Senior Choral sing at the Royal Albert Hall
Every now and again the opportunity of a lifetime comes along and for any choir, the invitation to sing at the Royal Albert Hall is just such a moment.
In March 2018, Senior Choral won the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition held at London’s Festival Hall and as ‘National Choir of the Year’, they were then invited to perform at the Barnardo’s Young Supporters’ Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Upper Fifth girl and member of Senior Choral, Poppy tells us about her experience,
Walking through the streets of London, we caught our first glimpse of the historic venue. The magnitude of what we were about to experience suddenly struck us and our enthusiasm surged as we were shown to our dressing room. Backstage at the Royal Albert Hall is quite something, and most of us got lost in the maze of corridors at some point during the day! It was utterly surreal wandering around and seeing photographs of famous people who had performed there, from Frank Sinatra to The Beatles and from Beyoncé to Liza Minelli.
After several hours of rehearsing classic numbers from Frozen, La La Land and The Greatest Showman and a highly enjoyable Pizza Express dinner, the show was about to start. We made our way to our seats and watched eagerly as the audience filled the Hall. Suddenly, the crowds went quiet as the conductor arrived onstage. The opening chords of The Greatest Show were played and suddenly the Royal Albert Hall was filled with the collective voices of 1,500 children singing their hearts out. After a wonderful first act, we made our way backstage to prepare for our performance. It was almost dreamlike going through our familiar warm-ups in such a prestigious venue with the knowledge that we would soon be performing on the stage of one of the most reputable concert halls in the world.
We queued up backstage and listened as the presenter announced us, the levels of anticipation rising rapidly. It was almost ethereal walking onstage to the welcoming applause of 5,000 spectators. After the initial rush of such an incredible moment, we focused all of our attention on Dr Exon and Miss Holmes began to play the opening notes of Will Todd’s The Lord is My Shepherd. A hush fell over the Hall as we started to sing. The music flowed around us and we felt a connection to the piece in a way we had never felt before. We were so involved in our performance that we only became aware of our audience again when the sound of thunderous applause was heard. It was as though we had been awoken from a reverie as we saw thousands of people clapping joyously and I think we felt slightly astonished at what we had just accomplished. Even afterwards, a member of Senior Choral overheard one of the children saying that they wanted “to be in the choir with the black dresses”.
It was one of the most incredible, unforgettable experiences of my life, and one which will last in our memories for many years to come.”