By Sophia Whitfield
Music for Youth works with thousands of young people from all over the UK, all of whom are passionate about music. The aim is to encourage children to be actively involved in music from a young age, the benefits of which can last a lifetime.
Last week I attended the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The program featured an eclectic mix of school students, some singing in choirs and others in smaller groups. The talent was prodigious. The younger children were clearly awed by their experience. From choirs that had sung at Buckingham Place to small three-piece bands, there was something for everyone. The haunting music of a Welsh choir and in contrast rap from CODA, a small vocal group of students from Lewisham.
The Oval Learning Cluster in collaboration with English Touring Opera (ETO) was made up of eight primary schools and two secondary in Lambeth. Young players accompanied the children from The Royal Academy of Music. The 400 strong choir (9-12 years) and players (16-19) performed an ambitious original piece – 800 Miles as the Albatross Flies. It told the story of children from Lambeth signing up for an original adventure, in which they find themselves sailing in a a replica of the tiny James Caird lifeboat from Elephant Island in Antarctica to South Georgia precisely 100 years after Shackleton and his crew made their first voyage. The children showed their artistic talents with staging, creating both a theatrical and musical piece.
The Wardle Junior Blast was a fabulous group of brass, woodwind and percussion from seven primary schools. The conductor was brilliant fun adding to the enjoyment of the students and the audience.
The high-energy performance from the Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble was a showstopper. With 50 plus members they gave an energetic performance with all members of the ensemble standing and dancing as they played their various instruments.
I attended the final evening of the Music for Youth Proms. Over three nights 3,000 musicians from across the UK performed. It was an inspiring night celebrating the musical talent of youth across the UK. It is surely where future music star talent is fostered.
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