Performing a range of pieces, from Beethoven movements to Michael Jackson pop songs, nearly 100 Ark students gathered together recently for a three-day residential music programme.
Ten Ark schools participated in the event, which brought together singers from Ark’s "Spark" mass choir and instrumentalists from Ark’s "Fusion" ensemble.
The students were paired with Ark’s "artists-in-residence," professional musicians and singers, who taught them new techniques and new songs. The residential culminated in a 45 minute, live concert where all of the pupils were put to task, performing pieces that they had learned.
"The intensity and immersion of a residential programme really accelerates the progress of our musicians," says Ark's Director of Music, Bryan Welton. "But there are also bigger things we’re trying to achieve through music. This weekend is about community building and developing social skills and confidence. The music needs to be excellent, but the students here are learning to support each other, look out for each other and celebrate each other’s success."
"Music gives me a chance to express myself without using words," says Atifa, a 16 year old pianist and violinist from Ark King Solomon Academy in London. "At this residential, they challenge us – they make us play solos just to test us. It has boosted my confidence a lot."
Caitlin, a 16 year old singer from Ark Burlington Danes Academy said: "Performing music makes you stand out – it makes you into a different kind of person. Our teachers here really look after us, they make us feel confident and help us to improve."
Listen to one of our student performances below:
The annual music residential is part of Ark’s music programme and is open, cost-free, to all students participating in the Spark choir or Fusion music ensemble.