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Gala 2020 Blog

Gala 2020

Final Gala 2020 Blog Post

Hertfordshire Music Service presented their biennial Gala at the iconic Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 8th March 2020, bringing together over 2,500 children and young people to perform including 115 Hertfordshire schools, 1,100 primary and secondary school children in each concert, 2 chamber choirs, 3 big bands, 1 rock band, 4 dance groups, 2 Songwriter groups and 100 orchestra players to share their incredible musical talent and created an excellent celebration of music in Hertfordshire.

As part of its commitment to championing new music, Hertfordshire Music Service commissioned leading UK composer Anne Dudley to write a piece for this Gala and we were incredibly pleased to present the world premiere of Anne’s new work, 'I am Alban'. Ian McMillan, UK contemporary poet who wrote the words for 'I am Alban', gave a brilliant performance as narrator in both performances of the new piece.

The winners of the Songwriter competition also gave an exclusive live performance of the songs they had written at songwriting workshops at music centres in Hertfordshire during school holidays.

Rufus Frowde, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Hertfordshire Schools' Gala said: “We had the opportunity of performing on one of the world’s most iconic stages in an auditorium, the walls of which have heard some of the most significant performances in musical history. I was so keen that we fulfilled our potential in 'I am Alban', communicating the narrative with musical flair. Anne challenged us with her writing, but it was an achievable challenge and the performers rose to it admirably. The notes flew off the page as we brought this extraordinary dramatic cantata to life. This gives me so much hope that the future of accessible musical excellence in Hertfordshire will be sustained for years to come. I don’t underestimate the considerable effort that performers, schools and parents will have made to make our 2020 Gala such a success and I am most grateful.”

Ben Stevens, Director of Music said: “Hertfordshire Music Service is at the start of a new 10-year musical journey with a renewed vision for enabling every young person to discover their own unique musical voice. The Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala inspired many young people to begin a life changing musical journey, and our ambition at HMS is to support everyone to express themselves through music making of any kind.” Well done to everyone involved in this fantastic event! At Hertfordshire Music Service, we have lots of regular music groups at local music centres as well as one-off events and projects to get involved in music-making.

Blog Post 8

Thursday 12th March 2020

Well done and thank you!

From all of us in the Gala team at Hertfordshire Music Service we’d like to say thank you to all the singers, orchestra, dancers, instrumentalists, soloists, schools, teachers and parents who made the Gala such a fantastic event! 2500 performers took part in the Hertfordshire Schools' Gala at the Royal Albert Hall and created an excellent celebration of music in Hertfordshire.

Watch our timelapse of the day, below

A message from Rufus Frowde, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gala

On Sunday, we had the opportunity of performing on one of the world’s most iconic stages in an auditorium, the walls of which have heard some of the most significant performances in musical history.

Almost 2 years have now passed since we approached Anne Dudley to write for us. I have admired her work since discovering one of her albums when I was a 6th-former at Hemel Hempstead School. I was so keen that we fulfilled our potential in ‘I am Alban’, communicating the narrative with musical flair. Anne challenged us with her writing, but it was an achievable challenge and you rose to it admirably. The notes flew off the page on Sunday as you brought this extraordinary dramatic cantata to life.

I was moved by the awareness that in addition to my secondary school, my Hertfordshire primary school (Markyate JMI) were involved in the 2020 Gala as well as two county music groups that were such an important part of my own musical education (County Youth Choir and Hertfordshire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra). This gives me so much hope that the future of accessible musical excellence in Hertfordshire will be sustained for years to come. 

I don’t underestimate the considerable effort that performers, schools and parents will have made to make our 2020 Gala such a success and I am most grateful.

A few days have now passed since our ambitious, thought-provoking and life-giving performance. I treasure the memory of the day and am joyous that the walls of the Royal Albert Hall now echo with your music-making.

Photographs and DVDs

You can order official photographs and the DVD of the Gala for a lasting memory of this exciting event.

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photo+order+form

Get involved with more music in Hertfordshire! 

I hope that all of you who performed and watched the Gala enjoyed the wonderful experience. At Hertfordshire Music Service, we have lots of regular music groups at local music centres as well as one off events and projects that you can join to continue your music-making. Take a look on our website hertsmusicservice.org.uk to get involved and keep making music!

Lucy

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 7

Friday 6th March 2020

It’s finally Gala week!

After months of organising and rehearsing, the week of the Gala has finally arrived. I hope you’re all as excited as we are in the Gala team here at Hertfordshire Music Service. Well done to all schools and performers who have been working hard to learn the music for the Gala – we’re really looking forward to bringing all of you together for the first time to sing at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday live in concert! 

Orchestra Rehearsals in Full Swing

The Hertfordshire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra worked really hard last weekend rehearsing all of the music for the Gala and they are sounding amazing. Here’s a behind the scenes look of what they got up to.

gala hsso rehearsal

Good luck message from composer Anne Dudley

Anne Dudley, the composer of I am Alban, has a special message for everyone taking part in the Gala.

Take a virtual tour of the auditorium to see where schools will be performing!

If you’ve not been to the Royal Albert Hall before, watch this virtual tour to see what it’s like for both the performers on stage and the audience watching.

Tickets on the door

Tickets will be available to buy on the door for both performances from the Royal Albert Hall box office – cash only.

Photographs and DVDs

Official photographs will be taken during the day and a DVD recording made of each concert. These will be available for purchase after the concert. Order forms and information can be found in the printed programme or you can ask the school who have the details of how to order in their information pack. 

Enjoy the show!

I hope that all of you performing and watching the Gala have a fantastic day and thank you for being a part of the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020!

Lucy

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 6

Tuesday 13th February 2020

It’s really exciting that there are just 4 weeks to go until the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020! I hope you’re all enjoying learning the songs at School and practising at home if you’re performing in the Gala. We’d love to see how you’re getting on. Take some photos and tag us into your rehearsals using #hertsschoolsgala and you might see yourself in a future Gala blog post!

Take a look at our Gala sing along in St Albans Cathedral on YouTube!

Last week two primary schools local to St Albans Cathedral, Fleetville Junior School and Mandeville Primary School, had a sing along of I am Alban in St Albans Cathedral. I am Alban, the new commission written by leading UK composer Anne Dudley, is all about the story of Saint Alban. Performing the song in St Albans Cathedral was a really exciting experience and the Gala team filmed it so you could take a look!

Rufus, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gala, led the sing along with St Albans Cathedral organ scholar Marko, who is also playing the organ in the Gala evening concert, playing the piano for the afternoon.

st albans

Take a look at what Fleetville and Mandeville Schools got up to and make sure to keep watching until the end to see a special behind the scenes interview with Rufus!

Learn more about the story of Saint Alban

St Albans Cathedral have kindly sent us this video all about the story of Saint Alban. Watch the video to to learn all about who Alban was and what you’ll be singing about at the Gala!

If you want to learn more about the story of Saint Alban (and catch a glimpse of the shrine where one of his bones is buried!), St Albans Cathedral have an exciting new exhibition area and the awe-inspiring Cathedral to explore. They welcome school groups of all ages and can accommodate pupils on both guided or unguided sessions. To find out more or to arrange a visit, contact the Learning Department on education@stalbanscathedral.org or visit the Cathedral website https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/.

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 5

Tuesday 17th December 2019

Exclusive first look at the Gala 2020 poster!

The Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020 poster has just gone live! The theme of this Gala is saints and stars - the blue and yellow represent the colours of Saint Alban’s crest, as this Gala features a new commission all about the story of Saint Alban, and there are in fact three songs in the Gala with stars in the title. Can you remember which songs they are?

In the summer, all Hertfordshire schools were invited to submit artwork for the Gala poster. The winner, who designed the stars, is Kayla Hood from Roselands Primary School. Well done Kayla. All the other artwork received will be featured in the Gala programme so look out for it! 

0001_gala2020poster_hyoc

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Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas and see you again in 2020 – Gala year!

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 4

Friday 22nd November 2019

Gala Full Line Up Announcement!

We’re very excited to announce the final line up for the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala including songs, school instrumental groups and dance groups. Take a look below – the massed choir songs (that the primary and secondary schools will sing) are in black and the other songs are in purple.

prog+gala+image+for+blog+4-page-001

Sneak Peek Of What’s To Come

If you’ve never been to a Gala before, we’ve put together a snippet of the last Gala in 2018 so you can see what it’s all about. You can see the schools singing altogether, the orchestra, the dancers and the big screen which all the parents can see of the performance!

 

Tell Us What You’re Most Excited About In The Gala!

We’d love to hear from you about what you’re most excited about in taking part in the Gala. Send us an email to rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk or let us know on social media using #hertsschoolsgala with one sentence of what you are really looking forward to! It could be performing on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, singing with your friends, dancing on stage - you might be featured in a later blog in a collage of everyone’s comments!

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 3

Wednesday 30th October 2019

Did you know that the Royal Albert Hall will soon be 150 years old! We’ve got a special blog post all about the Royal Albert Hall to get everyone excited about performing in this amazing historical venue. See what the Gala team got up to when we visited the auditorium recently, take a tour of the Royal Albert Hall and take a glimpse of famous people that have performed there and find out 5 interesting facts about the iconic venue.

Royal Albert Hall Visit

The Gala team here at Herts Music Service recently visited the Royal Albert Hall to get planning in motion as we’re now 20 weeks away from concert day! We took YOCI along with us, the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 Mascot, to show her around. Take a look at what we got up to!

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5 Facts You Might Not Know About The Royal Albert Hall… 

  1. Coldplay performed Sky Full of Stars (one of the songs schools will sing in the Gala) at the Royal Albert Hall in 2014! They performed on a stage in the middle of the arena with the audience surrounding them and stars hanging from the ceiling.
    coldplay+rah+photo+2
  2. The design of the Royal Albert Hall was partly based on the Colosseum in Rome.

  3. Happy by Pharrell Williams (another one of the songs that schools will sing in the Gala) was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

  4. The building can seat about 5400 people, although when it was first built it could seat up to 8000.

  5. The building’s organ is one of the largest in England with 9,999 pipes! Take a look at the organ in action in the video below.

 

Take A Virtual Tour Of The Royal Albert Hall And See A Glimpse Of Some Of The Famous People Who Have Performed There. 

We hope you’re as excited as we are for the Gala. If there’s any content you’d love to see or anything you’d like to learn more about the Gala, email me at rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 2

Wednesday 9th October 2019

Welcome back to the brand-new blog all about the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020! Read on to find out who has won the Hertfordshire Songwriter competition and will be performing their song live at the Gala as well as some exclusive footage of the making and recording of the new commission that the school choirs will be singing – “I am Alban”.

Songwriter Competition 2019 Winners Announced!

We’re very excited to announce the two winning songs of the Songwriter competition, which will feature in the afternoon and evening concerts respectively; “Finding My Way”, written by Matt Debnam, a pupil at Dame Alice Owen’s School and Charlotte Nairne, a pupil at Sandringham School and “Talk to Me”, written by Lorna Thompson, a pupil at Hitchin Girls’ School. Both songs were written and performed live at our songwriting workshops which took place in music centres across Hertfordshire during school holidays. They will now go into a production phase to develop them for the performance. Keep an eye out for a later blog post where we’ll be sharing some clips of interviews and rehearsals with the songwriter winners!

We received a high number of high-quality songs, and decisions reflected the balance of the overall Gala programme. We are planning more exciting opportunities to perform as part of Songwriter 2020, which will run as part of Hertfordshire’s Year of Culture 2020. Songwriter is open to all young people aged 8-18 who live or go to school in Hertfordshire. To listen to the winning songs, and for more information about how you can get involved, go to songwriteronline.co.uk.

Take A Look At The Making Of The Song "I Am Alban".

The school choirs will be singing the exciting new piece "I am Alban" in the Gala by UK Composer Anne Dudley with lyrics by Ian McMillan, based on the story of Saint Alban.  

Have a read: Click here to find out about more the story of "I am Alban" and what the school choirs will be singing about.

Have a look: Take a look at the exclusive video clips below of composer Anne Dudley and Rufus Frowde, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gala, talking about the story of ‘I am Alban’ and a behind the scenes clip of the recording of the piece…

Anne Dudley reflects on the inspiration behind composing I am Alban and its story:

A behind the scenes clip of the recording of I am Alban:

What’s coming up…

This week the Gala team are going to visit the Royal Albert Hall! Keep an eye out for our next blog post which will be a Royal Albert Hall special with a behind the scenes tour, photos, a quiz and more…

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

Blog Post 1

Tuesday 17th September 2019

Welcome to the brand new blog all about the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020! We’ll be posting a new blog post here every couple of weeks in the lead up to the Gala on Sunday 8th March 2020 with lots of new and exciting content. Keep an eye out for announcements, quizzes, interviews, behind the scenes footage and lots more…

For those of you who are new here, read on to find out about more the upcoming Gala and what’s in store.

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The Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala happens every two years with school choirs from all over Hertfordshire taking to the stage for one day in the Royal Albert Hall. Dancers, instrumental players and winners of the Songwriter competition also get to perform on stage. 

Programme Announcement

Here at Hertfordshire Music Service we’re really excited to announce the programme for the Gala 2020 and we’ve got a great line up this year. The massed choirs will sing in a new commission, I am Alban, by UK composer Anne Dudley, based on the story of Saint Alban with lyrics by Ian McMillan, as well as arrangements of S Club 7 Reach, Pharrell Williams Happy, and Coldplay A Sky Full of Stars. Why not take a listen to the original tracks below to get a feel for the upcoming programme.

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The Saint by Orbital – instrumental piece

The Saint is the opening song in the Gala. It was one of Orbital’s biggest hit singles in 1997 reaching number three in the UK Charts. It is the soundtrack from the film ‘The Saint’ and is an updated version of Edwin Astley's theme music from the 1960s TV series The Saint. 

Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP9pKQ5N6Qg 

https://open.spotify.com/track/01X6TfLDihnt6ofREP0yic?si=tYZwgxv4T0yiiIh73vHdPQ

 

Reach by S Club 7 – massed choir

S Club 7 were a huge pop band in the 2000s. Reach was one of their biggest hits and was number two in the UK Charts. In just 5 years from 1998 - 2003, S Club 7 had four number one singles, released four albums, 11 singles and sold over 10 million albums!

Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50kP4S0peAs
https://open.spotify.com/track/26ncGZfPWquaQ4PfTCcsID?si=LSAgH5tYS_im3MBgytJ3tw

 

I am Alban by Anne Dudley – massed choir

UK Composer Anne Dudley has written a new commission, I am Alban with lyrics by Ian McMillan, based on the story of Saint Alban which will have its world premiere at the Gala. 

Take a read: Click here to find out about more the story of I am Alban.

 

A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay – massed choir

Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars was released in 2014 and co-written and co-produced with Avicii. The song hit the top 10 in over 16 countries and was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 57th Grammy Awards.

Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPRjCeoBqrI 

https://open.spotify.com/track/0FDzzruyVECATHXKHFs9eJ?si=DO4WcDFkReKjksMKTEV3lg

 

Happy by Pharrell Williams – massed choir

You may recognise Happy by Pharrell Williams from the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2. It was the most downloaded song of all time in the UK in September 2014 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost out to Let It Go from Frozen.

Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbZSe6N_BXs 

https://open.spotify.com/track/5b88tNINg4Q4nrRbrCXUmg?si=H9eYo0c2SCOc6wIVQIRlTA

We’re really looking forward to Gala 2020 and we hope you are too! Head back to this page in a couple of weeks for the next blog post featuring behind the scenes footage of the recording of the new commission I am Alban and special interviews about the piece with composer Anne Dudley and artistic director Rufus Frowde.

See you next time!

Lucy

 

Hertfordshire Music Service
rahgala@hertfordshire.gov.uk
#hertsschoolsgala

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