Outstanding performance by Bollywood Orchestra as Queen Elizabeth’s School secures music sponsorship deal

A team of QE musicians teamed up with dancers from Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School, Barnet, in a memorable performance at the National Festival of Music for Youth. It was the first time that QE has reached the national stages of the festival.

The summer performance by the recently formed Bollywood Orchestra came as QE secured a sponsorship deal of more than £10,000 with the American company, Avid, and an additional £1,000 with British company Weave Records.

The sponsorship deals, along with additional financial support from the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s School, mean QE can apply for a government grant of £25,000 towards the cost of staging, lighting and PA in the new hall. The School has used Avid’s music score-writing software, Sibelius, for many years.

QE Director of Music Kieron Howe said: “The deals will open the door to a mutually beneficial relationship between QE and these companies to enable exciting and innovative opportunities for our pupils, parents and staff both within the School and beyond.”""

Mr Howe recently led the Bollywood Orchestra – 18 boys from Years 9 to 12 – together with the four female dancers as they travelled to Birmingham for the National Festival of Music for Youth, which was held in the Adrian Boult Hall, part of the Birmingham Conservatoire. The boys had won their place after recording an entry for the regional rounds in March this year. They were selected to perform with 21 other groups from around Britain in the Traditional Music class of the national festival.

“The boys provided the music and the girls had choreographed a fantastic dance to enhance the experience,” said Mr Howe.

“We were shown to our dressing room, where there was just enough room for the final rehearsal, although Jeremy Wong had to improvise a drum kit out of two chairs. An agonising wait then ensued as the programme was running 30 minutes late. The boys filled this by having a jazz improvisation session, refusing even to acknowledge any nerves at all.""

“We were called through to the backstage area, where we were able to hear an amazing Taiko drum performance from another school before it was our turn. The stage was set by the stage manager, and the boys and girls filed onto a stage they had never even seen, let alone rehearsed on.

“The performance was outstanding. For the first time there was a sense that the musicians and dancers were working as a unit and the distinct groups of rhythm section, orchestra, Indian percussionists and dancers gelled to give a seamless, musical and thoroughly enjoyable performance, as shown by the whooping and cheering from the other groups watching.”

“To have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the preparations and performance for a whole day, not to mention the opportunity to perform on such a massive stage, was fantastic.”

The QE group were also selected to perform as part of the Outdoor Music festival running alongside the main festival. Mr Howe said: “We got the opportunity to play on the beach in Chamberlain Square in the centre of Birmingham – yes, there is a beach in Birmingham! The boys coped extremely well in the difficult outdoor acoustics and the girls, dressed in brightly-coloured traditional Indian clothes, danced on the small stage with precision and poise. The performance drew a large and appreciative crowd of Brummies passing by.”