barriers (compared to the limitations of technology) was simply blissful – for both the participants and us musicians. We spent all day working with various groups of pupils making music, experimenting with different instruments, dancing and singing, and just realising how much we have missed the ability to interact with others in a musically creative atmosphere.
"It was a truly wonderful day. Seeing the pupils’ faces light up as they played and sang along with us made me crave normal times more than ever before!"