Brixton Chamber Orchestra to hold Christmas Estates Tour in Lambeth

Brixton Chamber Orchestra (BCO) will hold a free Christmas tour of Lambeth housing estates this month.

It will be the orchestra’s fourth Christmas tour starting on Thursday 9 December and finishing on Sunday 19 December.

The orchestra is a registered charity that aims to bring the community together through music.

Silas Armstrong, BCO’s marketing and development manager, said: “We started doing this four years ago now and everything we do is about trying to bring music to the community for free, and trying to reach people who otherwise might not get the chance to witness a live orchestra or live musicians in the same space.

“It’s about bringing the music to them on their terms and on their turf.”

This will be the 22-piece orchestra’s biggest Christmas tour yet and there will be 15 performances across two weeks.

Special guest singers and rappers will take part in the tour including Lambeth born rapper Choze.

The performances will cover Christmas music, classical, rap and soul.

Silas added: “We’re all massive fans of hip hop and grime, pop, rock, disco and gospel, so part of the inspiration behind making such an eclectic set is that it draws people in and helps to break down barriers.

“We might start a set with a well known Kanye West song that draws people in and then the next song is a piece by Mozart that they might not have heard or maybe something more familiar that is classical so the set list is always very up and down.

“It ebbs and flows between different genres and I think what’s really nice is people come for the music they know and they stay for the music they don’t know so it’s about educating people and discovery, discovering new music that they might not otherwise have chosen to listen to.”

MUSICAL SUPPORT: Viola player Natalia Senior-Brown who regularly plays with Jorja Smith and Bastille at the BCO Supporters fundraiser in November

The Christmas tour will be in locations across Lambeth including Stockwell and Clapham North and each performance will be an hour long.

From Thursdays to Sundays there will usually be two shows per day – one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

Silas said that in summer the orchestra played a grime orchestrated show as a one off and they will be doing this show again as last time there were many kids, parents, families and grandparents who loved it.

He said: “Seeing grandparents dancing to grime is quite a spectacle and it does the same thing as breaking down barriers.

“A lot of rappers came down because they just wanted the opportunity to perform with a live orchestra. How often does that happen?”

The orchestra’s grime orchestrated show is on Youtube.

He explained that the Christmas Estates Tour is kind of the birth of the orchestra and bringing people together through music is a big part of what the orchestra does as well as being true to their roots as all of the musicians live in or around Brixton.

The Christmas tour is supported by Arts Council England, Lambeth Council and Brixton Brewery.

Find out more information about it here.

Brixton Chamber Orchestra relies on donations and fundraising to keep providing free music to the community.

Visit their website to make a donation.

Photo Credit: Valeria Luongo

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