Vandyke Students at the Royal Albert Hall

Published on 11 September 2017

Vandyke Students at the Royal Albert Hall

July marked the beginning of the Proms season at The Royal Albert Hall, which seven Sixth Form   students from Vandyke were lucky enough to be involved with. Catherine Daly, Chloe Bright, Max Thomas, Molly Wasway, Kalifa Odunlami, Xenia Kitchen and Hannah Thomson were all part of the BBC Proms Youth Choir Academy who opened the first night of the proms on Friday 14th July. The choir sang three movements from John Adams’ ‘Harmonium’; a large scale choral work based on poetry by Emily Dickinson and John Donne. 

The seven students were selected via an application process and an audition at Paddington Academy in London. This enabled them to participate in rehearsals at Maida Vale studios  twice a month between January and July. The rehearsals required the students to carry out vocal warm-ups, learn how to read the notation of the Harmonium score and follow directions from the conductor. This culminated in a week-long residential at Birmingham University, with the final two day rehearsals at The Royal Albert Hall.

Max Thomas, who performed on the opening night said, “It’s not every day that you get to watch the first night of the Proms from backstage and work with such talented musicians and directors. The course really developed my voice and in particular my vocal range – several sections of the piece were extremely high! I’ve made some amazing friends from different cultures and made a lot of memories.”  The performance was broadcasted live on BBC Two and BBC Radio Three for anyone who was unable to purchase tickets. Molly Wasway and Kalifa Odunlami were also part of an interview on BBC Radio Three.

Chloe Bright, a soprano singer from the BBC PYCA said, “It was a fantastic experience because it developed my vocal confidence and performance skills.  To walk out on stage at The Royal Albert Hall was incredible because it’s such a prestigious music venue and not something that you do every day! I’ve made some great friends who I will stay in contact with and will remember this amazing experience for the rest of my life.”

Not all the performers currently study A-Level Music, so this was an amazing opportunity for them to widen their musical experience. The staff at Vandyke Upper School are incredibly proud of their huge achievement and hope that more students can be involved in the future.

Miss Doe

Team Leader of Music