The Choir: Our School by the Tower
KAA on the BBC
Last year, students from KAA took part in a very special (and top secret!) project, in advance of their return home to the school building at the base of the Grenfell Tower. At a difficult time for the school, and knowing how much of an impact music and the performing arts can have on students’ wellbeing, KAA Principal David Benson reached out to choirmaster and BBC star Gareth Malone to see if he could help.
Gareth accepted the invitation and joined KAA at their temporary portakabin home at Wormwood Scrubs during the summer term of 2018. Working with the existing school choir, which was small and very limited on rehearsal time and space, Gareth noticed that a number of the students had exceptional musical talent and started to formulate a plan. Rather than helping the choir learn and perform covers of existing songs, he set his sights higher and suggested a compilation of original songs written, composed and performed by the students.
With BBC cameras following their every move, the choir set about penning a tribute to their friends and fellow students who were lost in the Grenfell tragedy whilst also looking ahead to the future and their move back to their school building. What results is a moving and powerful 2-part documentary, entitled Our School by the Tower, which represents the courage and resilience of the students, their pride in their school and their community, and the power of performance.
The first episode, which aired on BBC2 on the 11th March 2019, followed Gareth as he helped the students write, produce and perform an assembly for their friends and staff at the school, whilst based at the portacabin school ‘KAA2’. In the emotional second episode, which aired on the 18th March 2019, the students return to their original school building and perform their powerful, self-penned songs for a paying audience.
KAA and the KAA Intrepidus Trust are so grateful to Gareth for all his work with our talented students. We believe that music education can all too easily be undervalued in the competing demands of a crowded school curriculum, yet music has enormous proven benefits for children – knock-on improvements in literacy and numeracy, as well as a vital boost in self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and discipline. Not to mention the simple joy of learning music for music’s sake, and the self expression that can be afforded through such a creative and unlimited discipline. The KAA Intrepidus Trust are committed to encouraging participation in music for all students, something that can only be achieved through support from our generous donors. Learn more, and find out how you can donate, here.