News

70th Anniversary of The Commonwealth Celebrated by 200 young musicians

On 28 April 2019 was the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of The Commonwealth. To mark and celebrate this historic milestone, a special event was presented in Westminster by
    Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
    Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and
    Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Also marked and celebrated at the event were the
    60th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and
    50th Anniversary of the Open University.

The event was based around the importance of recognising the achievements of the past and making plans to be delivered in the future.

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Believe was recorded at Abbey Road, Studio 2, on 17 January 2019, by members of the Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Commonwealth Children’s Choir, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir, featuring Mica Paris and conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

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Believe, featuring vocalist Mica Paris, has been released on 25 April 2019 as a charity single to raise funds for CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

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To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future

In Commonwealth Week 2019 a new song Believe was world-premiered on Horse Guards Parade on Commonwealth Day and the following day the recording of the song was launched at a special event in Westminster which was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO).

Dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth, Believe is an inspirational song, which has been composed by Commonwealth Composer-in-Residence Simon Haw MBE, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Commonwealth in 2019.

Believe has been composed as part of CYO’s educational programme “Inspire to Aspire” and its message is central to CYO’s theme for the 70th Anniversary of The Commonwealth, which is “To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future”.

Believe, featuring vocalist Mica Paris, is being released as a charity single to raise funds for CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

From 12 midnight local time on Thursday 25 April 2019 the track will be available to download online from all major music platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube etc.

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Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Believe – Launch in Westminster in Commonwealth Week 2019

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO) hosted the Launch Event of Believe in Westminster in Commonwealth Week 2019.

Believe was performed by 53 members of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir, with members of the Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir,Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

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Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future

A new song, Believe, words and music by Simon Haw MBE, was world-premiered by 500 children of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir on Commonwealth Day 2019.

Believe is dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, on the occasion of Commonwealth Day 2019 and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of The Commonwealth in 1949. Believe has been gifted by the composer to the children of The Commonwealth.

Believe was recorded at Abbey Road, Studio 2, on 17 January 2019, by members of the Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Commonwealth Children’s Choir, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir, featuring Mica Paris and conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

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Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

World Premiere of Cenotaph Requiem

Composed by Commonwealth Music Ambassador Simon Haw MBE.

The CYO’s Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir were honoured to be invited to perform with the State Ceremonial Musicians, the Coldstream Guards Band and the Countess of Wessex String Orchestra, in the world premiere of Cenotaph Requiem by Simon Haw MBE.

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Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Akbar Khan, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Simon Haw MBE, winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2016 at the launch in Westminster, London, UK.
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Launch of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018

On Monday 10 December 2018, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, launched the Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018.

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Inspire to Aspire

Inspire to Aspire
Creating Opportunities for Engaged Diversity

On Wednesday 26 September, by kind permission of The Master, Professor Jane Stapleton DCL and The Fellows of Christ’s College, Cambridge, the CYO held a special event as part of its programme Inspire to Aspire – Creating Opportunities for Engaged Diversity.

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"To be a Friend" New song launched for commonwealth day
Photographer Credit: Duncan Sparkes

A Song For The Lord Mayor of London

On the occasion of Alderman Charles Bowman, The Lord Mayor of London, becoming President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, a new composition, “A Song For The Lord Mayor of London” was composed by Composer-in-Residence, Paul Carroll, which has been dedicated to The Lord Mayor of London and The Lady Mayoress.

The bound score of the composition was presented to Alderman Charles Bowman, The Lord Mayor of London by Major Simon Haw MBE at Mansion House in the City of London in July 2018.

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Simon Haw In Unity CD
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Simon Haw, composer and conductor at a special performance of Earth Dance - A Commonwealth Cantata in Six Parts


In Unity CD – April 2018
To mark the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting London 2018 the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir launched a third new recording.

At Cadogan Hall, London, on Monday 23 April 2018, to mark the occasion of the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir launched the third CD of its trilogy of non-commercial recordings made with the ceremonial state Band of the Coldstream Guards conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE.

This CD is called In Unity and it is dedicated to Prince Harry on his taking up his new role, on 16 April 2018, of Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

To launch In Unity, 53 members of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir sang “To Be A Friend” accompanied by the Band of the Coldstream Guards, conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE.

This specially composed song, “To Be A Friend”, was performed at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 19 April 2018 to welcome the Commonwealth Heads of Government on their arrival at the Opening Ceremony of their Biennial Meeting, which was formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth.

Also included on In Unity CD is a special orchestral and choral work, Earth Dance – A Commonwealth Cantata in Six Parts composed by Simon Haw, which was commissioned by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir as a musical manifestation of the core values of the 21st century Commonwealth.

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City of London CD


City of London CD - April 2018
On 17 April 2018 the CYO released a special, non-commercial CD “City of London”, which has been produced with the support of The City of London Corporation.

The CYO’s City of London CD was launched at a Banquet, which was hosted by the City of London Corporation, held on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting London 2018.

The Commonwealth Children’s Choir, conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE, performed “To Be A Friend” a special song written to welcome the Commonwealth Heads of Government to their meeting in London on 19 April 2018.

After their performance the Commonwealth Children’s Choir, composer and conductor Major Simon Haw MBE with Director-General, Sally Shebe, were presented to distinguished guests including:

  • The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman
  • His Excellency The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa
  • The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General
  • The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British Government
  • City Remembrancer Paul Double, LVO
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