Nottingham Music Hub’s flagship ensemble – Robin Hood Youth Orchestra (RHYO) – has not let lockdown stop them from creating an amazing performance. The orchestra, made up of over 70 under 18s from the city centre, have rehearsed and worked hard to create one of the Hub’s greatest lockdown achievements to date, a digital rendition of ‘Kopanica’ – a fabulous piece of traditional Bulgarian dance music.
In the New year, when the RHYO members originally started learning the piece, it was to be performed at the annual Great Orchestra Experiment, one of the events that Nottingham Music Hub organise for children from across the city. Over 31 schools regularly take part in the event, all bringing their own instruments to accompany the main professional orchestra. RHYO were also hoping to perform a ‘flash mob’ of in Nottingham Market Square. Sadly, the current situation has meant that none of this can happen.
However, RHYO students from across the city didn’t want to miss their chance to perform and took up the challenge of creating a virtual orchestra performance instead. Their enthusiasm and dedication is evident and shines through in this accomplished and energetic traditional piece; ‘Kopanica’ is guaranteed to lift your spirts!
Not only was this ambitious project a positive and engaging way forward for these young musicians but their focus and dedication has been rewarded with a response from the international musical community. Sheku Kanneh-Mason was quick to send a video message of support to the students, available to view on the Music Hub’s Twitter feed, a wonderful acknowledgement of their achievement which meant a lot to those learning such a complex piece from home. The scale of the performance has attracted an international response, with student orchestras from across Europe contacting the Music Hub to for advice on how to achieve such a polished outcome when rehearsing and performing together online.
The piece is played in the very tricky time signature of 11/16 – meaning that there are 11 beats to each musical bar – giving this dance tune its very special rhythmic off-beat groove. The score was arranged and orchestrated specially for RHYO by Nottingham Music Hub CEO Ian Burton, who took inspiration from Balkan music groups in the UK and beyond.
Ian spoke of his happiness at how well the players were able to adapt to this unique situation and also of the fabulous work of the Hub’s Staff ‘their resilience is amazing, this is the culmination of a lot of hard work from musicians across our city: it is so inspirational to see what we can achieve when we work together’.
This triumph is the result of a tremendous effort from the Music Service students and Staff alike. Within a week of the Hub’s notification to move their staff to home based positions and online tuition, most of the provision run by the charity had been rethought into digital form. RHYO like many others had to rehearse digitally if they were to continue their work together, quite a challenge with over 70 members to coordinate!
The Premiere of this work will be at 1pm on the 6th May, but if you miss that don’t worry, it will be available to watch on their YouTube channel. Join in their celebrations and show your support by heading to Nottingham Music Hub’s channel to stream this after May 6th.
Fantastic work Robin Hood Youth Orchestra – the sky is the limit for the students and staff of Nottingham Music Hub!