Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the Tower of London, in partnership with musical charity Water City Music, invited more than 60 schools to perform within the infamous fortresses’ walls at its Water City Music at the Tower event, which took place from 11th – 17th June 2018. Inspired by the Tower’s rich history, more than 1600 children, from local London boroughs, entertained visitors with their lyrical and musical talent.
Young musicians, singers and poets brought the Tower’s historical past as a fortress, tower and prison to life in a number of themed compositions. Students performed a mix of existing pieces along with their own compositions inspired by the Tower, which has housed famous prisoners such as Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes, as well as being home to the Crown Jewels.
The students filled the tower walls with music in a variety of styles including hip-hop, rap, pop, rock and classical. It was a momentous occasion, offering students the chance to step outside of the classroom and experience one of London’s most historical landmarks in a way that many of them would never imagine possible.
Lucie Parkes, former teacher and formal learning manager at Historic Royal Palaces, says:
“Music is a powerful tool to breathe life into historical figures and events, making it feel relevant for today’s young people. Despite being so local, many of the students who performed at the event have never visited the Tower before. Water City Music at the Tower is a brilliant way to connect school aged children to their local community and their city’s past. Many of the schools taking part come from London boroughs where the child poverty rate is amongst the highest in the country and so, ultimately, we hope the event has a lasting effect on pupil’s self-confidence, sense of belonging and motivation to practise and perform music.”
Meredith Clements, teacher at Kensington Primary School, who brought her Year 5 class to perform at this year’s Music at the Tower event, says:
“I teach children in a London borough with high rates of poverty. Many of my students and their families would never have the opportunity to visit somewhere like the Tower of London. This is a fantastic event, which brings many benefits to the children. Music and performance is key to giving children confidence, resilience and adaptability. All wonderful skills that support success in the classroom.”