Massed Ensembles 2017 Announced!

Date Published:14 December 2016
Category:All News
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Music for Youth is delighted to announce the three regional massed ensemble performance projects that will be presented at the prestigious Music for Youth Proms in November 2017.

The three partnerships whose projects were selected are Kingston-Upon-Hull Music Service and Hull Music Hub, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust and Rutland Music and four South Yorkshire Hubs (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield).

The original works will be performed at the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 13 November, Tuesday 14 November and Wednesday 15 November 2017.

The three massed ensemble projects were chosen for their innovative artistic ideas, the quality of the teaching and learning demonstrated in the projects which will draw on a wide range of musicians of all abilities, and for the exciting partnerships they bring together across their regions.


Following months of creative development and rehearsals, hundreds of young people from these regions will perform in a once-in-a-lifetime, professional, large scale concert on the world famous stage.


Music for Youth Chief Executive, Judith Webster, said that many of the young people who perform in the Music for Youth Proms tell us they have a life changing experience.

“Treating young musicians like professionals, with top quality lighting, sound and production values makes their performance feel extra special, and is at the heart of what we do at Music for Youth,” Webster said.

About the three massed ensemble projects


South Yorkshire Hubs

Building on the hugely successful inter-hub collaboration between the South Yorkshire Music Hubs for the Music for Youth National Twinning Scheme in 2016, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield are delighted to team up again for the Music for Youth Proms 2017.

As part of a wider plan to establish South Yorkshire as a centre for excellence in youth jazz, the four hubs will present an inclusive, cross key-stage performance of a newly commissioned jazz oratorio inspired by the 16th century West African storyteller, singer, musician and oral historian – a griot. Griots trained to excel as orators, lyricists and musicians and were the record keepers of all births, deaths, marriages throughout many generations of the village or family in that time.

The work will be performed by an established core of exceptional young musicians at intermediate and advanced level, who will have crafted and created the oratorio led by a renowned professional jazz musician. A children’s chorus will form the backdrop to the performance, they will perform songs and vocal improvisations they have created and learnt, in school, complementing cross-curriculum themes linked to Black History Month (October), storytelling and creative writing in the style of a griot.


Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust and Rutland Music

Nene Journey will be a new commission from award winning composer Benjamin Till, based on the people and places of the Nene River Valley as it wends its way from the source, in Badby, through Northampton and Peterborough to join the North Sea at the Wash.

Ben grew up in Higham Ferrers within sight of the river, which has been an important waterway, known to the Vikings and Romans. The river powered many mills and provided water for breweries and the tanneries which served the shoe trade, for which Northampton is famous. A railway followed the course of the river connecting Northampton to Peterborough, but was sadly closed in the 1960’s, its course now a mixture of cycle paths, footpaths and preserved railway.

The performance will feature a large junior choir, aided by the Northamptonshire County Youth Choir, and accompanied by the Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra and Brass Band. Instruments associated with water will play a prominent part in the composition, as will the natural sounds of the river valley gathered by the composer on his “walk of inspiration” from Badby to the Coast. The massed choir will feature representatives from Northamptonshire, Rutland and Peterborough and will be the first time that performers from the three Music Education Hubs have worked together.


Kingston-Upon-Hull Music Service and Hull Music

Nearing the culmination of Hull's year as UK City of Culture, this piece is an opportunity to fulfil the last of the year's four aims; 'Tell the World'. Inspired by the city's unique landscape, the poetry of Larkin, and the diverse communities that give Hull such a strong character, the piece will be a celebration of the potential of the next generation and what they can achieve. Music is a wonderful vehicle for this and the performance will feature a vast cross section of talented young people from the city's schools and special schools, highlighting the orchestral and brass band tradition and also featuring a large choir, percussion ensemble, jazz band and dancers. This performance will truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young people to celebrate their city and show off their artistic abilities.

Based on the Philip Larkin poem Here, this specially commissioned piece from composer Tom Lawrence will involve a collaboration between the Hull Music Service and the city’s secondary schools with pupils from across the city coming together to share and explore what it is that makes Hull unique.

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