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Meet the Winners: The Band

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Catherine Deval | 15:49 UK time, Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Community Music grant winner, The Band, is led by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Take a minute or two to get to know them...

 

Picture of The Band. Two men playing instruments.

 

1. Who are 'The Band'?

The Band is a musical ensemble made up of 15-19 year olds from South London. All instruments and levels of experience are welcomed, including Western and non-Western instruments, singers and MCs, ensuring that the group is as inclusive as possible. Led and tutored by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the group come together to create their own music for high profile community performances that happen frequently across the year.  Each week the members take inspiration from blues, hip hop, reggae, soul and many more styles to create their own new tracks… with a classical twist.

Through The Band, the London Philharmonic Orchestra predominantly work with teenagers in the Orchestra’s home boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Greenwich. Members of The Band come from a range of backgrounds, and many would not normally have the opportunity to create their own music alongside their peers, so the sessions are a unique opportunity to experience and perform live contemporary music and have contact with professional musicians and workshop leaders. It is widely recognised that being a member of such an ensemble has both musical and social benefits as well as boosting the members’ self-confidence and self-esteem.


2. How will the BBC Performing Art Fund Community Music grant help the group?

The BBC Performing Arts Fund grant will enable The Band to run at full capacity for the December to February project.

The legacy of The Band and this project is to embed the group in the communities the members reside in. Although a LPO-managed group, we want the members themselves to feel ownership over the work and activities. By taking this work out into the communities we want to raise the profile of its activities and the opportunities on offer to young people in South London, and encourage more people to benefit from membership of the group.

The grant will help deliver the project’s aims of providing a nurturing and supportive environment where young people can experiment with and create music, get involved with inspirational performance opportunities and regularly work alongside LPO musicians. It will also continue to develop the valuable skills that members can use in their ongoing personal development, such as collaboration, leadership and personal reflection.


3. Tell us about the best day 'The Band' has had to date?

One of our favourite projects culminated in a performance as part of the Lewisham Live festival to celebrate the Olympics in August 2012. The Lewisham Live online blog gave us a great review of the performance:

“The Band have been building an enviable reputation for the quality of their music-making this past year after two successful gigs at Royal Festival Hall. Their music is typically a blend of influences brought to the group by the younger members and the LPO musicians, and is taking on an increasingly rich and complex character.”


4. What was the best reaction from the group when they found out about winning the
PAF grant?


The next performance by The Band takes place on Saturday 22 February at Royal Festival Hall. The performance will be of their original collective composition titled Three Places in South London which has been inspired by American composer Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England, which the Orchestra will be performing that night. At the first rehearsal session for this performance one member said:

“I am so excited that because of the grant we get to do the full amount of creative sessions in the run up to our next performance. I enjoy coming along to play with people my age and appreciate learning from and getting to know the LPO musicians.”


5. Give us 3 words that describe a performance by The Band


Electric, exhilarating, inspirational.

 

You can follow The Band's progress by joining the LPO on Twitter or finding them on Facebook.

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Meet the Winners is a feature introducing you to some of the groups and individuals who have recently received a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund. We get to hear about so many fantastic projects and people who are keeping the performing arts alive in the UK, that we thought you should know about them too.

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