500 children from 20 schools sing together at Union Chapel, North London

On the 3rd May a group of 17 of our girls from years 4, 5 and 6 joined 500 children from 20 schools across north London and beyond to take over Union Chapel in Islington and sing at the Independent Schools Association’s first North London music festival. The children, aged from 7 to 14, came from as far afield as Essex, Bedford and Milton Keynes.

Accompanied by musicians on drums, piano, violin and double bass, they performed Vivaldi’s Gloria and Songs for the Seasons, a cycle of nine songs by the composer and renowned jazz musician Scott Stroman. They were conducted by the composer himself, giving them a unique insight into how his pieces were intended to be performed.

Scott Stroman said:

“What a thrill and challenge it is for me to make music with young voices! I like to create music that is engaging and fun for both me and them, with twists and turns and plenty of depth. I always hope to send them away full of happiness and inspired to keep making music together…but in truth it is always me who gets the most inspiration.

“I’ve never forgotten the thrill of discovering music through singing when I was young, and I try to reconnect with that feeling every time I make music with and for young people. Union Chapel is a great place to do it and we all had a blast!”

Emma Gowers, Principal of The Gower School in Islington, and organiser of the event said:

“This should be one of the events from their schooldays that the children will treasure and remember for the rest of their lives.

“Singing together in such a large combined choir, with an orchestra and live musicians, is a fantastic experience. They have been working since Christmas to learn the music at their schools and have been very excited about it. On the day they learned and developed their musical skills and experience together, as well as performing. It was wonderful to hear them fill the historic and unique space in Union Chapel.”

Neil Roskilly, Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Association, said:

“The Independent Schools Association is a strong believer in the importance of the arts in a broad and balanced curriculum. We are grateful to Emma Gowers, Principal of the Gower School and the ISA London North team for putting on this exciting musical event at Union Chapel for the pupils of our Members’ schools.

Our girls remained focussed throughout the long day of rehearsals and were amongst only one or two schools able to perform without the need for the words, which showed how hard they had worked with Mr Bluck to prepare. Well done!

Some of year 4 have summed up the trip for us.

On the trip to the Music Festival, I had fun because I liked when people played the musical instruments. I also liked when we had lunch in the park too. It was nice!


Finally, the day came when years 4, 5 and 6 got to go the Music Festival. I was so excited I just couldn’t wait! We travelled by coach to Islington. At last we reached the vast and grand Union Chapel. There were loads of other children from other schools at the festival as well. I could tell it was going to be a noisy concert. As I went into the main hall of the Chapel, I thought what an amazing opportunity I had got to sing there.

We then practised all the songs we had been singing with Mr Bluck for months. My favourite song is Frosty Morning. We got to have lunch outside in a garden which was great. After lunch the concert started. We had an orchestra which was wonderful and made us sound great! We had so many songs to sing and after that I knew I could be a popstar. My friends and I really enjoyed the festival and best of all we all got a badge. Thank you teachers for taking us.