City Lit Percussion Orchestra is an ensemble for adults with learning disabilities led by Percussion Orchestra Coordinator, Alex Thomas. The group rehearse and perform alongside Royal Academy of Music students. City Lit participants all have recognised instrumental ability, with many members of the group having perfect pitch and recall. The class focuses on performance skills on percussion instruments as well as encouraging individual and group compositions, culminating in high-quality performances.

On Wednesday 30 November, the group were visited by Jules Pipe, the Deputy Mayor of London, who watched a performance featuring Academy students (watch it here) and presented City Lit with the Mayor of London Adult Learning Award for Inclusive Provider of Adult Education. Later that day, the group held their termly celebration concert, showcasing a range of works including compositions written by members of the orchestra and former Academy students.

Alongside regular sessions at City Lit, in November Open Academy invited the Percussion Orchestra to visit the Academy and watch a rehearsal led by the Academy’s Henry Wood Chair of Conducting, John Wilson. Alex Thomas commented “for many of the students the rehearsal of John Adams’s Harmonielehre, conducted by John Wilson, was a first experience of how orchestral music is taken apart and looked at in detail, and for all it was a unique and wonderful experience.”

Open Academy is looking forward to continuing to work with City Lit Percussion Orchestra for the rest of the academic year.

Photo Credit: The City Lit Percussion Orchestra alongside Open Academy students. Alex Thomas, Percussion Orchestra Coordinator, pictured right