Following on from their success at Symphony Hall, Birmingham last academic year, Cantilena were invited to take part in the prestigious Music for Youth Proms 2022.
Forty students from Upper Prep and Lower I boarded the coach after lunch on Wednesday 16 November and hot-footed it to London’s Royal Albert Hall in time for a massed rehearsal, before their own sound check in the afternoon.
The members of Cantilena proved themselves to be ambassadors for The Abbey and held their own against students aged right up to 21, rehearsing with confidence and concentration.
A large group of enthusiastic Abbey parents and siblings supported our young performers and made the journey to London to be part of the huge, near-capacity audience in the Royal Albert Hall. Our students enjoyed the opportunity to listen to a hugely diverse range of performances, from duets to jazz and rap to big bands, and their reactions to each piece reflected their love of music and the joy it generates.
Cantilena were the youngest performers of the evening and we were extremely proud of the fabulous feedback about their singing which we received from members of the public. We even met a lady who turned out to be a former pupil of the Abbey!
After exquisite renditions of ‘The Puzzle’ and ‘Silver Moon’ in the first half of the concert, the students contributed energetically to the massed finale, ‘Back Together’ (despite it being way past their bedtimes!)
A video link from Beyoncé’s dad came as a surprise to the evening’s performers, and Gary Barlow & Chris Martin also popped up on screen too, to lend their support to Music for Youth’s message – ‘Young people make great music: support the next generation.’
Our thanks go to Cantilena’s conductor, Miss Wallis; to their accompanist, Mrs Adams; and to the staff who helped to make this event a success. Well done, Cantilena!