Birmingham is privileged to host this uplifting Youth Music Festival, the largest event of its kind in the world, with every style of music on show for one week.
Eight-hundred works are showpieces for 10,000 participants, from bright eyed four-year-olds to talented teens.
Our city has been buzzing with gifted young visitors from Guernsey to Gateshead, Cwmbran to Kings Lynn, many playing for the first time in large concert venues such as our magnificent Symphony Hall, historic Town Hall or the more intimate Adrian Boult Hall.
Each year Music For Youth, with four decades of experience, hosts 65 regional festivals across the UK: free and friendly for anyone under the age of 21.
The 110th birthday Youth Music Festival highlights the aim to make music possible for all young people from all backgrounds and cultures, supporting the National Youth Music Organisations (NMYO) countrywide with financial help from numerous sponsors including the Arts Council.
A cornucopia of eclectic musical offerings have been shared throughout a hectic week culminating in UK national groups, with contributors drawn from far and wide, giving concerts in the Town Hall.
Hats off to platform staff, music librarians and general organisers for their expertise in what is not the easiest of venues backstage. Hundreds of youngsters milling around with precious instruments, questions and anxieties eventually presented themselves with calm aplomb, opening with the National Youth Brass Band fizzing with enthusiasm.
They look good, and sounded splendid: fat mellow fullness with plenty of fine solos.
Youth Music Theatre UK presented Matt Ryan’s The Dummy Tree. Seven young singer/actors accompanied by an obtrusive keyboard were unbalanced with over-enthusiastic personal mikes, that managed to convince for the most part.
Ever delightful Goldie as compare could have delivered musical pronunciations more convincingly, however his genuine enthusiasms led into the Hansel and Gretel Overture although The National Children’s Orchestra of under-14s found Chabrier’s Espana a tough challenge.
National Youth Jazz Collective blew our minds with fixed, talented players presenting improvised solos – a spontanious happening.
Four songs of great variety were presented by The National Youth Choir of 30 hand-picked, beautifully blending voices.
Finally Encounters Ensemble included the Pro Corda chamber group, South Asian Youth Musicians, voices, steel drums, guitars and instrumentalists of the National Youth Orchestra. A ‘first’ in creating such imaginative improvisations.
Music can be enjoyed by all, though, long may the youth of Great Britain continue their magical journeys.