To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future

On 28 April 1949, the Modern Commonwealth was born out of the international collaboration that had been generated throughout the First and Second World Wars. In an act of continuum, the political leaders in the second half of the 1940s were determined not to lose this spirit of international brotherhood and mutual support.

With King George VI as its Head, the Commonwealth of Nations was first established as a voluntary group of eight independent countries; Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Today the Commonwealth comprises 53 nations across all six inhabited regions of the globe: Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific. Each of the 53 independent nations is an equal stakeholder and with national populations ranging from 9,600 to 1.3 billion, and with multifarious races and faiths, The Commonwealth encapsulates the concept of “Embracing Diversity”.

The 21st Century Commonwealth, now in its 70th year, is building on its dynamic legacy and heritage - with international engagement and diversity at its core, and the opportunity to maximise individual, national and international potential, it offers the possibility to be a model of mutual human respect, support and understanding.


As part of the legacy of Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth, to mark and celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Commonwealth, the CYO has created its Commonwealth Music Education Fund to support its work across The Commonwealth through the coming decades.

With no central funding the CYO has to seek out all its financial support to enable its work and the CYO welcomes donations to make possible its ground-breaking initiatives and programmes:

In April 2019 a Just Giving page has been set up to support the fundraising for the Commonwealth Music Education Fund:

On Commonwealth Day 2019 a new song Believe was world-premiered on Horse Guards Parade and the following day the recording of the song was launched at a special event in Westminster 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 CYO’s 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 to be 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.

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.

Allegro from Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings RV127
Recorded by the strings of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra,
conducted by Paul Carroll at Abbey Road Studios on 25 July 2011.