Joyful schools' concert celebrates Camden's musical legacy

More than 2,000 children and young people from all Camden's primary, secondary and special schools took part in a spectacular concert at the Royal Albert Hall last night (Tuesday, 10 March), which celebrated Camden's musical legacy.

Organised by the Council’s music service, the 12th Camden Music Festival truly captured the energy, creativity and inclusive nature of our borough, featuring premieres of original works, classical, world music, jazz, pop and rap, as well as a finale of It Must Be Love by Madness, who began their musical career in Camden Town.

Held biennially, the festival is the pinnacle of the exceptional music education delivered by Camden Music Service, with the support of the Camden Music Trust, the Council and Camden Learning, as well as other sponsors.

The event brings together parents and children, teachers and music tutors, professional composers and musicians, councillors - including the Mayor and Leader of the Council - celebrities and invited guests - including Suggs from Madness this year - from across Camden’s community and beyond.

A massive and hugely enjoyable undertaking, it featured this year:

  • Seven ensembles and one mighty brass fanfare
  • 117 beginners (29 beginner violins, 34 beginner recorders, 24 beginner ukulele players, 30 beginner brass players)
  • 16 rappers and four DJs
  • 55 schools, 150 teachers, 1,586 singers in the massed choirs
  • Nine songs, nine vocal soloists
  • 12 months of preparation, involving hundreds of hours of rehearsals.

Camden Music Service has out-of-school groups for players of all standards (including beginners) and ages from seven to 18, including the Camden Youth Orchestra, Camden Concert Band, Camden Youth Jazz Band and more.

These ensembles come together to perform and showcase their talent at the spectacular Royal Albert Hall concert, alongside a massed choir of primary and secondary school children.

Children from across the borough can be involved in these ensembles to help build performance skills and make friends. Organised out-of-school on Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons and during the holidays, they ensure everyone can be involved.

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, Mayor of Camden
We set up the first Camden Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall in 1998 as a `once in a lifetime opportunity’ for over 2,000 pupils to sing and perform to 3,000 parents and we're proud to have continued this event, of which last night's was the 12th. Since then, hundreds of children and young people in Camden’s schools have been involved in playing instruments in orchestras, bands and ensembles.
It's so important for our children and young people to have the opportunity to benefit from music tuition. The Camden Music Festival showcases the talents of our students and celebrates the success of all our wonderful music tutors that we are so very lucky to have providing services in our schools across the borough.
Thank you to all our staff involved in ensuring music is included in our curriculum in Camden schools and, also, the extra tuition they provide at weekend schools. I also want to thank them for the hard work and effort that goes into arranging this biennial event – it is a lot of hard work, over a year in planning, but well worth that effort.   
Thank you to the sponsors who support the event and also to the Camden Music Trust who work tirelessly to raise funds to ensure all Camden children and young people have the opportunity to benefit from music tuition.

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, Mayor of Camden

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.

Donate today:

Visit the Camden Music Trust Just Giving web page