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700 musicians aged 4-70 unite from around world for virtual performance of Disney track

5 months ago

ABRSM unites nations for June 21st Make Music Day

More than 700 musicians, from infant school pupils to retirees, will be united virtually from around the world this weekend for an online performance of the Disney song, ‘How Far I’ll Go’, to mark international Make Music Day 2020 on Sunday 21st June.

The novel performance has been created by music education charity, ABRSM, and will feature musicians from more than 20 countries including Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Switzerland and the UK.

The 712 musicians answered an appeal by ABRSM to create and submit recordings of the song, featured in the soundtrack of the Disney film, Moana, and performed the track on everything from traditional orchestral instruments to chime bars, ukuleles and bass guitar.

ABRSM chief executive Michael Elliott said: “We were only expecting a hundred or so people to send in recordings but we’ve been bowled over by the sheer number of submissions, their quality and the range of nations that they represent.

“The variety of ages, from four-years-old to over 70, is equally impressive. It just seems that the idea has really caught people’s imagination and provided a timely reminder of the power of music and music learning in bringing communities together.”

Make Music Day is the world’s biggest international celebration of music, taking place in 125 countries on 21 June every year. It is a DIY festival encouraging people to organise live streamed music events for their communities.

ABRSM itself works in more than 90 countries, delivering graded music exams and support for musicians to progress, and it provided a click track for musicians to play along to and a choice of 42 different parts all created by ABRSM Examiner Russell Hepplewhite.

Russell, a composer of musical theatre and opera, said: “"I created several parts for some of the most popular instruments to cater for different skill levels, but it's been wonderful to see how others have taken a flexible approach. 

“Some of the brass players used a mixture of the parts available to them to make their own brilliantly unique arrangements, and some of the Hong Kong submissions creatively adapted the percussion part to play it on the chime bars."

The 712 recordings have been edited together by ABRSM and will be available to watch online as a single performance part of Make Music Day on Sunday June 21st.

Michael Elliott said: “We’ve been supporting teachers, parents and learners with our Play On initiative over the past few months. The virtual ensemble is an extension of the same commitment to keep everyone playing and progressing.”

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