In July 2017, Newham Music worked with the Roma Bridging Sounds Orchestra (RBSO) on a recording session at the famous Abbey Road studios. This amazing opportunity was made possible thanks to a £750 Small Grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation.
The Roma Bridging Sounds Orchestra has been running since 2015, and is founded on the mission of integrating Roma student musicians, who often learn music from their family rather than from any formal training. Since then the group have evolved and grown together as one all-encompassing orchestra, and they have performed at prestigious venues such as the Water City Festival at the Tower of London and the Barbican. Last year, the Jack Petchey Foundation helped to inspire and motivate the students by enabling them to compete in Birmingham at the ‘Music for Youth’ regional series. Through this, they won the partnership award with the Birmingham Conservatoire, giving them the chance to perform at the ‘Music for Youth’ Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2016.
The Roma community is highly marginalised and it is quite rare for them to be given a formal opportunity to be part of a functioning orchestra, let alone a recording session at such a prestigious venue as Abbey Road studios. The recording session boosted their confidence greatly, knowing that their input and their work is supported. It also gave them insight into how a recording studio works and what is expected of them when they are recording a piece of music. They were also able to keep their recording as a souvenir, which represents all of their hard work and what the orchestra has achieved since it started two years ago.
The funding was used to pay for the external costs of the trip such as food, travel and the transportation of a double bass from the station to the recording studio.
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