The Commonwealth Resounds! Connecting musical cultures since 2005We promote music and musicians across the Commonwealth through collaborative events worldwide with a particular focus on young people and the developing world. Thousands of our musicians have been involved in our life-changing projects and gala performances including the opening of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s brand-new auditorium in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, as part of Prince Charles's Official Dinner for the 53 Heads of Government in Sri Lanka and at the Official Launch of the Prince's Trust in Malta. Our musicians have also given regular appearances at the Commonwealth Observance Day services at Westminster Abbey and at Commonwealth Forums Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Uganda, Perth and Sri Lanka. In 2015 our Commonwealth Festival Choir and Orchestra gave a Concert for the President of Malta at Verdala Palace in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund. We have been proudly supported by the Royal Over Seas League, the International Federation of Musicians, the Musicians’ Union Phonographic Performance Ltd, The Royal Society of St George and numerous Rotary Clubs throughout the UK and overseas.
TCR’s Commonwealth celebrations for CHOGM 2018 came to a spectacular conclusion at St James’s Church, Piccadilly on Friday 20th April, hosted by TCR itself in collaboration with the Purcell School and many musical partners from all over the Commonwealth!
The young musicians and dancers worked very hard indeed for months beforehand, composing pieces, researching Commonwealth music, auditioning, choreographing dances and preparing sound tracks for this unique event.
SOUND, IMAGE, MOVEMENT – THE HIGHLIGHTS!
Before the event, we were all dazzled by the Ardvreck School Pipers who travelled all the way down from Scotland to perform in this event. These young people were all under the age of 13, and their accomplished piping brought tears to many eyes. They ‘framed’ the concert – processing in at the beginning, down the aisle to the front of the church and then out again at the end, bring it all to a close.
To follow the Ardvreckian Pipers, everyone’s ears were turned inside-out by the huge sound of 53 drummers, performing again their spectacular performance “Rotary and the Commonwealth, Drumming for Peace”, featuring expert sub groups – Chenda Drummers from India and drummers from Ghana and Botswana.
Billy Watmon, Sky TV’s Guitar Star Finalist, performed a fascinating new piece inspired by the sounds from the rainforest. This was followed by songs and music written by young people, influenced by the musical cultures of India, Cyprus, Aboriginal Australia and the Caribbean.
After the interval, there was a stunning performance by the Bearfoot Dance Company, including young dancers from different cultural backgrounds performing a new piece composed specially for them by 16-year-old Abigail James.
Sound, Image, Movement – The Commonwealth! was a genuinely cross-cultural musical feast. It was a huge success and we are hoping to run something similar for CHOGM 2020 in Rwanda!
SOUND, IMAGE MOVEMENT – THE COMMONWEALTH! managed to raise over £200 for the Commonwealth Hurricane Support Fund, created to help rebuild cultural projects in Antigua and Barbuda.
Thank you to our supporters and partners…
We were enormously grateful to the immense skill and professionalism of AB Lighting from Watford, who made the performance look every bit as good as it sounded, producing spectacular colourful lighting effects to enhance every part of St James’s Church, and to give a celebratory atmosphere to the whole event.
Without the financial help and logistical support of Sree Vallipuran and Rotary in London, many of our CHOGM 2018 events, including this concert would not have been able to happen.
The concert was also sponsored by the Toby Davies Fund. Toby was a very talented, popular young bassoonist who died suddenly and tragically at the age of 16. The Purcell School has a special fund for musical enterprise, devoted to his memory.
On Thursday April 19th, The Commonwealth Resounds hosted a wonderful Commonwealth Young Musicians’ Concert in partnership with the Royal Society of St George and London Rotary. This very special concert took place at St George’s, Hanover Square in the presence of the High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda and distinguished guests from the RSoSG and Rotary.
There were beautiful performances from the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra, conducted by Dr James Ross and the Commonwealth Festival Choir, directed by Graham Dinnage. Another very impressive addition to this concert was the Purcell School’s pupil-led PHILOMEL Ensemble, run and directed by school pupil, Sebastian Kozub.
Everyone was very sorry that members of the Divine Symphony Orchestra in Nigeria, who were planning to come and participate in this concert did not receive their visas in time and therefore arrived in the UK too late. We all hope to be able to collaborate with the Nigerian musicians in future events of this kind.
A spectacular fanfare for strings, composed by Manish Sanga, a 12-year old Anglo-Indian composer created an ideal opening for the concert. Other highlights included exquisite Maltese pieces, arranged for strings by Michelle Paris and songs specially composed by children from texts written for them by Commonwealth poets. The Commonwealth Festival Choir sang these beautifully and movingly. ‘Common Threads’, a fascinating new piece was composed for a small string ensemble by the National Youth Orchestra’s Principal Composer, Joshua Mock.
Two wonderful pieces – Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis performed by the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra, brought this memorable concert to a close.
At the end, a collection was made to support cultural development in Antigua and Barbuda. This was one of several ‘Commonwealth Hurricane Support Concerts’ being organised by schools around the UK, supported by The Commonwealth Resounds.
On Wednesday April 18th, The Commonwealth Resounds was delighted to be able to collaborate with Arif Zaman, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, and create a new award for women in the arts called The Commonwealth Cultural Enterprise Award for Women in Music.
Alison Cox, TCR’s Founder and Chair of Trustees approached a number of highly distinguished musicians who nominated some wonderful, deserving women across the world to be the first recipients of this very special award.
Highly recommended were:
Sibongile Khumalo – Johannesburg, South Africa
Nelson Mandela’s favourite singer/cultural worker. She says ‘We need to do the best with our lives, and do what we can to make a difference in somebody’s life, not because we want to leave a legacy, but because we have been bequeathed a gift that we can share with others’.
Mohini Dey – Mumbai, India
Mohini is remarkable for her virtuosity as a bass player and has gone beyond the novelty of a child prodigy to a promising stretch of great musical longevity.” She seeks to create “her own music school, a powerful girls’ band and her own TV show which keeps playing good music.
The Commonwealth Cultural Enterprise Award for Women in Music was presented to Chi-chi Nwanoku for creating the life-changing Chineke! Orchestra, which has benefited so many young musicians from BME backgrounds in the UK and overseas.
‘I am delighted to have been able to collaborate with the Commonwealth Businesswomens’ Network to create this exciting new opportunity for talented, deserving women working in the arts throughout the world. The Cultural Enterprise Award for Women in the Arts will celebrate and acknowledge those who are a genuine inspiration to others, and who deserve to be recognised for their achievements. For this very first award, the focus has been on music, and the adjudicators felt that no-one deserved it more than the double bass player, Chi-chi Nwanoku. Chi-chi received it not only for her brilliance as a performing musician, but also for creating and developing the unique Chineke! Orchestra.
Alison Cox OBE FRSA