Olivia, Freya, Tom, Holly, Willoughby, Phoebe, Laura, David, Leah, William, Katy, Dovydas and Niall. Remember the names.
I get to work with all kinds of musicians. It’s one of the perks of the conductor’s job. But this Saturday promises to be a bit special.
Because this Saturday I get to work with Olivia, Freya, Tom, Holly, Willoughby, Phoebe, Laura, David, Leah, William, Katy, Dovydas and Niall (they’re so good I namechecked them twice).
They’ll be joining the London Phoenix Orchestra on the stage at Cadogan Hall for a performance of Eric Coates’ Dambusters March.
Not just any old performance. While we’re not looking for accreditation from The Guinness Book of Records, I’d be surprised if the piece has ever been played with a larger percussion section.
Olivia, Freya, Tom, Holly, Willoughby, Phoebe, Laura, David, Leah, William, Katy, Dovydas and Niall (one more time) are between 6 and 16 years old, and they all have hemiplegia. Word on the street, from colleagues who led a workshop/rehearsal with them at the weekend, is that they also have irrepressible energy and a penchant for cheekiness.
They should fit right in.
Hemiplegia is a condition that affects children in a similar way to a stroke, weakening one side of the body to varying degrees. For the one in a thousand children who have hemiplegia, there is no cure.
HemiHelp is the charity that provides support for children with hemiplegia and their families. Saturday’s is their 10th ‘Children Helping Children’ concert.
You might not have heard of HemiHelp. I hadn’t. With the profusion of charities in this country, some of them very prominent, it sometimes seems as if a charity has to shout ever louder to get noticed. But HemiHelp, without making a fuss, does extraordinary work for extraordinary people. Please spread the word. Shout, if you need to.
You can buy tickets for the concert here.
You can learn more about hemiplegia and HemiHelp here.
While you’re there, give them some money. They need and deserve it.