Over 1200 Lewisham children descended on the Royal Festival Hall for the third Lewisham Music’s 2019 Summer Gala at the South Bank Centre on Thursday, 27th June 2019.

Lewisham Music is an independent charity that was spun out of Lewisham Council’s music service,  they will be moving into the Grade II Fellowship Inn in Bellingham shortly.

It is the perfect venue to showcase south London’s future and talented young people.  The ‘People’s Palace‘ – the RFH was described in 1951 Festival of Britain as “a people’s palace of welfare state democracy in its pure form”.

The programme included the full range of Lewisham’s schools. First up was the Lewisham Open Orchestra of Greenvale School and Bonus Pastor Catholic College. They gave a spirited redention of The reason i’m human.

Sedgehill School’s acclaimed Vocalize performed two pieces Nobody and Diamonds. They are accomplished singers and their Director, Andy Gilbert never fails to make them shine.


The Prendergast School Chamber Choir and Orchestra got the audience’s feet tapping with a Medley from Grease and This is me from The Greatest Showman.

The Lewisham Schools Brass Band and Concert Band is open to all Lewisham’s young musicians and as the website says:  “Not only does playing in the band improve music making, but it is also a rich learning environment for other personal and social skills including working and mixing with other children and young people from different schools and communities”. They sent us on a latin journey with La Bombonera, Mambo from West Side Story and Soul Bossa Nova.

The show stopping Rathfern Primary School West African Drummers brought the Royal Festival Hall to its feet with the crescendo drumming of Moribayassa. The joy of music was there for all to hear and see.

After a short interval, the massed choirs of Lewisham assembled onto the famous stage for the world premiere of a brand new vocal work Endurance composed by James Redwood and Hazel Gould and conducted by Clare Caddick. This tells the story of Sydenham’s and Lewisham’s own explorer Ernest Shackelton and the south polar expedition in 1914-16 where the Endurance sank but no lives were lost. However, lesser known is that Shackelton was “addicted to playing truant from school, and we may
assume that he was versed in the art of plausible excuses both at school and at home.”

Have a listen to Sail away my boys – this will blow you away:

This piece is a truly inspirational work. It tells an incredible story of human endeavour and exploration over adversity. The chorus of young people who play the crew and the world who looked on, they are still captivated and energised by this, more than 100 years later. History and music together can always make a difference.


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