On Monday 29 April, The National Youth Orchestra (NYO) visited Skinners’ Academy for the second time to work alongside our pupils, and other musicians from across Hackney, as part of their ‘Play the School’ programme.
The day began with a range of instrument specific side by side workshops where NYO musicians, Skinners’ musicians and a handful of young musicians from other Hackney schools worked together to compose their own versions of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’. After the workshops, the whole orchestra came together in the sports hall to put their ideas together under the guidance of the NYO’s conductor, Karin Hendrickson, before performing for their audience.
This year’s ‘Play the School’ event was organised by NYO’s Young Promoters, formed of Skinners’ Academy pupils from Year 7-10 split into Junior and Senior Promoters. Some of our Senior Promoters share their experiences of the day below.
Nisa, Year 10:
Sitting next to an NYO musician during the side by side workshop gave me the courage to push myself musically and try new things. The most difficult thing for me was being the only person in my section playing a separate part, although, I did get used to it as my partner from the NYO continually helped me. They were all really helpful especially if any of us got lost whilst reading the music.
As well as being a musician, this year I became one of NYO’s Young Promoters. Being a Senior Promoter gave me the opportunity to help plan NYO’s visit from start to finish, I really gained an insight into how much effort is needed to organise an event. My role also included presenting. At the start of the performance we began by introducing the conductor, Karin Hendrickson, and conducting a short interview with her for our audience. We then Introduced each piece of music throughout the performance all whilst playing alongside the orchestra. Being a Young promoter helped me to become resilient and build my confidence to talk to new people.
The event ended with a rehearsal of Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia’ which we then performed to our remaining audience members.
The thing that stood out to me throughout the day was that the NYO musicians are just like us. They’re humans too. I think it came as a surprise to many people that they all liked and did things that we all do.
This was an experience of a lifetime.
Yasmin, Year 10:
NYO Play the School was another incredible event. This year the event was fully run by NYO Young Promoters who spent weeks planning and organizing the event so the NYO musicians felt comfortable and the school day ran smoothly. As the NYO event took place during the first week of work experience, some Year 10 pupils spent their first day of placement at the Academy as Senior Promoters.
On the day we split ourselves into four teams so that the Junior promoters (made up of pupils from Year 7-9) would have at least one Senior Promoter with them, and stationed ourselves around the Academy to make sure everyone knew where they were going. We also spent our lunch with the NYO musicians giving us the opportunity to ask lots of questions about how it was to play in such a large orchestra.
All the promoters showed great teamwork and resilience, and we all enjoyed ourselves. A great big thanks to all the Junior promoters who helped, you are all amazing and I hope to be working with you guys more next year.
Chin, Year 10:
As a Senior Promoter my role was to organise all the different schools taking part and delegate roles to the Junior Promoters. As well as being a Senior Promoter I was also a musician, so whilst carrying out my promotor role I also had to attended the side by side workshops and perform with the orchestra. The day was stressful for me because I wanted to make sure everything ran smoothly, but I still had fun.
Playing with the NYO was amazing. Even if you made a mistake the NYO remained seamless and didn’t get distracted! During the performance my favourite piece was Ginastera, this is because the atmosphere was exciting and it was a very unique piece that the NYO made quite contemporary.
The NYO are amazing and all the music is amazing and really cool.
Congratulations again to Ms Adediran, the music department, musicians and senior and junior promoters… as well as the National Youth Orchestra team for another memorable event.