Massed choir of 500 local children sing

BBC Singers and young musicians join for dream concert

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The massed choir of 500 local children led by the council's music service co-ordinator, Jen McKie.

The massed choir and musicians perform Playing with Dreams at Hammersmith Town Hall on Thursday (19 May), conducted by composer Alan Simmons.

Photos by Justin Thomas

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:A massed choir of 500 children from Hammersmith & Fulham joined forces with members of the BBC Singers, Fulham Symphony Orchestra, young musicians from the borough's youth orchestra and ensemble as well as a rock band from Henry Compton School for the première of a new choral work, called Playing with Dreams.

The performance of the specially-commissioned song-cycle at Hammersmith Town Hall on Thursday (19 May) was the latest high point in an 18-month collaboration between the council's music service and the BBC. This has involved local schoolchildren performing alongside the BBC's singers and musicians at prestigious venues such as the Barbican.

Playing with Dreams by Alan Simmons is a 30-minute cantata based on Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was commissioned by the council's music service, with money from the Lottery-funded organisation Youth Music, to highlight the musical strengths of the borough.
About 780 invited guests, parents, relatives and friends attended two performances of Playing with Dreams on Thursday. The massed choir for the concert was made up of members of the borough's youth choir, children's choir and school choirs.

Rehearsals for Playing with Dreams began in November last year with a series of school workshops led by the composer Alan Simmons. Weekly workshops have been taking place in schools since then and music teachers and co-ordinators have been able to develop their skills as well as the children's, with the support of the council's music service.

Cllr Charlie Treloggan, the borough's mayor, said: "This exciting collaboration between our excellent music service and the BBC, launched 18 months ago, has provided valuable opportunities for local children to improve their musical skills as well as perform in high-profile concerts.."

Garth McArthur, learning manager for the BBC Singers, said: "This has been a great opportunity for us to work with children and young people from Hammersmith & Fulham on a high-profile event, which really showed what these young singers and musicians are capable of. It is amazing to see how they have developed through this partnership with the BBC's singers and musicians and with the fantastic support of the council's music service. "

The council's music service runs a borough youth orchestra, youth ensemble and youth choirs, as well as after-school music classes, weekend tuition and a variety of school-based music projects. Established in 1924, the BBC Singers are Britain's only full-time professional chamber choir and a group with an international reputation.

The BBC Singers are also working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council's music service on Pitch Perfect - a new choral work which has been written to celebrate football through singing. Local children will join a performance of the new work at Wembley Conference Centre in November.

May 23, 2005