Our London Jazz Festival Collective bring the house down at Southbank Centre
Well, November was certainly a busy month at ArtsTrain HQ! Our November performances at The Albany and the Southbank Centre marked our tenth year performing in the London Jazz Festival. It’s the highlight of our year and our most ambitious compositional project of the calendar.
Our young people worked with music leaders Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, James Yarde and De’Borah Powell to create five original tracks to perform as part of the festival - for 2019 our work was themed around climate change, Greta Thunberg and youth activism. Every year brings together a diverse group of young people from different schools.
Friday night’s listening party at The Albany in Deptford fizzed with jazz vibes and impromptu dancing. It felt very fitting to see our young people so invested in the sound of the genre, just a few doors down from Buster Mantis and where Steam Down began - the spirit of jazz was alive and well in south London that night.
For Sunday’s performance our collective closed the EFG London Jazz Festival, performing in the ‘Next Generation Takes Over’ at the Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall. First on the bill, they absolutely brought the house down, bringing professionalism and brilliant musicianship to the stage, with a set that showcased the musical diversity of the group.
We’re so proud of the young people and the journey their creative journey - a huge thank you to our Music Leaders Rahel, James and De’Borah, who guided the group in their compositions and helped them turn their ideas and voices into songs with a powerful social message. And we're also excited to continue the project down a new avenue, as we'll be filming one of the songs in a very unusual setting on Saturday 7th December - more details to come!
Have a look at some quotes from our young people and parents below - they’re honest, moving and a testimony to the work everyone put in.
“It’s been really inspiring to work with people with so much talent and I think it’s really brought out the best in me in terms of creativity, openness to new ideas and general confidence just to put my thoughts across.” Josie, ArtsTrain participant.
“It has been an absolute joy to seeing [my daughter] coming out of her shell and becoming happier ...We cannot stress how thankful we are to you all for helping her and giving her this fantastic opportunity. We are very proud of her and all that she has achieved through ArtsTrain...She is finding her feet as to what she really enjoys in life and I think we can safely say that music is not only her passion but also fulfils a therapeutic need,” parent of ArtsTrain participant.
“It has been an absolute joy to seeing [my daughter] coming out of her shell and becoming happier ...We cannot stress how thankful we are to you all for helping her and giving her this fantastic opportunity. We are very proud of her and all that she has achieved through ArtsTrain...She is finding her feet as to what she really enjoys in life and I think we can safely say that music is not only her passion but also fulfills a therapeutic need,” parent of ArtsTrain participant.
"My favourite part was being able to make music with people you’d never met before - it gives you different perspectives on both how music can be written and what type of music you can make with others,” Tara, ArtsTrain participant.
“I would say that this has been a life-changing experience for her and has come at a crucial time in her life,” parent of ArtsTrain participant.
“My favourite part of the London Jazz Festival was probably just the experience of being there, using professional equipment and being treated like professional musicians. It was the first fully public event I’ve ever been involved with and it was a GRETA experience,” Joseph, ArtsTrain participant.
“We live in a fast-paced world and it is easy for a young person to become overwhelmed by the speed at which it moves; ArtsTrain has given my daughter a chance to find balance, friendship and a deep understanding of the increasing significance that music has in her life. Thank you,” parent of ArtsTrain participant.
And finally, we have to say a huge thank you to our partners The Churchill Theatre, Serious and The Albany and our funders Arts Council and Mytime Active for making this possible for the tenth year.