On Wednesday 7th November we were lucky to have the amazing experience of performing in Buckingham Palace, it was the most incredible day which we will never forget.
This all came about because in January 2018 a songwriter –Marty Longstaff from The Lake Poets - came into our S3 music class to give us a workshop on how to write a song. We looked at how to write lyrics, how to write a catchy chorus, and experimented with chords and harmonies. Marty came from the charity Never Such Innocence, who aim to give every child a voice on the centenary of the First World War. As we come from Lossiemouth we chose to theme our song on the RAF, particularly as it is the year of RAF100. We thought about how pilots would jet off into the skies, knowing they might not land back to earth. We also thought about the families back in Lossiemouth, who were just the same as they are today. The whole song-writing experience was eye-opening for many reasons and many of us are continuing to write songs now.
In March we entered the song into the Never Such Innocence Songs of the Centenary competition and we were amazed to find out a few weeks later that we had been chosen as winners of the age 11-14 category!
Winning the competition came as a surprise. We knew it was an international competition so our hopes weren’t very high, so when Miss Mulford told us that we had won we were shocked and so excited. To collect our award we flew down to London and performed at The Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks. This experience was amazing as many of us hadn’t been to London before and none of us had performed in a venue like the Guards Chapel. It was a fantastic day which featured us witnessing a parade by the Royal Marines Drum Corps, getting to meet the heads of the military and also Chelsea Pensioners. We were also featured on BBC Radio Scotland, answering questions about our experience and hearing the song played out to thousands of listeners.
One of the most exciting parts of writing the song was getting to record both the audio and the music video. In April we went down to Lossie beach with Mrs Shearer and Miss Mulford and we sang the song in lots of different areas of the beach. Mrs Shearer then put all this footage together with our song and made a fantastic video which has been used by RAF Lossiemouth as part of their RAF100 commemorations.
In October we also went to Gordonstoun to use their recording facilities. A sound engineer from Inverness recorded us singing the song about twenty times, but it was worth it as the recording now sounds great. Recording the song was a great experience as we learned about what a sound engineer does and how recordings are made.
We thought this would be the end of our experience, but the icing on the cake was certainly being asked to perform in Buckingham Palace. We knew we had to go and make the most of this incredible opportunity that not many people in their lifetime get to do. We left Lossiemouth at 3.45am and were inside the Palace by 11am. We weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the palace, but it was the most incredible building we had ever been to. Every room was huge with intricate decoration and lots of chandeliers. The main event took place in the Ballroom where the Queen holds her knighting ceremonies. The afternoon included lots of songs, poetry readings, and addresses from Lady Lucy French and Sir Tim Laurence – Princess Anne’s husband. After the ceremony we had a delicious afternoon tea and we were able to wander freely around the drawing rooms, throne room and the music room. Our favourite was the White Drawing Room, everything was made of gold and we were able to sit in the chairs! There was a wall size mirror which we found out was actually a secret door for the Queen to enter in without her guests noticing. It was a shame that we didn’t get to meet or see the Queen, but it was still such an honour to be there. To end the whole event we sang our song in the Music Room. We were accompanied by the RAF Salon Orchestra and they made our song sound truly magical. Singing in Buckingham Palace was an experience like no other and we will remember it forever.
A big thankyou to Miss Mulford who has made all of this possible by entering us into the competition and helping us write the song. Thank you to Ms Scott, Mr Carthew and Mrs Simpson who have made these incredible trips possible. We’d also like to thank Moray Council, Never Such Innocence, RAF Lossiemouth, and all the other contributors who have supported and funded our experiences.
by Alex Aylott, Meriel Boyd, Connie Duncan, Milly Mackay, Iona McDowall, Grace Newlands, Kimberley Orr, Craig Rae, Chloe Scott, Marcello Seivwright, Connor Small, Claire Taylor, Emma Whyte and Charlotte Wright.
All pupils listed here have taken part in the song in different ways.