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Royal Albert Hall joins forces with Armonico Consort to give thousands of children a once in a lifetime opportunity

9 November, 2012

Armonico Consort and the Royal Albert Hall are pleased to announce their massed gala concert on 10 March 2013 providing children from choirs around the UK the opportunity to perform at the iconic London venue.

Members of AC Academies from across the UK will unite to create a musically-charged spectacular with over 1500 young voices all trained under the guidance of Armonico Consort. The concert will be a celebration of music from all cultures in a programme entitled ‘Around the World in 18 Tunes!

Since 2002, Armonico Consort has been working across the UK with its education programme - the AC Academy - creating children’s choirs both in and out of school.  Its choir creation project sees teachers - of all disciplines - nationwide given training to become choir leaders by top quality music professionals, with the aim of leaving a truly lasting legacy. Over 100,000 children have so far benefited from its free outreach programme, and the Academy's mission is to create new choirs with sustainable leadership consisting of over 50,000 members during the next 5 years.

The partnership, which began in 2009, has enabled the AC Academy network to expand significantly, attracting significant support from Arts Council England, Youth Music and major grant-making trusts across the UK. It has been concentrating on areas where there is a desperate need for life-affirming experiences such as this .These include the boroughs of Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets in London, Telford and Wrekin and Coventry in the West Midlands. Every week, over 800 children sing in an AC Academy Choir somewhere in the UK.

This partnership with Armonico Consort is further endorsement of the Royal Albert Hall’s on-going commitment in providing innovative and inclusive music education programmes for all. The Hall has just been made a strategic partner by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music hubs in developing how musical education is taught within its borough and surrounding areas and is already a major sponsor of Music for Youth throughout the country. It continues to grow in its commitment to play a key role in the cultural life of the UK in engaging with partners to champion youth music and support young people who might otherwise have little opportunity to experience live performance or visit the Hall.

Artistic Director of Armonico Consort, Christopher Monks said, ‘We have had an extraordinary take up of these opportunities in every area, but particularly where experiences like this are not readily available. I am often amazed by the reports and evaluations I receive - from parents, teachers and children alike. I find many of the stories extremely moving. One of our most unexpected and unintentional successes is that children who live in challenging areas stand and sing side by side with those from private schools – as a team, singing with the same technique, the same music, as friends.’

Lucy Noble, Head of Programming and Education at the Royal Albert Hall said, ‘One of our key aims as a charity is to offer access and opportunity in the arts, championing groups who might otherwise not experience live performance or visit the Hall. I am delighted to be partnering with Amonico Consort, whose aims are aligned with the Hall and do some amazing work in providing valuable music education across the UK. The concert is bound to be inspirational and a great opportunity for these choirs to perform on the world’s most famous stage.’ 

Jamie* lives in a deprived area of Telford. His teachers noticed a marked improvement in his behaviour and attitude when he joined AC Academy. One of his teachers commented 'Jamie is growing up surrounded by terrible domestic violence. Working with Armonico Consort's AC Academy has helped to develop his confidence and self-esteem in a way that no expert has managed before. He now joins in with most things at school and is less disruptive. AC Academy has been able to give him hope and a passion for life - something which very few other people have been able to do.'

Sarah* joined AC Academy just after she had recently been taken into foster care in Coventry. Her parents attended the most recent AC Academy concert, reuniting the family again for the first time since she'd been taken into care. Sarah no longer attends AC Academy Coventry because she has since moved back in with her parents. Her foster carer made the following statement about the impact the choir had on Sarah: 'With regards to the AC Academy and what it has done for Sarah, considering what she has been through, the choir is very much a welcome distraction. Most of the time she carries the weight of the world on her little shoulders but when it's time for AC Academy choir she can switch off & enjoy herself for that hour & a half and have a great time. The Academy guarantees a smile & she always looks forward to it every Wednesday.’

In a programme celebrating music from all corners of the globe, AC Academy and the Royal Albert Hall unite an equally diverse group of children on one of the world's most famous stages, in what promises to be a truly unforgettable experience. 

*All names have been changed


Listings Information:
Around the World in 18 Tunes!
Sunday 10 March, 5pm
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP
Tickets £4.50 - £12.50 (for family and friends purchased through Armonico) £11.50- £21.50 (purchased through the Royal Albert Hall Box Office-booking fees apply) Royal Albert Hall Box Office 020 7589 8212 

For more information, call Felicity Green at Armonico Consort on 01926 800109 ex. 5 or or for the Royal Albert Hall contact Sean Carrigan on 020 7959 0531/ mailto: or Nicola Hamilton at Good Relations on 020 7861 3189/ 

Photographs available upon request.

Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state-of-the-art small-scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.

Armonico Consort
Armonico Consort is the largest arts organisation of its type in the UK, with its choir, orchestra and opera company performing unique programmes and finding new ways to bring classical music to modern audiences.

The proudest achievement of Armonico Consort in the last 11 years is the foundation of AC Academy – a fully accessible and interactive education programme which has benefited over 100,000 young people, and currently sees over 800 children sing in an AC Academy Choir every week across the UK. In projects which see teachers trained as choir leaders, and choir creation programmes in school – the intention of AC Academy is to create new choirs with sustainable leadership consisting of over 50,000 over the next 5 years.

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