On the 6th of July 16 of our Ark Pioneer pupils congregated in High Barnet station with a plethora of instrument cases including cellos, violins, trumpets and saxophones slung over their shoulders, ready for a day of music making with over 600 students from 34 schools for the Ark Music Gala at the Barbican centre.
On arrival they were each given a bright green wristband which gained them backstage privileges in the Barbican, a venue that later this week would be playing host to one of classical and jazz music’s modern greats and internationally renowned trumpeter/ composer Wynton Marsalis with his Lincoln Orchestra, the week following to his brother Branford Marsalis, saxophone extraordinaire with playing credits including Englishman in New York for Sting and towards the end of this month jazz icon Herbie Hancock.
On arrival our pupils took to the stage for a day of rehearsals as part of the Ark Spark choir, the Fusion orchestra, and to join the Ark massed secondary choir; during which they each demonstrated exceptional professional behaviour by following the various instructions from the professional conductors. Repertoire was themed around the elements; Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, and included songs such as Gaia, Fire, Rain, the world celebrated Metropole Orkest’s arrangement of Basement Jaxx Do Your Thing - culminating in a joint performance of the massed choir and orchestra for Vivir Mi Vida which included a French, Spanish, Arabic and rap solo.
From the start of the performance the energy within the auditorium was electric and would only continue to build throughout the various “school spotlight” performances which included original compositions; Rising from the Ashes for Ark Boulton and Ark Victoria’s Dhol Drummers, Shut Down from the Ark Rap Collective and a medley from the exceptional ‘Ark Angels’ by way of Ark Academy primary.
Special mention should be given to Pioneer’s music scholar Naomi who entertained friends and family with her own original song supported by a band comprised from Ark’s music mentors who have helped pupils to realise this performance throughout the year. Naomi also sang a solo as part of the main performance in the entirely acapella Sorida.
To sum up, an excellent performance from every one of the 600 pupils present – a celebration of the hard work all have put in throughout the year, and Pioneers musical cohort should feel proud of their contributions to such a brilliant concert!