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Posted: 2019-11-21

Music for Youth Proms 2019: Kirklees Music Students Play at the Royal Albert Hall

Article by Damon Whittle:

Students of Musica Kirklees played at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London last Wednesday evening in an event for Music For Youth.

The event, known as the MfY Proms takes place every year and young musicians from across the country take part in a series of events over the course of the year, starting with 50 regional events up and down the country in March. Those who are lucky enough to be recommended by the MfY mentors to go on to the next round, held in Birmingham. After that comes the MfY Proms, which are held at the Royal Albert Hall in November.

The aim of the event is to give under 21’s an opportunity to participate in free high-quality and life-changing musical performances, regardless of background or musical style. And the MfY Proms are a celebration of this young talent.

When talking about the concert, Thom Meredith, Principal of Musica Kirklees, stated that it was “an amazing turnout and the performance went brilliantly. The Royal Albert Hall is a massive auditorium, I think it holds about 4,000 people. To have that number of people watching you is absolutely incredible, and gave all the performers a real buzz”.

The Proms take place over the course of two nights and are a selection of some of the best young acts from all over the country.

“You can’t beat that feeling of adrenaline and excitement before a performance, especially in a venue like that. It inspires you to go that little bit further and to perform to the best of your ability – I think the students did that very well”, he added.

Musica Youth Strings and Choir, who performed at the event played the theme from Lord of the Dance: Riverdance. Thom described it as starting off “with just a single, solo, unaccompanied voice with a simple accompaniment from the strings. Then the choir add in the harmony parts with the strings supporting them”. The piece went on for approximately seven and a half minutes and was also accompanied by drums and finished with everyone playing at once. Thom added that this piece “builds to a dramatic end”.

Thom went on to state that the students were “obviously quite keyed up for what was about to happen” on their way down to the Royal Albert Hall. But also mentioned that “there’s a lot of nerves that come with that. As long as those nerves don’t get in the way, as long as you can channel them into a real sense of occasion and excitement then that really helps you when you come to perform”.

Musica’s students took a rather interesting approach to their performance, as most of the other groups with the exception of the orchestras played two pieces, the students decided to play just one, rather diverse piece. Thom stated that “because our piece goes through different styles, if you like, from the slow, opening to the quick, exciting ending. We thought we’d just stick with that one piece”.

He also recalled that the performance was very well received by the audience, “At the end, the performers all froze and stayed completely still for dramatic effect, and then the audience went wild with applause and whooping! The way it finished was as dramatic as the performance itself”.

“We had quite a lot of comments afterwards from people saying it was stunning, absolutely brilliant”.

Not only was the performance well received by the audience, but also by the students themselves. Some of whom expressed that they felt “inspired by their leaders” and that they “appreciate the fact that other people have worked so hard to get them to that stage”.

When asked about whether or not Musica Kirklees would be taking part in next year’s Music For Youth performances for their fiftieth anniversary, Thom stated that “it’s one of those things where we can’t guarantee that we’ll be performing next year at Birmingham or the Royal Albert Hall because you have to go through all the rounds”. Though he went on to say that they will certainly enter again for the regional rounds next March because of the “experience it gives the young people, I don’t think you’d want anything to get in the way of being part of that”.

This is not the first time that Musica has been involved with the MfY Proms. In 2015, they provided a massed ensemble called The Mighty Sky. This group featured around two-hundred singers from the Kirklees area as well as one-hundred instrumentalists.

Thom mentioned that MfY also organises massed ensembles to be part of every Proms concert. These ensembles often consist of between six-hundred and seven-hundred people. Musica Kirklees have also put a bid in to see if they would be accepted to provide the massed ensemble next year. Thom stated that “I think there’s going to be an announcement made very soon, very shortly after the proms have finished” and that they are waiting to hear whether or not they have been successful.