South East London
The night kicked off with a powerful performance from youth choir Vocalise, who are from southeast London school Sedgehill Academy and formed in 2010 having continued within the school for the last 11 years.
The choir from Lewisham started with a solo spoken word artist who was lit up by a single spotlight in the now dark Royal Albert Hall accompanied by a trio of backing singers who harmonised and aided in the potency of the performance. The hall sat there in silence as it absorbed the young performers eloquent and powerful performance. Being a youth group, the spoken word focused on topics such as lockdown, anxiety, and acne.
The performance ended and the choir all came out and formed a large group in the centre stage. Dressed in black and white, the group formed into one on the centre stage and continued with their performance harmonising and covering Nick Jonas’s 2021 hit “This is Heaven”. While the group of around 20 students all sang this song together, 6 soloists from the groups stepped forward to sing their own solos. Despite their young age their voices filled the hall and had many onlookers in what could be seen as some state of shock. Keeping it true to South London, the choir didn’t just stop at singing, with one member stepping forward to perform a rap performance over the “This is heaven” track with lyrics written by the choir.
The pupils creating their own pieces of work and writing their own songs as seen with the rap and spoken word performance is no new feat to these talented youngsters. They regularly organise showcases and upload songs on to SoundCloud with over 200k plays. Their work and passion for music is why the choir have been able to stay running for 11 years and this night at the Royal Albert Hall was the group’s opportunity to showcase their talents and gain their recognition.
Youthsayers are a group from Brixton, south London. They focus on Ska, Reggae and jazz music playing the Drums, Clarinets, Saxophone, Keyboard and Bass guitar. The group’s Caribbean influence comes from the area of Brixton which is heavily moulded by the Caribbean migrants from the Windrush generation who helped shape the town into what it is today.
The individual musicians and instruments were all played to a level of perfection that all merged to create one powerful sound. The group were the first to perform following the interval and were faced with the task of getting the crowd back involved again. It started with a few bobbing heads which turned into a sea of bobbing heads as the whole crowd began to get more involved with Youthsayers’ performance. While the group were warming up, they were evidently excited, having sat in an interview with them earlier in the day I knew that for some of them this wasn’t their first performance at the famous hall while for some of the younger members this was their biggest show to date. As a group they gelled as one and brought the hall back to life. Remel London came on the stage following their performance and in the gaps of cheers and claps she thanked the group for “Bringing a little bit of carnival to the Albert Hall” a nod to the Caribbean influence that ran through the group’s performance.
Rubik’s Cube are a pop/rock choir that sing and use Makaton sign language while performing. The choir is formed at Osborne school in Winchester and has been going for over 11 years and includes over 30 young people with a range of special educational needs. The group performed a pop medley accompanied with moves that reflected the group’s high energy.
The thousand odd onlookers in the crowd fed off the group’s energy and after just their first song they had the crowd on board with yelps and woos filling the hall. A solo vocalist kicked off their second song and in doing so silenced the crowd before it erupted into premature cheers. Rubik’s Cube received the largest reception of the night with cheers and claps filling the hall as the young choir stood at centre stage absorbing the praise. Host for the night Remel London said it best when she came onto the stage to congratulate the group from Winchester, saying “Thank you for making this a concert” which was met by cheers in the crowd and glee filling the faces of the performers.
The group form Winchester are no stranger to the limelight and could be seen to have become somewhat accustomed to it, performing when the Olympic torch arrived in Winchester (2012), supporting and playing for local charities and playing a show with Peter Andre.
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