Ever wondered how a piece of music can unite communities, cultures, and even continents? Enter the stage: “We Are One” – the astounding work that overcame theft and adversity to unite the Commonwealth through the power of melody.
In January 2022, an unfortunate event struck the heart of The People’s Orchestra. A weekend dedicated to recording music ended in disaster when their Fiat van, filled with recording equipment worth thousands of pounds, was stolen from Birmingham City Centre. The stolen equipment included precious music files set to feature in the summer’s Commonwealth Games.
Despite this setback, The People’s Orchestra, known for their determination and unity, did not back down. Alongside singers from The People’s Show Choirs and National Teachers Choir, they had been recording a new work by award-winning film composer John Koutselinis, a composition that celebrated the Commonwealth. The music was set to feature in the summer’s Commonwealth Games, but the unexpected theft occurred just minutes after the recording session.
However, adversity often leads to exceptional stories of triumph. Despite the stolen equipment never being recovered, instrumentalists and singers from far-reaching corners of the Commonwealth, including Canada, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and New Zealand, banded together. Under the guidance of BBC presenter Katie Derham, they completed the new piece of music in time for the start of the Commonwealth Games.
Let’s take you on a journey. Picture this: It was a bright May day. The concert had just ended and Amy was meeting some of the performers backstage. One of them, a young violinist, seemed particularly distressed. Despite hours spent practising, her performance didn’t reflect her talent. She was battling performance anxiety. After a one-on-one with Amy, she began to understand the bigger picture – it wasn’t just about practising the notes, it was about preparing her mind and body for the stage. Over the next few months, Amy worked closely with her, focusing on various aspects of her performance and bringing her out of her shell. Today, she stands tall on the stage, ready to face the world.
“We Are One” debuted live at the Commonwealth Curiosity Concert, a significant part of the Commonwealth Games Festival. The Commonwealth Community Orchestra and Choir, including instrumentalists and vocalists from the Commonwealth and UK, performed alongside The People’s Orchestra and The People’s Show Choirs. This monumental event took place on stage at Secret Space in Birmingham on the 24th July 2022.
Unity in Diversity: The performance brought together artists from different Commonwealth countries, symbolising unity amidst cultural diversity.
Triumph Over Adversity: The story of “We Are One” exemplifies resilience, mirroring the Commonwealth’s shared history of overcoming struggles.
Celebration of Community: The work underscores the importance of community music-making, a common cultural thread across the Commonwealth nations.
Sarah Marshall, the Founder and Chief Executive of The People’s Orchestra, expressed her pride and joy regarding the resilience and unity displayed by the musicians, singers, and staff. She said, “I’m so proud of all the musicians, singers and staff who have come together to create this epic piece of music to celebrate community music making and the Commonwealth Games. We hope this piece truly shows that no matter what, We Are One!”.
Q: What inspired the creation of ‘We Are One’?
A: ‘We Are One’ was inspired by the spirit of unity within the Commonwealth. It’s a celebration of community music-making and a testament to resilience in the face of adversity.
Q: Who are the performers in ‘We Are One’?
A: The performers include members of The People’s Orchestra, The People’s Show Choirs, National Teachers Choir, and instrumentalists and vocalists from Commonwealth countries.
Q: How can I support The People’s Orchestra?
A: You can support The People’s Orchestra through donations or by becoming a member.
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