Founders Concert 2017 – The Traveller
As well as being evocative of memories and emotions, music is a passport that entitles the listener to travel under its protection, to and from cultures and countries, heritage and history. Music is a powerful symbol and its sounds can be very diverse, but also emblematic, of our planet’s humanity.
So it was fitting that our passport was actually our program to Founders Concert 2017. It listed a musical itinerary entitling ‘The Traveller’ to cross borders accompanied by the Chamber Strings into Tchaikovsky’s Russia in Tema Russo; to traverse the multitude of regions speaking Bantu languages in Africa with the Combined Preparatory Choir and in Abiyoyo to feel the stomping in world music rhythms of Kusimama, encouraging us to stand tall on the earth with hope and acceptance, beside our youngest voices.
Travel and music can both open our eyes to uncomfortable realities in the world’s cities, which can be places of poverty and loneliness. Ralph McTell’s Streets of London, performed ‘in the round’, almost under a street lamp, created a sympathetic contemporary duet to remind us to stop and really see the ‘others’ we meet in our travels.
What is interesting in the work of many 20th Century American composers and arrangers is that the origin of their music has a foreign heritage, yet it is infused with the freedoms and positivity that a land of new hope brings to travellers and immigrants. Such examples were in the program’s inclusion of the Celtic Appalachian Jig, the Spanish flamenco influence in Alfred Reed’s El Camino Real and the ‘middle-eastern’ swing in Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol’s Caravan.
Most famously though it is perhaps Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony that most embodies ‘The Traveller’ and the Finale to Symphony No 9 was a fitting conclusion to Founders Concert, performed by our Symphony Orchestra. It followed the Head of Music, Mr Mark Scott’s, acknowledgment of the wonderful contribution to music-making that the Year 12 of 2017 have made during their travels here.
So just as Neil Armstrong took a recording of New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, we too hope our boys will take with them Newington music experiences to share with the many other travellers they meet.