The Commonwealth Resounds! Connecting musical cultures since 2005
We 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.
Annie-May Page is a young violinist who is part of the 2015 Commonwealth Team who will be travelling to Malta in November this year to run outreach programmes and school workshops, take part in concerts and special projects and share her skills with the Maltese community. She is raising funds to support her own costs and other young musicians (including disadvantaged ones from developing countries) who wish to join our programme.
’16-year-old composer Thomas Carr meets The Queen after his composition ‘Maltugandata UK’ was performed by the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra and dancedigital during the Observance Day Service.’
On Monday March 8th and 9th 2015, groups of talented young musicians, dancers and singers from different cultural backgrounds took part in some very exciting, high-profile cultural events, organised by Westminster Abbey, The Royal Commonwealth Society, Morley College and The Commonwealth Resounds.
There were participants from many different regions of the UK, including Hertfordshire, Manchester, Bermondsey, London, Kent and Scotland – representing also a larger number of different cultural backgrounds from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Participating organisations and representatives included the Royal College of Music Junior Department, dancedigital, The Purcell School, Chetham’s School of Music, the Bermondsey Harris Academy and the Apollo Youth Choir.
Sunday 8th March
After a challenging day of rehearsals, The Commonwealth Resounds presented an enjoyable Gala Concert at Morley College. The programme included some of Morley’s spectacular Kathak dancers and Samba players, who captivated the audience, as well as two delightful, brand-new songs composed by groups of young people for the newly re-formed Commonwealth Festival Choir, and a wonderful new fanfare by young composer Max Bilbe from Chetham’s School of Music
Monday March 9th
Great excitement as everyone arrived at Westminster Abbey early in the morning for final dress rehearsals!
The Commonwealth Festival Choir and Orchestra performed in the Pre-Observance as guests arrived, including 1,000 schoolchildren, Commonwealth Religious Leaders and Delegates, Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and no fewer than SIX members of the Royal Family!
First to arrive were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They were followed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall. At the arrival of Her Majesty The Queen, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinbugh, Max Bilbe’s specially-composed fanfare (performed beautifully by five young brass players from the Chetham’s Commonwealth Team) resounded through the Abbey!
For the main Observance Service, a brand-new piece was composed by 16-year old Thomas Carr, and choreographed for dancedigital by Commonwealth Music Ambassador Sarah Ndagire (Uganda). This colourful, dazzling piece delighted the audience, who greatly enjoyed the lively enthusiasm of the young dancers, and the skilful playing of the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra who accompanied them.
Comments by young musicians, dancers and composers
‘It was the best day of my life’
‘I never imagined how amazing it would be’
‘The Queen smiled at me as she walked past us!’
‘I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear my piece played on Monday and to be presented to members of the Royal Family! The event was wonderful and I am overjoyed to have been part of it.’ – Thomas Carr, 16-year-old composer of the dance piece ‘Maltugandata UK!
Photos © Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership. A further selection of pictures/prints are available here.
This short, lively and extremely attractive Gala Concert will celebrate both the 10th Anniversary of The Commonwealth Resounds and the 125th Anniversary of Morley College.
A fanfare, by young composer Max Bilbe
The Commonwealth Festival Orchestra and Choir
Young musicians from the RCM Junior Department
Young musicians from Chethams School of Music
dancedigital, and a new work ‘Maltugandata UK’ by young composer Thomas Carr
Young singers from The Purcell School for Young Musicians
Samba group from Morley
Kathak Dancers from Morley