Redbridge Schools Choral Festival
After weeks of rehearsals, 31 students enjoyed the thrill of singing in the Royal Albert Hall at the Redbridge Schools’ Choral Festival on Monday 13th March. There were over 1000 performers representing primary and secondary schools from Redbridge. Choirs, an orchestra, steel drums and brass bands.
It’s a long day. We arrived at the Albert Hall at 1.30pm on our (very comfortable) coach, delayed slightly by the diversion caused by the road closures for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. It did mean we got to see Parliament Square full of flags from commonwealth countries.
Straight into rehearsals, find your seat, open your book and off we go. The theme this year was the life of HM Queen Elizabeth combined with a celebration of living in Redbridge. So, we remembered her coronation, silver jubilee, London Olympics and her funeral. A variety of songs and genres, some composed by staff of Redbridge Music Service and a particular favourite a medley from the musical, Hamilton.
A run through of the whole programme before we climbed to the very top level of the Albert Hall to find our “picnic area” and eat our food. Then back into our seats and the fun began trying to locate where parents, friends and families were sitting. The level of excitement at this point was off the scale, everyone waving at people who may or not be who they think they are.
Everyone raised their game for the performance. The sound that comes from all those voices and instruments, takes your breath away and to be part of it is thrilling. In the big pieces where everyone is singing together, there are no less than five conductors keeping all the performers together – usually succeeding. A highlight was a rendition of Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sing” signed by a group of deaf students and as the lights were lowered, all the singers turned on the little torch lights they’d been hiding away till that moment.
We finished with the national anthem followed by everyone joining in with Sweet Caroline accompanied by a massive brass band.
The students who attended worked really hard and represented our academy to the best of their abilities, showcasing their musical talents. It was lovely to see everyone working together and putting on a great show. Lifetime memories were made!
A magical journey home through the centre of London spotting famous landmarks finished off the day.
Here's an account from one of our star performers!
I loved everything that happened on the trip to the Royal Albert Hall. Going on the coach and travelling to the place was relaxing, and seeing many tourist attractions around Central London (such as the Big Ben and the London Eye) was interesting and really did attract my attention.
I enjoyed singing the songs - especially music from Hamilton. The lights, the performances, the special effects were all mesmerising and I had lots of fun. One of my favourite songs was A La Cart, sung by the primary school children. I also loved the mashup of popular songs made over the years, sung by the people who worked in the drama performances, who helped bring this magnificent show together.
If I had the chance to experience this again, I would definitely do it.