Redbridge Schools Choral Festival

THE 18th biennial Redbridge Schools Choral Festival took place at the Royal Albert Hall. As my wife and I approached the venue, last week, walking past the Albert Memorial, we could see hoards of Redbridge children relaxing in the park with their sandwich

THE 18th biennial Redbridge Schools Choral Festival took place at the Royal Albert Hall.

As my wife and I approached the venue, last week, walking past the Albert Memorial, we could see hoards of Redbridge children relaxing in the park with their sandwich tea between the afternoon rehearsal and the evening performance.

There must have been many an accompanying teacher who was delighted with the pleasant weather.

The sight later inside of these same hundreds of young singers from all over Redbridge performing in this wonderful building was quite amazing, and when they sang, then they really came into their own as they performed a medley of sea shanties, accompanied by the Redbridge Music School Symphony Orchestra.


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There are certain items which are now traditional at these events.

To hear hundreds of young children playing Soweto Groove in a massed recorder item is quite something, but when the piece has choreography added, then it becomes a visual treat as well.

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Similarly, it was exciting to hear the Orchestra perform Malcolm Arnold's The Padstow Lifeboat in great style; add to that the vision of masses of colourful pom-poms being wielded by enthusiastic junior schoolchildren, and it takes on a completely different aspect.

There was certainly no lack of musical variety within the overall programme.

How fine it was to hear the senior school singers performing a chorus, Gerusalemme, from Verdi's opera Nabucco with good mature sounds from the tenors and basses to balance the beautiful section featuring the sopranos and altos. Later, the same ensemble sang one of Handel's Coronation Anthems, The King Shall Rejoice.

The evening ended with all the choirs, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra, singing their hearts out in a selection of songs from the musical, Wicked.

I have attended every single one of these Choral Festivals. They are all different and they all have their special moments, but one thing that is for certain - the children taking part will never forget this evening.

- MICHAEL CROMBIE

* see picture special in Thursday's Ilford Recorder

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