Bethan Francis, a 15 year old cellist from Greenwich, has been a member of Animate Orchestra since the project began in March 2011. Here, she tells us about the first stage of her experience of partcipating in the South Riverside Music Partnership’s massed ensemble that will perform in the last night of the Music for Youth Schools Prom on 12 November 2014.
When I found out Animate Orchestra will be playing at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Schools Proms, I was very excited! It’s one of the most iconic venues and playing there would be an incredible opportunity for every one of us, not to mention very nerve racking! We are performing in a massive ensemble of 600 young musicians with students from Junior Trinity and singers from the four boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, Royal Greenwich and Southwark.
We have had our first session of the project already where we were gathering our ideas for the piece inspired by the poem ‘The London Breed’ by Benjamin Zephaniah. As you can guess, it is about London and it describes everything from the diverse culture and historical sites to the array of delicious food and drinks. The day began with some ice breakers and then we went onto brainstorming ideas based on the poem, led by Kerry Andrew who will now develop all our ideas into a brand new piece of music for us all to perform. We then split up into small, sectional groups to develop mini pieces and ideas based around a phrase each group liked from the brainstorming. All our ideas were recorded and filmed by Kerry and she will go home and use those ideas and her musical knowledge to develop it further.
So far it has been a very exciting experience and I have learnt lots of new and useful skills. It has helped me with my composition and confidence when composing and I have felt like I have contributed to the final piece when putting my ideas forward. It has also been a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and also spend time with old friends who I had met on other courses.
I can’t wait to hear the finished piece when we meet next!
Photography by Tas Kyprianou