Camden schools rock the Royal Albert Hall

Schoolchildren from every state school in Camden sang and played music in a “grand jamboree” in front of thousands at the Royal Albert Hall on March 18.

The Camden Music Festival has been celebrated in the prestigious concert hall since 1998 and this year 33 children from every state primary and secondary school in the borough tackled music from genres including classical, opera, jazz and African drumming.

The Djembe “bingo” drummers from Fitzjohn’s Primary School in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, and the ukulele band from Rhyl Primary School, in Rhyl Street, Kentish Town, performed, along with their choirs, to universal acclaim.

Harriet Carter, 24, the new head of music at Rhyl Primary School, said: “It was the highlight of the year and I’m very proud.

“There was such a buzz of excitement. The pupils love performing and it is great they get this chance.”

Rhyl pupils had been having special ukulele lessons every week since December to get their skills up to scratch.

At Fitzjohn’s Primary, by contrast, the instrument of choice was the Djembe drum.

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The whole experience of watching the children as part of Camden’s musical offering was “fantastic and very moving”, said headteacher Rob Earrey.

“The whole atmosphere and the quality and range of the music was incredible,” he said.

Writing about the occasion in his blog, the broadcaster, Jon Snow, who hosted the event praised the move to take orchestral instruments into schools.

He said: “Here was a borough investing in a celebratory jamboree to underscore the achievement of music in education.”