750 Gloucestershire students head to Royal Albert Hall schools prom
Students from across the county were among the 460 young singers and 150 musicians performing at Wednesday's Last Night of the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The 610 young performers, known collectively as the Gloucestershire Massed Ensemble, were joined by around 750 parents, family members, teaching staff and supporters at Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday morning, from where they set off in a convoy of 33 coaches for the prestigious venue.
There they joined nearly 3,000 fellow young musicians, singers and dancers from schools and music groups from all over the UK to perform at the spectacular closing night of the annual Schools Prom.
Organised by national music education charity, Music for Youth, the Schools Prom showcases some of the nation's most talented and inspirational young musicians and singers over three nights.
Hosted by Classic FM's Margherita Taylor and composer and music director, Stephen Deazley, a packed Royal Albert Hall was treated to almost three hours of breathtaking musical performances from youngsters as young as primary school age, right through to 18.
The Gloucestershire Massed Ensemble provided an awesome spectacle as the lights rose on a darkened Royal Albert Hall stage following the half-time interval.
Performing The Journey - a piece of music written by local composer Philip Harper which is based on the story of Dick Whittington - the young singers and musicians sounded "absolutely phenomenal", according to parents.
Tim Pellatt, the parent of choir member and Year Nine Barnwood Park pupil Katie Pellatt, said: "What an unforgettable evening. I cannot believe how fantastic all the young performers were.
"If you closed your eyes during the finale, you would truly believe you were listening to the Royal Philharmonic. They were absolutely outstanding.
"We should be very proud as a nation of this next generation of musical talent.
"Tonight is proof that we have some truly fabulous young musicians, and it's great that Music for Youth is showcasing their talents in such a fantastic way.
"The Royal Albert Hall is an iconic venue. My daughter will never forget the night she sang on stage here. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Head of Gloucestershire Music, Malcolm Pollock, said: "On behalf of Gloucestershire Music I would like to thank all the young peopleand staff who were involved in Wednesday night's tremendous performance.
"Thiswas an unforgettable experience for all concerned. Gloucestershire Music as leader of Make Music Gloucestershire [the county's music hub] will continue to
work with partners locally and nationally to ensure young people can take part in high-level, large-scale musical performances in the future."
Pictures in tomorrow's edition of The Citizen