Last Sunday, James Rose made his debut as a conductor at the BBC Proms. A group of nine of us went along from Drake Music – some of the staff team and our friends. Three of our party had never been to The Proms before, including my friend’s six year old son. We all had the most fantastic afternoon, and with the event being a ‘relaxed’ Prom, it was great to see so many disabled people and families with young children attending and taking part. James Redwood was a brilliant host – he was superb at encouraging everyone to join in. Even Mr Tumbles from CBeebies turned up at the end (at which point, the six year old’s jaw hit the floor).
The highlight for the Drake Music party was witnessing James conduct his inclusive BSO Resound ensemble. They brought to life a magical new composition by Alexander Campkin, as the ensemble performed the second movement of ‘Trembling, Hoping, Lingering, Flying’ with exquisite execution. On and off, I have personally been involved with Drake Music since the mid-1990s, and I could not help but be moved as this concert made me reflect on what I have observed of the journey that Disabled musicians have travelled in such a short space of time. From early innovations with keyboards and big cumbersome computers in classrooms and concert halls in the 1990s, to see James and his ensemble last weekend on the same playing field as major international orchestras was a truly game-changing moment and one I shall personally never forget.
James’s conducting baton has been developed in collaboration with Gawain and Luis from our team and you can read more about that here. Since then, James has been developing his conducting skills and experience with the support of the Royal Academy of Music and he is now a Changemaker at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, where he has established the BSO Resound ensemble.
You can hear the whole Prom here. James Rose and the BSO Resound ensemble are introduced at 18:28 and this radio broadcast is available until 26th September 2018. It’s a brilliant and highly enjoyable concert – take a listen!