As I walked through Paternoster Square on my way to a meeting, I stopped for a while to listen to a bunch of school kids singing their hearts out (a suitably London flavoured “Knees up Mother Brown”) in the lunch time sunshine. The office workers seated at the al fresco tables around the square seemed equally enchanted. This was part of the Golden Keys to the City – four local schools providing pop up concerts of songs from Africa, South America, Asia and Europe – as well as some London favourites.
As I passed the crowds sitting on the steps outside St Paul’s Cathedral I stopped again - this time to watch some rather energetic street dancing and performance art. Four Corners is about choreographers from four corners of the globe and the City of London Festival brings together 60 dancers from all over the place as part of the Big Dance. Luckily I wasn’t late for my meeting.
On my way back, just before I crossed the Millennium Bridge, I watched people play some lively music at an upright piano that was stationed in the shadows of an office block there. Apparently there are 50 Golden Street pianos stating “Play me, I’m Yours”! across the City. After crossing the bridge, I found another piano being played with passion. So much music in the City!
There are hundreds of performances, activities and family days as part of the City of London Festival at Broadgate Circus, Devonshire Square, Parliament Hill (Hampstead Heath), Guildhall Yard and St Lawrence Jewry (Gresham Street), St Bride’s (Fleet Street), Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.
And just about every type of music is covered – from choir to jazz, from samba to Latin Groove, from Middle Eastern to hillbilly barn dancing and classical to soul and even Morris dancing and “Afro funky”. There’s even a Music in Offices initiative with office choir of the year performances from City stalwarts such as Norton Rose and Olswang lawyers and global finance house UBS.
Pick up one of the free leaflets celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the City of London Festival – events continue until 27th July. There’s also a more substantial official guide to the London 2012 Festival which runs until 9th September.
Further information at: http://www.colf.org/