Duchess tunes into school rehearsal at Queen Mary’s Uni for performance by London Chamber Orchestra

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears]

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears] - Credit: Archant

The Duchess of Cornwall was in London’s East End to watch a dress rehearsal yesterday and meet 130 children taking part in a new work being performed by the London Chamber Orchestra.

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears]

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears] - Credit: Archant

She looked in at the People’s Palace at Queen Mary University’s Mile End campus where I Am You, Brave and Strong orchestral and choral work was being rehearsed, which has been commissioned for the orchestra’s Music Junction education and outreach programme.

The orchestra’s chairman Mark Redman escorted Camilla into the auditorium to meet the children and watch the rehearsal.

Youngsters aged nine to 17 who were taking part come from 17 schools and music organisations in Waltham Forest and Havering in east London and from Kent and Berkshire.

They were rehearsing together for the first time, after six months of local workshops, some having only recently taken up playing an instrument.

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears]

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears] - Credit: Archant


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The work, by classical composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad, is being given its world premiere at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea tomorrow.

The Music Junction project has brought together 1,000 youngsters since it began in 2010, from all backgrounds and varying musical ability, helping develop self-confidence, empathy and a sense of aspiration as well as a lasting interest in classical music.

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It was inspired by work carried out many years ago with world-renowned violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin, originally to encourage children to learn the violin and perform with the orchestra.

The programme now in its sixth year has long since developed into a geographically-wide, socially-inclusive project covering all the orchestral instruments, bringing schools together with music authorities and carer organisations like east London’s Dr Barnardo’s charity.

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears]

Duchess of Cornwall meets children rehearsing at People's Palace in Mile End [photos: Ken Mears] - Credit: Archant

It has introductory training days, ‘flash mob’ performances, workshops and instrument sessions.

Schools and organisations taking part in yesterday’s People’s Palace rehearsal at Mile End for tomorrow’s Cadogan Hall premier are Barnardo’s High Close and Meadows schools, Barnardo’s Havering and Indigo Young Carers organisations, the Havering Music Service, Walthamstow Academy, Waltham Forest Music Service, Bradfield College, Lammas School, Theale Green School, Drapers’ Academy, Bancroft’s School, Tonbridge Grammar for Girls and Skinners’ Kent Academy.

The London Chamber, founded in 1921, is Britain’s oldest professional chamber orchestra with its core mission to break down barriers between musicians and audience by staging public performances in an informal, yet informative style.

It performs around the world, from La Scala in Milan to City Hall in Hong Kong, throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East.

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