This orchestra works with the homeless at Christmas

This orchestra works with the homeless at Christmas


norman lebrecht

December 20, 2011

The church of St Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square has a long history of helping those who have nowhere to lay their heads. At Christmas, they call in an orchestra – and it’s not the one you’d first expect. More here.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Working with London’s Homeless at Christmas Time


This December the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be actively engaging in creative music workshops with the homeless as part of their Christmas Project with The Connection Centre at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Since 1993 musicians and staff at the RPO have coordinated events with London residents through their Community and Education Department. RenamedRPO resound in 2008, the department continues to promote music education through creatively driven projects. Such projects aim to provide an opportunity for all members of society to access world-class music regardless of their background, to forge partnerships within the community and to promote cross-art form and cross-curricular interactions.

RPO resound
 has a well-established relationship with The Connection at St Martins, a charity which provides amongst its services; care centres, specialist counselling services, employment and training programmes, resettlement support and housing schemes for the homeless. The Orchestra has directed a diverse selection of workshops at The Connection Day Centre in central London, most commonly during the Christmas period. These sessions involve singing, playing of instruments, creative writing, composition and an exploration of different genres of music.

The Christmas Project comprises creative music workshops co-ordinated by RPO staff and musicians in partnership with The Connection staff. The sessions will culminate in two performances for centre clients and staff at The Connection on 14th December and will include the opportunity to watch the Orchestra rehearsing a variety of Christmas repertoire at the Royal Albert Hall. By working alongside the homeless during the Christmas project, the RPO strives to increase confidence in the participants’ own abilities, to provide opportunities for those who take part to try a variety of instruments and styles of music and to witness the musicians with whom they have been working playing live on stage.

Through the Christmas Project at The Connection the RPO endeavours to provide the centre clients with a sense of accomplishment, a furthered appreciation of music, an opportunity to build confidence and a truly memorable experience.


  • fiona maddocks says:

    Here is an account of rehearsal and performance (second half of article), both of which were very stirring..