|Type of post:||Orchestra news item|
|Posted By:||Suzi Mackenzie|
|Date Posted:||Wed, 7 Jun 2023|
On Sunday 25th June, 50 members of the Bristol Reggae Orchestra (BRO) and Windrush Choir will be opening the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
Invited to perform by the Eavis family, the Bristol-based community Orchestra and Choir will celebrate the Black British contribution to the UK conveying Windrush stories, through original and classic reggae music, in a 30 minute set.
“We are honoured to have been asked to perform at this prestigious festival and for the platform to celebrate multiple generations of Caribbean people who have given so much to the society we live in today - we’ve planned a fantastic show, looking forward to sharing it with the Glastonbury community” Rebecca Scott, Orchestra Leader
We believe this is the first time a reggae orchestra and choir have performed together on the Pyramid. It is the first formal concert for the BRO collective since their sold-out debut at Bristol Beacon in Oct 2022.
Choir Director, Orgena Rose says “I am incredibly honoured to be leading and singing with this historic choir to acknowledge and pay tribute to the people of the Windrush generation. Music is a perfect way to celebrate their legacy as it is a universal language and afro caribbean music, especially, reminds us that we are One Love, and have the power to change our lives and change our world.”
Bristol Reggae Orchestra and Windrush Choir open the stage at 11am. Visit Bristol Reggae Orchestra website and social media to follow the adventure as we prepare for this incredible show. See you there!
Notes to editors
Mark Simmons and Michael Lloyd (photo copyright labelled individually)
Mark Simmons’ historical work
Bristol Reggae Orchestra
Bristol Reggae Orchestra (BRO) registered charity number 1180167 was established as a community group in 2010. We are the only community-based reggae orchestra in the UK and have a unique combination of instruments and skills. BRO has created new musical fusions working with other migrant communities and refugees and successfully engaged thousands of local people through active participation and performance. Our Patron is Gary Crosby OBE, a British jazz double bassist, composer, music arranger, and educator.
BRO was established to reach out to diverse communities living in Bristol, extending opportunities for music-making to excluded groups while creating high quality creative outputs and inclusive performances. We have worked with a range of local partners including Malcolm X Community Centre, St Agnes Church, St Paul’s Carnival, Bristol Beacon, St George’s Bristol, UWE and national partners including The Southbank Centre. We perform regularly for the Malcolm X Elders groups in participative events and are well known for the ‘feelgood’ factor that we create for all participants and audiences.
We have a strong track record. We premiered Kim Moore’s ‘Edgelands’ at St Georges, Bristol with groups from local schools (broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 2014). Evaluation research undertaken by Winchester University reported on our achievements in using music to educate, connect, foster wellbeing and broaden awareness of the contributions made by British Caribbean communities. We received an EPIC Award granted in 2016 in recognition of our work with disadvantaged groups and we have been cited by the US Department of Arts and Culture as an exemplar organisation for community music-making.
Rebecca Scott - Bristol Reggae Orchestra Leader
Rebecca Scott heads up Orchestra operations. She has been a Clarinetist in Bristol Reggae Orchestra for 13 years. Rebecca also provides the vocals on her own composition, ‘A Better Man’ which will be performed at Glastonbury.
Ben Jenkins - Bristol Reggae Orchestra Musical Director
Ben is a musician and theatre director based in Bristol. He has worked as a pianist at the Royal Ballet School and on productions at the Tobacco Factory and the Bristol Old Vic. He is co-musical director for the Gasmen Collective and musical director of the Bristol Reggae Orchestra.
In summer 2022 Bristol Reggae Orchestra launched the Bristol Windrush Reggae Choir, led by Orgena Rose. Our multicultural, secular choir perform songs reflecting the entire Afro-Caribbean diaspora and our inaugural performance was held at Bristol Beacon. We raised the roof at the Malcolm X Centre in the winter and joined Sing Out Bristol as they celebrated their 15th anniversary at St George’s Hall as the first of this year’s exciting shows. In our first performances with the orchestra the audience got to their feet and sang with us from the first song to the last. We felt the power that music and the voice brings which helps to create connections and break down barriers and, based on people’s smiles and the feedback we received, bring healing to our diverse community. In an age of division, harmony is the gift our choir want to share, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain this year.
Orgena Rose - Windrush Choir Director
Orgena Rose is an award winning, dynamic, powerhouse vocalist, composer, music director, voice coach, TV host, playwright, best selling author, and the first online Entertainment Producer. She has over 25 years in the arts and entertainment and highlights of her career include: appearances on Broadway, Carnegie Hall, international tours, movies, OPRAH, Today, Conan, PBS and the BBC. She has inspired and uplifted hundreds of thousands sharing her voice, speaking and conducting her rapid voice transformation workshops internationally helping others to find their voice and sing their soul song.