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.