Since 2005 the Royal Albert Hall has worked with the Teenage Cancer Trust to offer music workshops for young people helped by the Teenage Cancer Trust – either receiving treatment, in remission or in the palliative stages of the disease.
During the workshops, hosted in the Hall’s Elgar Room every day of the Teenage Cancer Trust seasons, participants get to play instruments with musicians from the Hall’s resident education group Albert’s Band, supported by students from the Royal College of Music, write songs, share their own experiences and form new friendships, before watching the concert in the auditorium that evening.
Ahead of their headline concert on Monday night, Welsh rockers Stereophonics took the time out of rehearsals to surprise participants at the first workshop of the season.
The band are long-standing supporters of the Teenage Cancer Trust and have performed here on several occasions in aid of the charity. Frontman Kelly Jones even played a part in the first ever Teenage Cancer Trust concert here in 2000 and more recently opened up a ward in Cardiff with charity patron Roger Daltrey.
Bassist Richard Jones, guitarist Adam Zindani and drummer Jamie Morrison were each able to share some tips with the group’s young bassists, guitarists and drummers, some of whom had never picked up the instrument before the workshop.
For some of the young people involved, the supportive, positive atmosphere of the workshops enables them to reflect on personal experiences and journeys. For others, the sessions simply allow them to forget about the difficulties and traumas of treatment and focus on being a teenager again.
Each workshop group works on songs inspired by the artist taking to the main stage that evening.
Kelly Jones spotted the influence of his song Maybe Tomorrow in one of the compositions, joking: “they nick a few of the chords that we had a song, put them in a different order and then write a new song – it’s pretty much what I do most days!”
The charity concerts at the Hall have raised over £20 million for the charity since they began in 2000. To find out more please visit www.teenagecancertrust.org.
All images: Mick Hutson, 2015