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News14th July 2020

Ark students embrace the carnival spirit in lockdown music medley

Schools from across the Ark network have created a music video featuring students and alumni to celebrate the end of the school year and showcases the joy and creativity of Soca music.

Ark Music usually hosts an annual Gala concert at the Barbican Centre – bringing together hundreds of students from Ark’s 37 schools to perform for their friends and family. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer’s concert had to be postponed.

This year’s planned Gala finale piece was a Soca medley, arranged by artists Chanté Faucher and Sam Dubois by fusing together three Trinidadian carnival classics, which has now been used in the video. The positive message of these empowering anthems is a perfect way to bring everyone together through music and dance, capturing the carnival spirit virtually.

The project began at the end of May with a series of online rehearsals with choirs and ensembles from the Ark network.

With support from their teachers and Ark’s Artists in Residence, more than 350 students learned the music at home, in Ark’s Community Classrooms and in their year group bubbles back at school.

Students from a wide range of musical backgrounds and experience were encouraged to join in. They learned to sing the song, play instrumental parts, dance to choreography, or drum along using body percussion or pots and pans from their home kitchen – one student even created a BSL version of the whole song. Students recorded themselves in their homes, sometimes accompanied by family members (and pets!), while staff in schools filmed in classrooms and playgrounds. The footage and audio recordings were brought together to create the final video, which you can watch here.

Margaret O’Shea, Ark’s Director of Music, said: “Music and the arts are vital, particularly in challenging times. Music has the power to build creativity, increase confidence and boost motivation. Through music-making we can celebrate both individuality and the power of community, and I’m inspired by the students who engaged so enthusiastically with this project, creating an uplifting and joyful message to end the school year.

“I’m so proud that this project has united students from across our network of schools through their love of music, singing and dance.”

Ark Music is hugely grateful to the artists who gave permission to use the following music for the video:

• Nadia Batson – Cyah Change
• Aaron Duncan – Can You Feel It
• Kes – Savannah Grass

The team would also like to thank producer Shammi Pithia and filmmaker Scott Jaworski for creating the video.