Chineke! at the CBeebies Proms!

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Chineke! Orchestra were invited to perform at the 2019 CBeebies edition of the Proms along with musicians of the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, BBC Singers and youth choirs!

Conducted by Kwamé Ryan and supported by a host of CBeebies presenters, Chineke! performed repertoire that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Among the pieces was the world premiere of Hans Zimmer’s new work Earth, meant to evoke a view of our planet as seen from the moon. The composer was present in the audience to witness the premiere.

We were thrilled with the response to the two concerts (Prom 3 & 5 on Sunday 21st & Monday 22nd July), with parents and children alike reacting with wonder at the combined spectacle of the music, animation, light show and their favourite TV presenters.

We loved the prom today - it was really wonderful, particularly the Hans Zimmer piece - 3yo was awestruck and said 'it's very beautiful'!

Writing in The Guardian, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE said:

When Chineke! was asked to consider playing this year’s two CBeebies Prom concerts, the question was posed with a touch of trepidation: the programmers were familiar with orchestras being a bit sniffy at being asked to play a Prom aimed at children aged two to six. Our response was absolutely the opposite. Those young people are tomorrow’s audiences – and their parents would be there too. We grabbed the offer with both hands. Chineke! could be the first live music experience for many in that audience of 13,000, and therefore what they see becomes the norm: a completely diverse orchestra. We played those two CBeebies Proms last week and every single person in the auditorium had a blast.

You can listen back to the whole concert on BBC Sounds, and the televised performance will air on Saturday 14 September 2019.

REVIEWS

The Zimmer premiere was the indisputable highlight of a generally well-pitched and spirited programme, which scattered a few horizon-broadeners among kid-concert standards from Handel, Puccini and Britten. In line with the Apollo 11 anniversary, the theme was ‘Off to the Moon’, and a loose space-travel storyline strung everything together, with each section of the orchestra providing a valuable resource for the mission (brass was bravery, percussion power, and so on). This entailed a well-received cameo, with live slide whistle, from the Clangers – who, like the moon landing, are celebrating their half-centenary – and also an enormous space rocket that rose up from the middle of the arena at a pivotal moment, engulfing the Promenaders in a cloud of dry ice.
— Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
The BBC Ten Pieces Project aims to introduce young people aged seven to fourteen to classical music through films, lesson plans and live events. This Prom was stimulating, sometimes uplifting and hugely enjoyable. At the close as Ryan and Chineke! Orchestra swung into a rip-roaring version of the Fugue from Britten’s Purcell-inspired Variations, better-known as Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a perfect introduction to the world of concert-going.
— Brian Barford, Classical Source
Despite being a Prom designed for children as young as babies, the repertoire was not easy: Chineke! tackled John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” in a startling, rousing rendition, as a giant rocket took off in a cloud of smoke, in the middle of the prommers. All the way through, Chineke! showed off their formidable energy and musicianship.
— The Prickle