Author Archives: Adam Cooper

‘Youthquake’ – Inspiring Young People To Change The World

Youthquake is a 360-degree theatre experience from the award-winning Zest Theatre. The show is about being young and changing the world.

Youthquake

Developed through conversations with 800 young people from across the country, Youthquake uses their words and opinions to give voice to a generation often left unheard.

Part show, part TED talk, and part party, Youthquake takes you on an exhilarating journey through hidden lives of Teen Britain and asks what it actually means to change the world.

Youthquake has been inspired and developed with more than 500 young people from Tees Valley and 300 young people from elsewhere in the country – it is a celebration of the voices of young people across the region and beyond.

The group will perform have already performed at Hartlepool’s Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts (CECA) and will now move onto Middlesbrough Town Hall, ARC in Stockton-on-Tees, The Hippodrome in Darlington and will end their regional tour at Tuned In! in Redcar.

Youthquake in context

Discover the true extent of who Youthquake are in their Offical ‘Production Trailer’:

Supported through the National Lottery Public Fund and through Arts Council England, Youthquake is able to bring an incredible experience to young people for FREE.

Tees Valley Combined Authority chief executive, Julie Gilhespie said: “While the combined authority is driving economic growth and creating jobs, we can never lose sight of who we’re doing it for – our region’s young people. We need to give them the opportunities to be the best they can be and build a life for themselves in the region. To do this we must listen to what they are saying to tackle the issues which are important to them.

Youthquake

“Zest Theatre has been working with our teenagers to produce this fantastic show which is a meaningful and addition to our cultural calendar”, Gilhespie continued. “I’d urge teachers, teenagers and adults alike to get a ticket and support our young actors and their stories.”

Zest Theatre producer, Catherine Fowles said: “We’re so pleased to be bringing Youthquake ‘home’ to Tees Valley, having spent most of our time making and rehearsing the show here. Youthquake has been an incredibly transformative experience for everyone involved, from our team that conducted the initial workshops to the young people who have joined our casts across the country.”

Fowles also expressed excitement at the meeting and collaborating with young people in the region from all different backgrounds saying: “We can’t wait to be able to share some amazing experiences with our young casts in Tees Valley, all of the people we’ve met who have helped shape the show for the region, and the audiences who will hear their stories thanks to the support of Tees Valley Combined Authority.”

Dates and ticketing information for Youthquake performances are available on Enjoy Tees Valley’s website.

Youthquake

Music Production Courses Coming February Half-Term

Are you aged between 13 – 18? Or do you know someone who is and would like to get involved in music production?Music production

If you are, Musinc has a fantastic opportunity for you! On Tuesday 18th February, Wednesday 19th February and Thursday 20th February, Musinc will host a series of music production activities focused on recording music and using a professional studio.

Come along for 3 days of digital music activities led by experienced studio engineers. If you are a newcomer and have never enrolled on a music production course similar to this you will be given the chance to complete Grade 1. If you have previously attempted a previous course, you will complete Grade 3. Both Grades are accredited by Rock School.

No previous experience or knowledge necessary. Participants must attend all 3 days.

Each day will start at 10 am and end at 3 pm. The course will take place at Bluebridge Studios at Myplace in Middlesbrough.

This is a FREE event. To book contact musinc@middlesbrough.gov.uk or call 01642 728379.

Multi-million Pound Culture Boost For Children In Schools

£80 million for music hubs has been agreed by the Government, with further investment in film, dance, theatre and design expected in the coming months.  

Thousands more children will be able to learn instruments and play in orchestras or choirs thanks to a further £80 million investment by the Government in music hubs.

Alongside this investment, charities that help young people learn about different styles of music are also set to receive a further £1 million next year to support the next generation of musicians.

Pupils will also have more opportunities to put their film making skills to the test, explore museums or take to the stage, as a series of other cultural education programmes receive an additional £4 million funding boost next year.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced this multi-million pound package today (Friday 3rd January) alongside a manifesto commitment to offer an ‘arts premium’ to secondary schools to allow young people to learn creative skills and widen their horizons.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has said: “Music, arts and culture play an essential role in enriching pupils’ education, and we want to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to learn an instrument or perform in a choir or a band.

“Our sustained investment will play an important role in helping young people widen their horizons and access all the opportunities that learning a musical instrument can provide”, Gibb continued. “Whether your child wants to play for pleasure or to perform on stage, they should have the opportunity to do so.”

The curriculum schemes will receive a total of £85 million for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • Music Education Hubs
  • In Harmony
  • National Youth Music Organisations (NYMOs) and Music for Youth; and
  • Cultural education (Heritage schools, BFI Film Academy, Museums and Schools, ACE Bridge Network, National Youth Dance Company, Saturday Art and Design Clubs).

Music education hubs, which are organisations that give pupils access to instruments and support whole classes to play together, have transformed the teaching of music in schools through instrument lessons and ensembles.

These hubs have been supported by £300 million between 2016 and 2020, which forms part of an overall investment of £500 million in the arts during that period, making it the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE.

Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music Education for Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted that this funding from the Department for Education has been confirmed.

“These programmes support a creative, diverse and inclusive music education for children and young people across England.”

Music Education ‘Risks Being Outdated By Technology’

Music teaching could be left behind in an outdated acoustic age if it does not keep-up with technology, an in-depth report says.

Music Education

Too much music education does not reflect the reality of how young people engage with music, according to the inquiry from The Music Commission.

It says there is a risk this “disconnect” means current teaching methods may become outdated.

It argues technology could help stop music from disappearing from schools.

The commission, led by key figures in contemporary music and set up by Arts Council England and the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music, says technology is evolving at a rapid rate.

From apps that allow users to compose digital music on smart phones to ‘teach yourself the guitar’ YouTube videos, the opportunities technology offers for learning, making and engaging in music are significant.

Low-cost tech 

The report says: “There is a danger that the “disconnect” between how young people use technology and music education may see current models of teaching rapidly becoming outdated.

Music Education“This is not about one replacing the other, but about bringing together the best in technology to work alongside and challenge acoustic music-making to create more relevant contemporary practice.”

It adds: “The current generation of music learners can explore any era or kind of music at any time.

“Technology allows them to access and merge ‘musics’ from any culture.”

The report highlights how technology has enabled young people to improvise together, access virtual teachers and challenge each other in digital spaces.

It adds that new technologies increasingly provide accessible, low-cost means to make and share music, and that it should be a central plank of music education. Furthermore, the accessibility and immediacy of such technology means young people can have a more fluid approach, with the old barriers between different types of music being broke down.

Pressures mount from unions

The report also says that the focus of music education should be ensuring every child is supported to take music further.

 A report by the Musicians’ Union last year suggested poorer children are being priced out of learning musical instruments.

Music Education

Children in low income households were half as likely to take music lessons, it found.

Commission chairman, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, who is managing director of the Barbican, acknowledged there was a host of pressures on schools to meet academic targets.

He said: “People of all ages now learn and enjoy a hugely diverse range of music in many ways – at home, in classrooms, in communities and online.

“However, we’re concerned that too much music education does not reflect the realities of how young people engage with music.”

Hartlepool School Pupils To Take Part In Children In Need Choir

Pupils from a number of primary schools in Hartlepool will come together as part of the national Children In Need Choir in an effort to raise money for children in less fortunate and very difficult lives.

The choir, which is set to be broadcast live on BBC One, will feature children from across the country.

In previous years the Children In Need Choir have sang ‘Over The Rainbow’ from the classic film ‘The Wizard of OZ‘ and performed ‘A Million Dreams’ from the hit musical ‘The Greatest Showman‘. It is unclear what song will be the highlight of this year’s Choir however, it is likely to be another emotionally driven performance.

The Hartlepool segment of the choir will take place in Hartlepool Town Hall.

Viewers can watch the Choir live on BBC One from 7pm on Friday 15th November.

To donate to Children In Need please visit their website and give whatever you can to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children up and down the country.

Opera Singer will Return to Teesside for Special Concert

Former TVMS pupil Anna Huntley, who has made her mark around the world for opera singing, will return to her Teesside roots and perform a special homecoming recital at Stokesley Methodist Church on Sunday 10th November.

Originally from Yarm, Miss Huntley started off her musical journey in Tees Valley Youth Orchestra before leaving to study at the Royal Academy of Music and then the Royal College of Music International Opera School. Throughout her years of study she has earned several prestigious awards that kicked off her operatic career.

During her many years of working and living in London, Anna has performed in major venues across the capital city, such as Wigmore Hall. She also performed over seas in many parts of Europe.

Anna Huntley performing at the University of Leeds.

Now residing in Berlin, Miss Huntley said she is looking for a chance to perform in her hometown again.

“I was very active in the musical life on Teesside when I was a student”, Huntley said speaking with Tees Valley Music Service. “I am so proud of my roots and the musical education I received there. If I can be a part of that in anyway with other young people now, I’d very much like to do that.

“I don’t often get the chance to sing back at home so it’s an honour and a real thrill. I love the chance to show family and friends and the region as a whole what I have been doing.”

A concert to remember

Huntley’s recital will explore ‘Women in Song’ and, accompanied by pianist Chris Glynn, will perform music from German composer Robert Schumann.

In an interview with The Northern Echo, Anna commented that the “programme is going to be an entertaining one. The first half will be Schumann’s recital which follows the tragic story of a woman who falls in love.

“The second half is much more light-hearted with music from Brazil, Portugal, Spain and Argentina. There will also be some old English folk songs thrown in which will be fun. There will be something in it for everybody.”

Watch Anna Huntley perform a piece by Kurt Weil in the video below:

Tickets are on sale now for her performance at Stokesley Methodist Church on Sunday 10th November at 7:15pm. Contact Julie Haigh on 01642 711618 for advanced tickets.

More information can be found on Teesside Music Society’s website.

BBC’s Songs of Praise Youth Choir of the Year Competition

The 2020 competition is now open for entries and aims to find the best amateur Young Choirs in the UK. It’s your chance to shine!

BBC Songs of Praise warmly welcome applications from youth, community, church, school and gospel choirs. In fact, any choir can enter as long as you’re of the right age (see Terms and Conditions below).

All choirs who submit an entry will receive feedback from the shortlisting judges, whether they go through to the televised part of the competition or not.

The finals will be filmed during Spring at a venue to be confirmed.

The Junior and Senior finalists will sing in front of the audience (including family and friends) and the television cameras!

How to enter

You can enter online, by email or post.

Please read the Terms and Conditions and tick on the form to confirm you have read them.

For the online entry form click here…

To enter by email download the entry form here and send it to sopcompetitions@avantimedia.tv 

To send the application by post download the entry form here and send it to “Songs of Praise Competitions (YCOTY) 114-116 Broadway, Media City UK, Salford, M50 2UW.

Entry date closes on Sunday 24th November 2019.

 

Audition for National Youth Choirs of Great Britain

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) are holding auditions for the National Youth Boys’, Girls’ and Training Choirs of Great Britain this autumn.

If you have a passion and a talent for singing with others that you want to take to the highest level, then NYCGB would love to hear from you. There are 21 audition dates and 18 locations across the UK.

Auditions are open to all talented young singers as follows:

  • National Youth Boys’ Choir – for boys entering School Years 5 to 10 on 1st September 2019
  • National Youth Girls’ Choir – for girls entering School Years 6 to 10 on 1st September 2019
  • National Youth Training Choir – for boys & girls entering School Years 9 to 13 on 1st September 2019

Find out more and book a place to audition here.

NYCGB’s website provides lots of information about what’s required, and how to prepare.

Auditions are priced at £37. Financial assistance is available; find out if you qualify today.

Representatives of NYCGB will travel the country, hosting auditions for talented young people from all works of life.

Audition Dates & Locations 

  • Birmingham – Wednesday 13th November
  • Bristol – Monday 11th November
  • Cardiff – Saturday 2nd November
  • Carlisle – Saturday 16th November
  • Chelmsford – Sunday 10th November
  • Exeter – Saturday 2nd November
  • Edinburgh – Saturday 16th November
  • Gateshead – Thursday 14th November
  • Hull – Friday 15th November
  • Ipswich – Sunday 17th November
  • Leeds – Saturday 9th November
  • Liverpool – Saturday 16th November
  • London (Barnes) – Sunday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September
  • London (Marylebone) – Sunday 10th & Sunday 17th November
  • Nottingham – Sunday 3rd November
  • Peterborough – Saturday 9th November
  • Shrewsbury – Sunday 17th November
  • Southampton – Sunday 17th November
  • Tonbridge – Saturday 9th November

TVYO 50th Anniversary Tour | Full Recap

Following months of planning, preparation and anticipation, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra finally celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

The Journey Begins

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra departed from Ian Ramsey Academy shortly after 6am on Monday 8th July. 120 students of varying ages, accompanied by 13 members of staff and an infant, disembarked at Manchester Airport. All were ready and eager to begin their most ambitious tour to date. Shortly after arriving at the airport, the party were organised into travel groups before they boarded the plane. These travel groups would continue throughout the tour as TVYO explored New York City.

After a fairly restful 7 hour flight the orchestra landed at JFK Airport and it wasn’t long before the group were headed towards the heart of New York City.

The city was bustling with life. As the Youth Orchestra made their way through the bustling streets of New York, block by block, the diverse and vibrant culture of Americanism was apparent. Skyscrapers loomed overhead as the coaches navigated their way to the Gallivant Hotel.

Located in the heart of Manhattan, just off from Times Square, the Gallivant Hotel would be a perfect base for the activities ahead. Once checked into the hotel the tour group were granted permission to explore the local area and grab much needed food and drink. By 10pm TVYO had returned to The Gallivant, ready for the following day’s activity.

Seeing the sights

The first full day of the tour was packed full of activity. In the morning, the group was split into two: one group explored the Natural History Museum while the other journeyed to Central Park. Reuniting after lunch, the group was split again with many visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the smaller sub-group exploring Central Park and 5th Avenue, both of which are within a 5 minute walking distance. 

After spending 3 hours at either the museum or at Central Park it was time for TVYO to return to the hotel to get ready for their evening meal at Planet Hollywood. Thanks to the generous fundraising that the Friends of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra held over 2 years, the tour organisers were able to provide the party with four evening meals out of the five nights that they were in New York.

Immediately following the meal at the memorabilia and nostalgic themed restaurant, the TVYO members who had paid to see the hit Broadway show ‘Aladdin’ walked to The New Amsterdam Theatre – just off from Times Square – and those who had not instead travelled to Brooklyn Bridge.

The group who visited Brooklyn Bridge took the Subway and were treated with two views of the iconic structure: one from a distance where the bridge can be seen over the Hudson River and another view from the bridge itself. This walking expedition coincided with the sun setting on New York and the views of the New York City skyline were truly breath-taking. After returning to the hotel via the Subway, both groups returned to their rooms for some well needed rest.

Exploring the city that never sleeps 

On Wednesday, the group walked to the DiMenna Centre for Classical Music. This performance space served as the rehearsal venue for TVYO to adequately prepare for the following day’s momentous concert, allowing the string players (who had received hired instruments at the start of the week) the chance to perform a run through of their 50th Anniversary performance.

The DiMenna Centre is an unparalleled resource serving the entire musical community – from soloists to symphony orchestras, through state-of-the-art facilities. They were aided by a tuning and orchestral arrangement professional. 

The rehearsal wrapped up at 1pm and the group headed back to the hotel for a short time. Later that afternoon, they walked to the Rockefeller Centre and visited the Top of the Rock. Climbing 70 stories this enormous skyscraper offered tremendous views of lower Manhattan where iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Centre were clearly visible.  

View from 'Top of the Rock'

View from ‘Top of the Rock’

Once back on solid ground the students were given free time to explore the surrounding area to the Rockefeller Plaza. This included big brand stores such as the Nintendo Store. Once students returned to the organised meeting point they all travelled back to the hotel to pick up belongings ready for the evening events. For dinner, TVYO visited Ellen’s Stardust Diner; a restaurant that is famous for its singing waitstaff and home to Broadway’s future talents. After the meal the Orchestra walked to Times Square before making their way to the hotel to make final preparations for tomorrow’s big concert.

On Thursday morning, the students were granted free time where they could go shopping and explore the local area. By 12:30pm, after grabbing snacks, the tour group walked, with instruments in tow, to Carnegie Hall. Once on stage and set up, they rehearsed for 3 hours 30 minutes – more than enough time to play through each piece. At 7:30pm the doors opened and hundreds of parents, family, friends, supporters and New Yorkers filled the auditorium. The concert swiftly commenced at 8pm. 

TVYO perform at Carnegie Hall

The program featured Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain’, arranged by Rimsky-Korsakov. This was followed with another piece by Mussorgsky with ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, orchestrated by Ravel. After the intermission they then performed Mahler’s ‘Symphony No. 1 in D major’. For an encore Tees Valley Youth Orchestra performed ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ by John Sousa. The American-themed song was a very appropriate way to draw the concert to a close. 

Conductor of TVYO, Nicholas Nowicki, commented ahead of the special concert: “I know I speak on behalf of the entire orchestra and their families when I say we are extremely privileged and grateful to be able to present our performance to you tonight on this, the most hallowed of stages. I’d like to say a special thank you to everyone who made tonight possible; our fabulous supportive families, TVMS, FTVYO and of course the players themselves, whose constant dedication, passion for music and teamwork is a source of continuous inspiration for me. I’d also like to say a big thank you to my family for their support. We hope that you enjoy tonight’s performance.”

Nicholas Nowicki leading Tees Valley Youth Orchestra

Speaking after the performance, Susan Robertson (TVMS Manager) congratulated the members of TVYO for their “historic” performance and hinted that there would be more great things to come for the Orchestra.

After 2 hours and 30 minutes the concert concluded to a rousing round of applause and a standing ovation. It was heartening to see 2 years of hard work from the performers, teachers and staff finally pay off. Soon after the concert TVYO exited Carnegie Hall and made their way to The Gallivant Hotel. As promised, following the huge success of the performance, staff allowed students the opportunity to meet and spend time with family and friends in Times Square. At midnight the group reunited back at the hotel for sleep – the excitement of the evening still very much alive.

More photos from the concert available on TVYO’s official Facebook page.

The last day

On Friday, TVYO began their last full day in New York by setting off on a walking expedition of the city. They visited High Line, Chelsea Markets, Washington Square Park, Union Square and Broadway shops. At 2:30pm TVYO arrived back at the hotel briefly to pick up items they would need for the rest of the day. They headed back onto Times Square and walked a short distance to the Hard Rock Cafe for a late lunch. Hard Rock Cafe is a restaurant chain made famous for its rock and roll memorabilia collection.

Afterwards, the group who had paid to watch the New York Yankees vs Toronto Bluejays baseball game made their way to the stadium. The other group chose to visit the 9/11 memorial in the financial district of lower Manhattan, then walked to the Staten Island Ferry docks.

The Staten Island Ferry provided students with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline as the sun began to set. Both groups returned to the hotel by midnight, leaving them with a small amount of time to pack and ensure they had everything they needed for the journey home. 

On Saturday it was travel day as TVYO made their way to the airport, eventually boarding the plane by 7pm and landing at 7am (UK time). They arrived back at Ian Ramsey Academy by 12pm. After a week of non-stop activity and memories to last a lifetime, the tour was over.  

Looking to the future

Following the tremendous success of the New York Tour and the Carnegie Hall concert, speculation about a follow-up tour next year has naturally been discussed. However, due to the financial and logistical undertaking that the New York Tour was for the Youth Orchestra, their families, TVMS and FTVYO, there will be no tour in 2020. Instead, the Youth Orchestra will concentrate on recruiting new members to share in the ensemble’s exciting future as well as delving into more come complex and exciting pieces of work.

The TVYO tour will return in 2021 and, although no details have been released at this stage, the achievements of TVYO show no sign of stopping. Here’s to another 50 years of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra! 

The Globe to Open in Late 2020

Councillors have approved additional funding to complete the restoration of Stockton’s famous Globe theatre.

£6.5 million has been approved for use on the Grade 2 music and comedy venue to bring the Art Deco building back to life. Once restored, the 3,000 capacity live entertainment venue will be the biggest between Newcastle and Leeds.

Work on the building had temporarily halted in early 2019 as the severity of its damaged structure became more apparent. In the months that followed 100 specialist sub-contractors and independent cost analysts determined that additional funds would be necessary to resume work.

Major renovation work is expected to resume next month.

Following months of debate between councilors, local government and Stockton residents, the money was approved for use. ATG, a global leader in live entertainment, has signed up to operate the Globe for 25 years and once open it is expected to bring up to 200,000 visitors and £18 million a year into the local economy.

Those discussions resulted in major changes to how the agreed designs can be delivered in light of the urgent structural stabilisation work completed earlier this year. These include changes to the foundations, steel work and roof structures along with access and logistics complexities and the protection of the building’s historic features.

Artist’s impression of the new Globe theatre in 2020.

Project Director, Paul Dobson, said “Restoration projects are notoriously complex and we’ve had a number of setbacks but we’ve remained focused on the end goal, which is to deliver a project that will bring hundreds of millions of pounds into the Borough’s economy in the coming years.”

ATG’s Group Operations Director, Stuart Beeby, added “No theatre has been restored in this way, from a historic venue into a home for live music and entertainment for a modern audience.”

“This is ground-breaking and what makes it a challenging and exciting project. We’re very excited to be bringing household names, the top talent of music and comedy to Stockton – renowned acts the people will recognise.”

The additional funding brings the Council’s contribution to the cost of £22.25 million, with the remaining £4.5 million coming from a National Lottery grant secured through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Enterprise scheme.

Cafes and restaurants near the venue are expected to open in the next year to provide concert goers with a dining and social experience.

The Globe is expected to open in late 2020.