'Wonderful talent' of Dagenham pupils showcased in London Symphony Orchestra show

PUBLISHED: 11:34 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:46 03 July 2017

The BBC's Carrie Grant, right, and London Symphony Orchestra's Mark Withers have been working with Dagenham pupils Picture: Youth Music

The BBC's Carrie Grant, right, and London Symphony Orchestra's Mark Withers have been working with Dagenham pupils Picture: Youth Music


The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has been working with pupils with learning difficulties to help people of all backgrounds benefit from music.

Children with special educational needs from Trinity School in Heathway, Dagenham, joined pupils from Watergate School in Hackney and Ickburgh School in Lewisham to work on original compositions, which were performed at St Luke’s in Old Street, Islington, on Thursday, June 29.

Trinity School teacher Gwyn Reeves said the performance showed how music helped her pupils grow.

“It is a wonderful experience for the children to work alongside professional musicians and to hear them play their instruments live,” she said. “The children’s contributions are totally respected and worked into the final performance giving them a real sense of ownership of the piece.

“The rehearsal atmosphere allows the children to flourish as their confidence grows. Long may these projects continue.”

Carrie Grant, presenter of BBC1’s The One Show, is an ambassador for Youth Music, which funded the project, and said the performance showed talent that too often goes unnoticed.

“It’s so important that the challenges these young people face do not get in the way of their talent being nurtured,” she said. “Too often the kind of wonderful talent we saw in evidence today goes unnoticed.”

Thirty pupils took part in the performance, which is part of a three-year project offering young people with autism and other difficulties to use music in their creative, personal and social development.

The LSO’s Mark Withers, who led the work with the Dagenham pupils, said the scheme, which was part-funded by People’s Postcode Lottery (PPL), was important because it allowed people to explore music regardless of economic difficulties or lifelong health conditions.

“The joy of this moment is bringing young people with special needs, disabilities and autism into one place that is about excellent music,” he said. “It allows us all to be musicians.”

Former X-Factor contestant and PPL ambassador Danyl Johnson believes music has special significance for people with learning difficulties.

“I’m just blown away by this LSO project and the difference its music programme is making to young people,” he said. “You can just see how enthralled they become.”

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