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Carnival at the Royal Albert Hall

‘This particular project is, without doubt, one of the best musical initiatives I have witnessed. Its sheer breadth of outreach, including not only high standard music making but developing social understanding and responsibility, make it quite unique.

‘The approach to partnership engagement was extremely well thought through, with each partner bringing their expertise to the table to benefit the participating young people, and engaging and inspiring other young people in the process.’

Jean Carter, former head of Triborough Music Hub, London

 

 

Overview

The Music team at Trinity entered into the carnival spirit by developing music from its popular Music Tracks syllabus into a unique samba performance given by over 1,500 youngsters at London’s Royal Albert Hall, leading to a record-breaking world first in support of the Street Child World Cup charity.

 

Background

Street Child World Cup is a global movement for street children to receive the protection, rehabilitation and opportunities that all children are entitled to. Drawing on music, art and international opportunities the charity draws attention to the rights of street children and challenges negative perceptions and attitudes.

To celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the UK launch of Street Child World Cup, the charity teamed up with world music workshop company Inspire-works to lead a collaboration with Trinity, the Royal Albert Hall, samba instrument specialist SVM, 27 London schools and over 1,500 school children resulting in ‘The Road to Rio’ - a unique musical project which would culminate in a world record-breaking performance.

 

The project

Initially, Trinity commissioned Inspire-works’ Tom Gregory (who also composes for Trinity’s drum kit grade syllabus), to write a piece of samba percussion music for Music Tracks, Trinity’s innovative programme for young musicians to learn in whole-class and small-group environments. Music Tracks aims to inspire, right from when a student first picks up an instrument, to explore the work of musicians and composers from the world around them. It also promotes creative and collaborative music-making through exciting repertoire and resources, and sets young learners on the road to becoming lifelong music-makers.

Inspire-works’ musical director, Mike Simpson (who is also Trinity’s senior examiner for Music Tracks), had worked previously on a 2010 project for the South Africa Street Child World Cup and immediately saw the musical potential for students and the charity in this new samba piece if it were to be expanded for concert performance. Thus the ‘Road to Rio’ was launched with 20 expert Inspire-works facilitators teaching the young musicians to play Trinity’s samba music, over an intensive 10-week course, in preparation for a public performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

In addition, as part of the Arts Award Discover programme - a scheme also managed by Trinity - students were able to keep a diary of their work and learning experiences and earn a certificate of recognition for their efforts and creativity.

On 3 March 2014 the Royal Albert Hall hosted the special event with support from their staff, volunteers, Guinness World Record adjudicators and presenters from the BBC’s Blue Peter. The occasion itself was presented by former BBC presenter Andy Akinwolere and Sky Sports’ Hayley McQueen and featured an exclusive performance of the official Street Child World Cup anthem ‘I Am Somebody’ performed by Hospital Records.

 

Outcome

The event and the performance both proved to be a huge hit – the official Guinness adjudicators confirmed that the record for the world’s largest samba band had been smashed as the 1,675-strong band of students and teachers played their parts harmoniously and in time, with Trinity’s specially created music playing its part too, providing a foundation for the musicians’ performance.

Over 1,200 of the children participating obtained their Arts Award Discover certificate whilst taking part in this project. Legacy was also carefully considered from the outset with each participating school retaining their specially produced 30-player samba pack. To further develop the children’s musical skills teaching staff were also offered further CPD samba training, and several schools have now set up their own Escola de Samba (samba school).

The Road to Rio project has since been selected as one of the 5 finalists in the Best Musical Initiative Award for the Music Teacher Awards 2015 with the partnership between Inspire-works, Trinity College London, Street Child World Cup and the Royal Albert Hall being noted as a particular strength.

 

 

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