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Lights, Stories, Noise, Dreams, Love, and Noodles – this mouthful of a title signalled the Outreach Project’s most ambitious undertaking yet. The theme of London inspired jazz composer Will Todd and children’s poet Michael Rosen to produce a wonderful piece for hundreds of children to premiere with The Bach Choir in our end-of-year Outreach concert in Central Hall Westminster in June 2016.
Children from eight tri-borough primary schools sang alongside The Young Singers and The Bach Choir, supported by Phil Scriven on piano and the jazz trio of Gareth Huw Davies, Jim Fleeman, and Matthew Green, all conducted by The Bach Choir’s Musical Director, David Hill. Michael Rosen himself also graced the stage to recite some of his poems and introduce the world premiere.
Lights, Stories, Noise, Dreams, Love, and Noodles was a hit with children, adults, and audience members alike. The children performed enthusiastically the various movements of the piece, from the rumbustious “Rhythms of the City” and the “Noises” of buses, cars, and machines; to the lyrical “Love is What We Need” and “I am What I am in My Dreams”. The list of things we might love to eat ended with a fortissimo tutti of “Noodles”!
The world premiere was performed alongside London songs in various styles. Six of the schools performed a London-themed song of their own, prepared and led by their teachers. Their selections included “The Lambeth Walk” from Me and My Girl, Petula Clark’s “Downtown”, and “Portobello Road” from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The Young Singers sang special arrangements of London songs Burlington Bertie and London by Night by Sally Greaves, and Bob Chilcott’s London Bells. Together we sang other traditional London rhymes, such as London’s Burning and Oranges and Lemons, imaginatively arranged by an ex-Bach Choir singer, Stuart Calvert.
It was a thoroughly London affair, and well received by both performers and audience members:
“A fabulous experience for all performers, children & adults & audience.”
“[It was] lovely to see children having the chance to sing alongside trained singers and musicians, experiencing great music, in a great venue.”
“[I] really liked the London theme. The children obviously were so excited to see Michael Rosen in the flesh.”
“Fantastic to see so many children on stage.”