Camden schools get together for spectacular concert at the Royal Albert Hall

Last night (Monday 24 April), over 2,000 children and young people from the borough’s primary, secondary and special schools took part in Camden’s Schools Music Festival.

Organised by Camden’s music service, with support from the Camden Music Trust, Camden Learning, Arts Council England and London Music Fund, 2,000 children from across Camden’s schools came together to perform a fantastic array of original, classical, jazz and international songs.

Held at one of London’s most famous music venues, the Royal Albert Hall, the festival brought together pupils and their families, teachers, music tutors, musicians, and composers for the first time in person since the pandemic.

The centrepiece for this year’s concert was ‘Camden to the Caribbean’, a newly composed piece created with children from St Alban’s, St Mary and St Pancras and Fleet primary schools, and Regent High School as part of a Windrush project they took part in during the autumn term.

Musicians from performance group Kinetika Bloco worked with students on drums, steel pans and brass instruments as part of the piece, which took inspiration from four countries in the Caribbean.

‘Camden to the Caribbean’ was funded by Camden’s Culture Service and the London Music Fund and could only be brought together for performance by the full cast of 2,000 performers on the day.

Taking place biennially, this was the 13th Camden Schools Music Festival to take place since 1998, also marking the 25th anniversary of the event.

Councillor Marcus Boyland, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families

What a fantastic and inspirational event to take place on one of London’s biggest stages. Music and the arts are incredibly important for children, not only to inspire creativity but to connect young people, improve health and wellbeing and give students the chance to have fun. That’s why as a Council we are dedicated to ensuring all our children and young people can access a music education and offer free music lessons for seven to eleven-year-olds.

A huge well done to all the children and young people who took part in this year’s festival, as well as the teachers, composers and musicians who helped make this wonderful event happen. Events like this add to Camden schools’ rich curriculum and showcase the wonderful talent we have across our schools, enabling everyone to celebrate the importance of music in our schools and lives.

Councillor Marcus Boyland, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families

It’s been great to work with Camden Music Service and all the amazing young people from the four schools on Camden to the Caribbean. Our four Tutors: Wade Austin, Sam Agard, Andy Grappy and Shayanna Dyer-Harris, all have heritage from the Caribbean and it has been lovely for them to share music from their culture with the young people, some of whom share the same culture. 

The wonderful thing about London is that so many different cultures are represented in our people and it is important for children and young people to see themselves reflected in the music they explore in school. They helped compose the music and lyrics and it has been so exciting to hear the Royal Albert Hall resound with their creativity.

Tamzyn French, CEO of Kinetika Bloco

For the first time, the event was livestreamed to parents, carers, family, and friends of the children who could not be there in person.

The 2023 Camden Schools Music Festival featured:

  • 10 ensembles
  • 15 pieces of music
  • 53 schools
  • 1,800 singers and countless teachers, tutors, and classroom assistants.

See more photos from the festival here.

Camden Music Trust - donate today

Camden Music Trust charity works closely with the Camden Music Service, helping to fund music projects that ensure all Camden’s children can be involved in music making – regardless of their circumstances. They rely on donations to help continue their work making music education inclusive. 

Visit the Camden Music Trust website to make a donation here.