The Commonwealth Resounds in Malta November 2015

Almost 100 musicians and singers (many of the young people) travelled to Malta from all over the world to take part in a week of concerts, projects and events linked to CHOGM 2015. This also happened to be the 10th Anniversary of The Commonwealth Resounds which we celebrated in style, in collaboration with cultural partners from the beautiful country where The Commonwealth Resounds was first created in 2005.

Hamish Webb, a young 16-year-old musician sponsored by the Royal Society of St George, writes about his exciting musical outreach/ concert trip to Malta as part of CHOGM 2015

Commonwealth Gala concert PDF

Monday November 23rd

A lively, memorable outreach workshop in a Maltese school, run by young musicians from The Commonwealth Resounds. Great fun was had by all, lots of musical teaching and learning took place and many new friendships were formed – especially in the playground!

Tuesday 24th November (a.m. and p.m.)

Another excellent outreach workshop in a Maltese primary school. Our young Commonwealth musicians presented three exciting concerts to some very large groups of children in St Paul’s Bay Primary School. Excellent hospitality from the staff, and the children were engaged and enthusiastic throughout. It was hard work performing to such large audiences, but well worth the effort!

Tuesday 24th November (evening)

“The Commonwealth Resounds in Malta’. This was our 10th Anniversary Concert at the Manoel Theatre, Valletta, Malta. Lots of wonderful participants from different Commonwealth countries such as Malta, Gozo, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas…. and a whole lot more. There was so much to see and hear. The dancers looked spectacularly beautiful. The Maltese groups were colourful and lively. Everyone was dazzled by the sublime musicianship and virtuosity of the Royal Over-Seas League players. The exquisite Caribbean flute trio celebrating St Vincent and the Grenadines and composed by Rowland Sutherland, was one of the highlights of the evening. It was a really busy, rather stressful day for some of the young Chethams and Purcell musicians in particular, who had to cram into a single day rehearsals for this concert, three school workshops in St Paul’s Bay and a masterclass at The Johann Strauss School of Music! However, in spite of their gruelling schedule and obvious tiredness, their contribution throughout the day was admirable. The Commonwealth Resounds in Malta’ was organised by Malta’s own Michelle Paris, who worked very hard indeed to make it a success. Huge thanks to the CHOGM Task Force in Malta for sponsoring this special event.

Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th November

panorpheus_logo_colour_light St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (SJCC) Spazju Kreattiv Wednesday November 25th Day Rehearsals Thursday November 26th Performances. This was our most ambitious-ever Commonwealth project. 53 short pieces were commissioned, each representing one of the Commonwealth countries, and each featuring either the flute, the harp or both. Other instruments were also included. Edward Longstaff’s beautiful, evocative, semi-improvised piece PANORPHEUS was performed at the beginning and the end of the event in SJCC’s wonderfully spacious atrium, with musicians placed at many different levels.

  • Concert 1 – PANORPHEUS in Africa (performed by Chethams School of Music)
  • Concert 2 – PANORPHEUS in the South Pacific (performed by the Purcell School for Young Musicians)
  • Concert 3 – PANORPHEUS in Asia (Performed by the Royal Over-Seas League)
  • Concert 4 – PANORPHEUS in the Caribbean (Performed by a special Caribbean ensemble)
  • Concert 5 – PANORPHEUS in Europe (Performed by musicians from the UK and Malta)

Huge thanks in particular to two wonderful musicians – Juliana Myslov (harp, ROSL and Royal College of Music) and Laura Davies (flute (Royal Academy of Music) who performed in all 5 concerts. As well as the concerts, young musicians from Chethams and Purcell ran lively interactive workshops designed by themselves for children in Malta and the UK, based on interesting material from different Commonwealth regions. It was unfortunate that an imaginary national security risk prevented three Maltese schools from attending these fascinating workshops. The children from other organisations who attended enjoyed the workshops greatly. The performance venue, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity – was ideal for the event, and SJCC staff were enormously helpful and kind to us all – especially Maria Spiteri Zahra and Toni Sant. However, it was such a shame that so few Maltese schools and members of the public came to hear this unique musical event, which had been created over 18 months specially for Malta and CHOGM 2015. HOWEVER – everyone was very glad to welcome the Apollo Youth Choir, the Bermonsey Harris Academy and the Commonwealth Festival Choir, who came to take part in the event along with composers from Canada, India and Malta who had written pieces to represent their own countries. PANORPHEUS will be performed again – in parts and as a whole. The second performance of ‘PANORPHEUS in the South Pacific’ took place in the United Kingdom on Tuesday 27th January at The Purcell School, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire WD232TS. Other performances will take place in due course. This beautiful, semi-improvised piece composed by Edward Longstaff, included flutes, harps and a large number of other musicians too. It was performed as a ‘framework’ at the beginning and end of the event.

Friday 27th November

‘Joy to the Commonwealth’ at St Lawrence’s Church, Vittoriosa, Birghu, Malta. Featuring the Joy Gospel Singers performing in partnership with the Commonwealth Festival Choir and Orchestra. The Commonwealth Festival Choir included young singers from the Apollo Youth Choir and the Bermondsey Harris Academy, including many different cultural groups. The Commonwealth Festival Orchestra included six musicians from MUSON in Nigeria, young musicians from the UK’ s specialist music schools and professional musicians from the Royal Over Seas League representing Australia and New Zealand. This was a wonderful celebratory upbeat concert, performed to a packed church, and greatly enjoyed by all.

Saturday 28th November

Our final Gala Concert, featuring the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra and Choir at the Catholic Institute, Floriana. Conducted by Dr James Ross, Graham Dinnage and Alexei Galea. Soloists Juliana Myslov, Som Howie and Edward King from the Royal Over-Seas League, plus young musicians from the Purcell School and Chethams School of Music. It was a special pleasure to welcome into the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra 10 professional musicians from the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and six musicians from MUSON in Nigeria, who were all a real asset to our musical programme.