Last week, the BBC Proms team invited nine of our young musicians from Animate Orchestra to play in a side-by-side rehearsal with the European Union Youth Orchestra alongside young musicians from nine other orchestras including the Barbican Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Nolitha Olusanya, a 12 year old violinst from Lewisham, tells us about her experience of playing as part of the huge rehearsal:
“Today, I had the amazing opportunity to rehearse with the EUYO in the Royal Albert Hall. In just one and a half hours we rehearsed two well-known pieces – Ravel’s Bolero and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. We then performed to a public audience who were amazed at the high standard we had achieved.
At the start of the day I was a bit nervous but I quickly settled down because the musicians and conductor were very friendly and kind. First we practised the Elgar piece, which although was quite hard was still fun because my EUYO desk partner (who was from Greece) was very funny and was always cracking jokes. Then I moved to the first desk of 2nd violins for the Bolero where I had a new desk partner from the UK. After the intensity of the Elgar, I was lucky to be able to sit back, listen, and take in the magical atmosphere for at least five minutes before the violins had to play. I learned that when each instrument performed a solo, the orchestra would rub their feet along the floor to say well done. Much more confusing was in the middle of Bolero we all had to stand up and play, and then suddenly my partner went to play the cello and the cellist played her violin!
There were musicians of all ages from lots of other orchestras, and you could tell from every child’s face that they were just as excited as me to be performing on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. This will definitely go down as one of my most memorable musical experiences ever!”