“I want to encourage our young people to create a concert that is so dynamic and exciting that the audience won’t even think about looking down at their programmes!”
Aidan Goetzee, Head of Music Technology at the Commonwealth’s oldest specialist Music School

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.


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.

Botswana’s dancers and musicians, directed by  Lorraine Lionheart, were so engaging and colourful that all eyes and ears were glued to them throughout. They were loudly cheered and applauded.

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!

Just before the end of the concert, it was a treat to hear Gayatri Nair (semi-finalist in ITV’s The Voice) singing a powerful gospel-style song composed by Cody Moss.

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.