Schools join forces to perform Zimbe!

March 26 2018
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Two concerts were held at Orchard School in March where over 300 children from local primary schools performed Alexander L’Estrange’s Zimbe!

Two concerts were held at Orchard School in March where over 300 children from local primary schools performed Alexander L’Estrange’s Zimbe! 

The event was brought together by Bristol Choral Society in collaboration with Laurie Steward from Bristol Plays Music, and involved eight local schools, Orchard School, St Teresas RC Primary, Little Mead Primary School, Stoke Park Primary, Fonthill Primary, Filton Avenue Primary, Glenfrome Primary, Upper Horfield Primary and Horfield C of E Primary.

Zimbe! is a sequence of choral arrangements of traditional songs from all over Africa in a jazz style. This is a work which forges links between adult choirs and massed children’s choirs, placing singing at the heart of the community as it always has been in Africa.  

The audience were greeted with authentic drumming from boys from Orchard School’s drumming group who also started the concert with a final display of very talented beating.

The main performance was truly spellbinding. From the haunting gospel cry “Njooni! Zimbe! Nyimbo za  Afrika” (Come sing songs of Africa) through a very moving rendition of Thula Mama, Thula, Hush Mama (Xhosa lullaby for mothers of imprisoned sons) with the children’s voices and the jazz quintet coming into their own. 

By the time the last movement came “Hamba vangeli” (Freedom is coming) the whole audience were clapping in time with the choir and band. 

Sharon Crawford from Bristol Choral Society attended the Wednesday evening performance and said: “I was impressed not only by the quality of the singing by the children and Bristol Choral Society, but also by the slick management of what must have been well over 100 children by their teachers and by Hilary Campbell, the musical director of the Choral Society and the conductor for the concerts. The children certainly stole the show.”