A year into the youth music project: news from In Harmony Lambeth
It’s been a great first year of music in the city. Over in Lambeth the breeze has been filled with the glorious sounds of children having fun with music via the El Sistema-style In Harmony Lambeth (IHL) programme, funded by the Department for Education, supported by Southbank Centre, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Amicus Horizon.
This project is a part of a pilot also taking place in Liverpool and Norwich, designed to make a positive change to children’s lives through music. Centred on the Lansdowne Green Estate in Stockwell, IHL is operated by Lambeth Music Service via three local primary schools and a number of youth and community clubs on the estate.
Brendon Le Page, Head of IHL and Lambeth Music Service tells us “In Harmony has stirred up hundreds of lives in Lambeth, bringing together dozens of organisations, communities and schools in pursuit of forging a new musical family. Our first cohort of 100 young string players already see themselves as working musicians - and part of a larger musical hinterland. They have given concerts large and small, been on ‘tour’, played with a professional orchestra, given a world première on stage at the Royal Festival Hall, and the majority are still in infant school! Violins, cellos and violas are a common sight in Stockwell now, and there is a steady stream of applicants to join the classes and rehearsals. Quotes from pupils show they are proud of their achievements, they enjoy themselves, they have big dreams for their futures and they love their instruments. Now I wish we could offer more children this amazing opportunity.”
A snapshot of the last few months….
Wednesday 23rd June: the In Harmony Lambeth orchestra goes on tour to join the Devon Schools’ Mix festival as guests of the Devon Music Service. The young musicians perform at Westpoint alongside other primary and secondary school children and professionals as diverse as Asian fusionists, RSVP, the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals and Latin sensations, Siga La Salsa.
Monday 28th June: the In Harmony Lambeth Year Two Orchestra performs at “Stringy Tales”, the LPO BrightSparks Schools’ Concert. The six and seven year olds join the LPO onstage at the Royal Festival Hall for two concerts to play “String-a-long!”, a specially commissioned piece written by Rachel Leach. In the audience are 4,600 key stage one London school children.
Wednesday 7th July: the IHL young musicians of all ages are joined by their counterparts at the Norwich and Liverpool projects, for a massed ‘Together In Harmony’ concert day. They are joined by the LPO, Liverpool, Brazilian and IH patron Julian Lloyd Weber for two performances at the Southbank Centre. The exuberant finale sees all 500+ musicians (aged four to 11) playing as one huge youth orchestra to perform music including the Beatles’ classic “All You Need Is Love” and specially penned “Shiftelle Dance”.
Sunday 11th July: the IHL Year Two Orchestra performs at The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre as part of the Bernstein Mass. The orchestra of six and seven year old play a specially-composed Mass series by Frank Biddolph and Laura Reid, Lambeth Music Service’s in-house writers and tutors.
Monday 26th July: the week long IHL Summer School, with guest workshops and performances from the Catalyst Quartet of New York.
Year Two of the project will see wind, percussion and brass being introduced as IHL begins to build towards a full orchestral experience. Look out for more news updates in the coming months!