New family-friendly choir — Soton Voce — launches in Southampton

On Tuesday 24 September Southampton Music Hub launched Soton Voce a new family friendly choir as part of its community offer across the city.

During the first few rehearsals the choir has been delighted to welcome a variety of voices, including their youngest member who, at 6 months old, particularly enjoyed swaying along to African calling song Allunde.

Regardless of age or ability , all are very welcome to attend — parents and caregivers with younger ones are invited to come along and make use of the play area at the back of the church at the same time as participating. The choir is now working towards a performance at Southampton General hospital in December but new members are welcome to join at any time with no pressure to perform.

Nia Collins, Musical Director for Soton Voce, says:
"We have made a great start with the voices that we have so far covering our usual eclectic mix including; Medieval part songs, African folk songs and Pentatonix's acapella arrangement of Fleet Foxes White Winter Hymnal. The joy of being able to take time out during our busy lives to just sing, be mindful and connect with others of all ages was particularly pertinent to me during our rehearsal last week as it was Mental Health awareness week. The choir affords us an opportunity to do just that on a weekly basis and I would love for us to be able to offer that opportunity to as many people in the city that we can"

All the sessions during the Autumn term will be free of charge taster sessions. From January the termly fee will be £30 with a guaranteed 10 rehearsals each term.

Soton Voce Rehearsals
11.30am - 12.30pm
at St Michael the Archangel, Bugle Street

Tickets go on sale for 'Southampton: A Musical Odyssey'

Tickets are now on sale for 'Southampton: A Musical Odyssey' — presented by Southampton Music Hub in partnership with Mayflower Theatre.

On Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2020, the whole family can set sail for an epic evening of entertainment as over 600 young musicians from across Southampton commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Ship: a pioneering journey which created connections that changed the world.

Led by Southampton Music Hub, in collaboration with Mayflower Theatre, and hosted by Soweto Kinch, the evening will feature musical performances from bands and orchestras of all different shapes and sizes from across the City of Southampton and celebrate the life-changing power of music, including, the premiers of Mayflower 400 inspired projects Big Sing: The Journey and Symphony 400: The Voyage

Tickets cost just £10 and are available from the Mayflower Theatre Box Office.

Four Southampton primary schools launch the start of an exciting musical voyage

Last week award-winning composer James Redwood visited four Southampton primary schools to launch the start of an exciting musical voyage: an exciting musical journey which commemorates the sailing of the Mayflower 400 years ago.

Working with over 100 school children from Kanes Hill Primary, Swaythling Junior, Fairisle Junior and Foundry Lane Primary schools, James collected musical ideas inspired by the Mayflower’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean 400 years ago. They came up with words, sentences, rhythms, melodies and sounds using their bodies, voices and instruments.

What happens next?

Over the next two month, James will turn the ideas created in the workshops in to a brand new piece of music — Symphony 400: The Voyage — which will be performed by older, talented young musicians from across the city at the Mayflower Theatre in March.

The musical ideas will also be used by other musicians and producers across the city to create other brand new pieces of music to debut at the Mayflower in March.

Keep up with The Voyage

Over the six month Southampton Music Hub will track the progress of this exciting musical voyage: from the classroom, across the city, and culminating with two momentous performances at the Mayflower Theatre on 5-6 March 2020 where the children who’s ideas started this epic journey will hear the final piece for the very first time.

Southampton Music Trust’s crowdfunding campaign to give hundreds of Southampton’s young musicians a life-changing experience!

As Southampton commemorates 400 years since the Mayflower’s world-changing journey, Southampton Music Trust will support Southampton Music Hub to take hundreds of children learning a musical instrument for the first time on a life-changing musical journey. 

In July, young musicians from across the city's primary schools will blast onto the Central Hall stage to create brand new music in The Big Mayflower Jam! The Jam will tell the stories of the composers’ own journeys, exploring the ideas of belonging to a community and building a new future together.

This amazing first experience of performing on stage will be made even more special as the young people will be playing alongside professional musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO)! The BSO will lead hundreds of young musicians as they play, listen, improvise, compose, and perform together, inspire each other’s musicianship, and build new connections and friends across the city.

But to give the city’s young people this amazing experience, Southampton Music Trust need your help. They want to make sure we can give life-changing music to children across the city, without it requiring any one person to give a life-changing amount of money. So, in partnership with Arts Council England and Spacehive’s Our Music Crowd project, they have launched a special crowdfunding campaign to harness the power of our community and bring together lots of small gifts to reach our life-changing target. 

The Big Mayflower Jam will give hundreds of young musicians a hugely inspirational musical experience, showcase their music, and demonstrate its importance: both to them as young people and to the city. Group music making is at the core of the project – activity proven to boost social bonding by helping participants identify collective identities and experiences, and as a result feel accepted. The Big Mayflower Jam will affirm the value of young musicians’ creative ambitions, improve their social and emotional stability, and help bring our communities together.

Please help make your community a better place and give our young people this amazing experience by making your donation at Sharing is caring – if you share that you have supported this project on your own social media pages, it can help generate an average of £5 more in donations!

Family friendly community choir looking for singers
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Starting on Tuesday 24 September Southampton Music Hub is delighted to welcome a new family friendly choir into its community offer across the city.

Soton Voce are a welcoming community choir based at St Michael the Archangel Church on Bugle Street in the old part of Southampton City Centre. The church has a small play area for children at the back of the church so if you would like to drop in with little ones in tow you would be more than welcome to.  Open to families of all shapes and sizes; all ages, abilities and voices are welcome, you just need to enjoy singing.

Nia Collins, Soton Voce Musical Director, says:
Soton Voce enjoys covering a very wide range of styles, genres and languages with repertoire ranging from Byrd to the Beatles, West African chants to Welsh folk songs and even toe tapping gospel - always in glorious harmony! We do read from music during rehearsals but if you have limited experience of this do not worry we will guide you or provide the words if you would prefer to learn by ear (which many of us do). I look forward to seeing you there.”

Taster sessions and rehearsals will start on Tuesday 24 September and run from 11.30am – 12.30pm every week during term times.  The choir fees are £30 a term from January with a guaranteed 10 sessions per term.  All the sessions during the Autumn term will be free of charge taster sessions with donations towards the use of the church very welcome.

Southampton Music Hub launches a new year of life-changing music

September marks the start of a new school year, and see’s the launch of another year of life-changing music. In a year which commemorates a huge cultural landmark for the city — 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower on a world-changing journey — Southampton Music Hub is using the power of music to take the city on a journey which improves the health and wellbeing of children, young people, families and communities.

Coming Up in 2019–20

Symphony 400: The Voyage

Composer James Redwood will work with 120 young musicians in primary schools to create new musical ideas inspired by themes from the Mayflower Journey. This music will then be learnt and performed by young musicians at secondary schools across the city, to be performed at the Mayflower Theatre in March.

Big Sing: The Journey

Mayflower Theatre has commissioned two new musicals that are inspired by the Mayflower 400 story and celebrate the theme of journeys. Southampton Music Hub will take songs from the two musicals in to city schools ahead of two huge performances at Mayflower Theatre in March.

Mayflower Celebration Events

Save the dates in your diary now — Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2020 — as Southampton Music Hub shares the stage at the Mayflower Theatre with over 1,200 performers from schools and communities. Over two nights of performance and participation, there will be a celebration of the musical and personal journeys the performers have been on as they share and celebrate the life-changing power of music.

And much more…

The coming year is jam packed with musical adventures. From 1,500 taking their first musical steps in First Access, through music lessons and ensembles that give every child the opportunity progress and perform, the hub supports young musicians at every step of their journey. From the Synthesis project for electronic music, through to family music lessons and workshops, the hub supports music of all types. Working with Southampton Cultural Education Partnership and hub partners, the hub connects schools and cultural organisations in the city.

Celebrating a year of life-changing music for Southampton Music Hub
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On the last day of term, Southampton Music Hub is celebrating the end of an incredible year of life-changing music for the city’s young musicians in 2018-19.

The year was defined by one incredible story: a journey which started with 200+ of the city’s young musicians performing at the Royal Albert Hall in November; which saw that momentous event inspire over 40,000 hours of music-making with over 2,000 young musicians right across the city; and which ended with a huge celebration at Southampton Guildhall, with over 750 young musicians from over 45 schools performing in one day.


Of course, there have been countless other amazing stories this year. Here are a few highlights:

Kath Page, Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Southampton Music Hub has gone from strength to strength this year, and we have been overwhelmed by the support from schools and partners that make that happen. Together, we continue to combine the exceptional and the everyday: with inspirational events, like the Royal ALbert Hall and Guildhall this year, driving new ambitions; through to delivering the music lessons and regular music groups which help turn new aspirations in to meaningful, life-changing skills and connections.”

Getting Messy + Noisy at the Mela Festival

On Saturday 13 July, Southampton Music Hub brought Messy + Noisy — an exciting new paint drumming experience — to Southampton’s annual Mela festival.

The Mela, organised by Art Asia, brings together communities from across the city to celebrate a huge diversity of art, music and cultures.

The music hub team were joined by Chris and Debbie — Community Champions from local ASDA stores, who also donated paint the event — as well as over 75 children, parents, city councillors and more to make music and art together.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“We had an amazing time bringing Messy + Noisy to the Mela — one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar every year. Making music is such a great activity for families to do together, and adding paint to the mix only makes things more fun and creative. We were so grateful to be joined by Chris and Debbie from ASDA who very kindly gave us not just paint, but their time, energy and kindness, helping families get involved and enjoy making music together.”

iPad group from Kanes Hill School bring the excitement of electronic music to city education conference
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As part of Southampton Music Hub’s Youth Music funded Synthesis Project, a group of 12 young electronic musicians from year six at Kanes Hill school have spent the past ten weeks in an iPad club: working together to create their own, new pieces of music, and developing their team work skills along the way.

On Wednesday 26 June, they shared a debut performance of their exciting and unique musical creation with the education teams at Southampton City Council. Performing at Solent University’s Palmerston Theatre, the group amazed and delighted the audience with their brand new piece of music, all created and performed using iPads.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“The young musicians did an incredible job, showing all the teams at the education conference that music is a powerful tool for helping us overcome the challenges we face in life. At the start their ten weeks together, there was a huge unknown for everyone — participants and music leaders alike — but by working together towards a shared goal, inspired by creating great music, they faced up to many challenges, and in doing so, both created an incredible performance and learnt important life skills for the future.”

Southampton Music Hub celebrates the end of a year of inspirational music for the city

350 Young Musicians Perform Symphony 125 at Southampton Guildhall

On Tuesday 2 July 2019, Southampton Music Hub celebrated a momentous end to an unforgettable year of music for the city with an exciting day of music-making and performances at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall.

Following an unforgettable performance at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2018 — an event which saw over 200 of the city’s young musicians perform alongside members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO)  as part of a 600 strong ensemble at the Music for Youth Proms — Southampton Music Hub have spent the past six months sharing the music and inspirational experiences of this once-in-a-lifetime event with schools and communities across the whole city. 

Young ukulele players taking part in a massed playing event alongside 400 others.

In the afternoon, over 400 young musicians and singers — many of whom had only been learning their instrument of only a year — came together for a massed playing event, performing a special version of ‘Symphony 125’; the piece of music performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

In the evening, over 350 young musicians from across 45 city schools — over two thirds of the city’s schools — and thirteen music hub groups and bands performed an exciting programme of music to a packed out audience, including their own epic arrangement of ‘Symphony 125’, conducted by BSO CEO Dougie Scarfe and led by the song’s composer James Redwood.

Throughout July there will also be over 25 school concerts, involving nearly 1,500 young musicians. In total, over 2,000 young musicians will be involved in celebration events to mark the culmination of over 250 hours of workshops and lessons inspired by the Royal Albert Hall event.

Kath Page, Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Our celebrations this week have been an incredible way to mark the end of an inspirational year of music for the city. Huge moments like the ones we’ve enjoyed this year — from the Royal Albert Hall to Southampton Guildhall — are a great way to inspire our young musicians with huge new ambitions. And, thanks to the incredible work of our schools, music leaders, instrumental teachers and workshop leaders, Southampton Music hub is helping make those dreams a reality by helping every child in the city make life-changing music every week.”

On Twitter, Councillor Darren Paffey said:
“Such a privilege to be there to hear Southampton’s young musicians perform with such passion, sensitivity and commitment. The Guildhall was absolutely bursting with talent tonight! Well done to everyone involved”

Image Gallery:

Mental Health Awareness training helping music teachers and hub partners to better support young musicians in Southampton

On Friday 24 May — the final day of last half term — Southampton Music Services Staff and Southampton Music Hub partners came together for a Mental Health Awareness Training morning led by experienced mental health nurse and trainer Sonia Piper. The training gave music teachers and hub partners an introduction to the mental health challenges that young musicians in the city may be facing — including anxiety, depression and self harm — and began to explore ways that music-making can be used to help improve wellbeing for all.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
”This training was a brilliant next step in achieving the hub’s core mission of using music to improve the health and wellbeing of the children, young people and communities of Southampton. It was great to be joined by hub partners — including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Chinese Arts, Southampton City Council, SSMA, Sound Pop Academy and SoCo — who are all working together to bring the life-changing power of music to every child in the city.”

Learn to be mindful with a new song in the Everybody Sing Song Bank
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Today Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Hubs bring another brand new song to the Everybody Sing Song Bank. ‘Take a Walk Outside’ focusses on mindfulness and encourages singers to treat themselves with kindness. The song takes singers on a journey from negativity, frustration and anxiety through to finding a calm and peaceful mindset.

The song is accompanied by another new podcast episode, helping teachers and music leaders to teach the song to young singers with vocal warm ups , games and other ideas to bring the song to life.

Southampton Youth Strings enjoy a weekend of music and adventures

Southampton Youth Strings recently spent a week-end away at Fairthorne Manor, enjoying a challenging programme of rehearsals, including expert tuition on folk playing designed to develop their musical range, stamina and resilience.

Running alongside the music there was the chance to take part in some of Fairthorne’s adventurous activities, including a Vertical Assault course, Aerial Runway and Archery. The evenings provided lighter entertainment with games and a quiz.

The weekend finished with an informal concert to parents much enjoyed by all.

Families get messy and noisy at paint drumming workshop

On Saturday 23 February families from across Southampton came together at The Ashby Sure Start Centre to make a whole lot of mess, and a whole lot of noise together at Southampton Music Hub’s free paint drumming workshop. Playing, and splashing, along with songs from The Greatest Showman, Shawn Mendes and more, families turned their hits in to huge pieces of shared art by tapping splashing, smashing and crashing through pools and puddles of paint.

Some of the families taking part said:
”It was really fun — I can’t wait to do it again”
”It was messy and fun — I loved it”
”The paint brings a whole new dimension. It was fun, relaxed, and a great way to spend time together”

Bring the whole family to Messy and Noisy: an exciting new paint drumming experience this half term
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On Saturday 23 February, Southampton Music Hub is bringing an exciting new paint drumming experience to the Ashby Sure Start Centre. Messy + Noisy is a chance for families of all shapes and sizes to come together, to make a whole lot of mess and noise — sorry — music and art.

From the young to the young at heart, the Southampton Music Hub team will help everyone learn new drumming skills — turning hits in to huge pieces of shared art.

All paint and drumming equipment is provided, but participants are asked to wear clothes they’re happy to get (lots) or paint on.

Explore emotions and resilience with two new songs in the Everybody Sing Song Bank

In a bumper edition of the Everybody Sing Song Bank, Southampton Music Hub brings you two new health and well being themed songs this month.

The two songs — ‘Resilience’ and ‘Tell Me What Emotions Are’ — were written by Jo Downs: ‘Resilience’ encourages young singers to keep on trying at whatever they do; and ‘Tell Me What Emotions Are’ helps singers to use their voice in different ways, to express different emotions.

Both songs are accompanied by a short podcast episode for teachers and music leaders: each one including a new vocal warm up (the Warm Up of the Week) and a singing game or round (Simple Silly Starters) alongside hints and tips on how to get the best from each song.

Ukulele is "the best hobby... in my 70 plus years"
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When David Martin joined the Sholing Ukulele group two years ago, he wasn’t expecting to find a hobby that would open up a brand new world of music-making.

The group, run by Louise Owen, is open to Ukulele players of all ages, and abilities, and introduced David to what he describes as “probably the best hobby I’ve ever had in my 70 plus year”.

Since joining the group, David has expanded his musical interest, playing in two other bands, and helping to bring together other community ukulele players.

David says: “From this beginning, my Grandson and his godfather have also been inspired to pick up a ukulele and have both have caught the ukulele bug. We all go off to gigs together. I have counted that I have played at 42 gigs or jams in the last three months — about half were for charitable organisations. One was for Children in Need in which twelve of us from Uke Box Glory (one of the bands I play with) played live on BBC TV.”

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra delight audience of school children with anniversary celebration show

On Thursday 24 January pulls from across Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Hampshire came together at Portsmouth Guildhall for the annual school’s concert from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

The audience were entertained by music about celebration: commemorating the recent 125th anniversary for the BSO. The audience then became the performers and joined the BSO to sing the songs ‘Musical Fireworks’, written by James Redwood, and ‘Ode to Joy’, composed by Beethoven.

Kath Page, Manager for Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Hubs, says:
“This afternoon's concert was a wonderful opportunity for children to see and appreciate a full sized symphony orchestra and understand that music comes to life when you see it live. The interactive concert from BSO gave children the opportunity to really use their imagination and see instruments that they had never seen before.”

Helen Mead, Music Teacher at Shirley Warren School, says:
“The concert was a fantastic opportunity for over 60 pupils from our school to experience live orchestral music. They were engaged and excited throughout. The year 3 pupils are walking round school singing the Ode to Joy afterward.”


The BSO School’s Concert is one of many inspiring and inclusive live music experiences available to Southampton Schools on the Stadium Tour.

Get hands on with the Bassoon as part of the Beyond Ambition programme
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Southampton Music Services, lead partner for Southampton Music Hub, is offering future young musicians the opportunity to get hands on with the Bassoon in a free taster session on Saturday 2 February, from 1.30-3pm, at Woodlands Community College.

The free workshop is part of the Beyond Ambition programme: with workshops and masterclasses designed to get children and young people playing ‘endangered’ instruments.

This hands on Bassoon workshop is ideal for young musicians at the start of their musical journey — those currently learning an instrument with their whole class in First Access projects In2Music or SoundBites — and is also open to any future young musicians who might be interested in getting started on this exciting, and lesser known, member of the woodwind family of instruments. No experience is required.

Also part of the Beyond Ambition programme are two masterclasses for more experienced players:

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College Choir launch Southampton's Mayflower 400 Celebrations

On Monday 21 January, the Mayflower 400 project was officially launched in Southampton, and as part of the prestigious and very well attended event in Central Library, Richard Taunton Sixth Form College (RTSFC) Choir was invited to perform by Southampton Music Hub. The choir performed two pieces: Blow the Wind Southerly and I am Sailing. 

The Mayflower 400 commemorations seek to unite the Southampton community and surrounding areas, inspire creativity, drive economic growth, enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding and education of this pivotal moment in history. Driving this is the need to engage with young people and help them to understand Southampton’s relationship with the sea. 

Kath Page, Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“The Mayflower project is about a journey and what better start to our present Mayflower journey than to engage with the wider community through listening to young people singing about the sea. The choir performed beautifully and they should be extremely proud.”

Miriam Kenny, Head of Music and choir leader for RTSFC, says:
“We are delighted to have been asked to perform. I asked the pupils to research songs about the sea and these were two of the songs that they found through their research. One of our singers, Rosie Mellett, wrote and taught the arrangement of We Are Sailing. When asked why she had chosen this particular piece, Rosie said she loved the lyrics, and felt it represented how the Mayflower story is ongoing in Southampton and how culture will keep on going. It was fun to teach and everyone helped out.”