Posts in Ensembles
Celebrating 250,000 inspirational hours of music

As pupils, teachers and families across the city enjoy the final week of the academic year, Southampton Music Hub is celebrating a record-breaking year of life-changing music: a year that includes over 22,000 people taking part in 250,000 inspirational hours of music in workshops, events and performances from the Stadium Tour, Everybody Sing and City Ensembles.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
"It's been another incredible year for music in Southampton. The hub's achievements are only possible thanks to all the schools, staff, partners and families across the city that share the belief that making music makes lives better, and work together to share that life-changing power of music with every child."

Celebrate the end of the year with Southampton Youth Orchestra's Summer Concert

On Saturday 30 June, Southampton Youth Orchestra will celebrate the end of their musical year with a Summer Concert at Turner Sims Southampton. Starting at 7.30pm, the programme will include Tragic Overture by Brahms and Symphony No. 6  by Motzart. Also featured on the night will be soloist performances from Emmy Huang on Violin (as part of Introducton and Rondon Capriccioso by Saint-Saens) and Oliver Veal on Clarinet (performing Concerto for Clarinet by Weber). 

Tickets cost £9 for adults, £5 for concessions and £1 for under 18s. 

Eighteen string players join Laurel Swift for a creative folk music workshop
Folk musician Laurel Swift leads a workshop with Southampton's young string players

Folk musician Laurel Swift leads a workshop with Southampton's young string players

On Sunday 17 June, young musicians from Southampton Music Hub’s string ensembles and beyond were invited to take part in a day-long folk music workshop lead by traditional musician and dancer, Laurel Swift.

The participants had the choice of starting with a slow, melancholic Andro (French dance tune) or an upbeat English Jig: they chose the former! All of the music, harmonies and chords were taught by ear. Once the children had a firm grasp of the tune, as well as various ways to harmonise it, they split into groups to develop their own arrangement ideas using the techniques they had learnt.

Following a round of performances and a short lunch break, they learnt a ‘lumpy’ English Jig called “The Rogues March” which was then arranged for the group as a whole, with each musician bringing their own ideas to the performance.

The day ended with an informal performance to friends and family.

Maya, Vita and Zoey, members of Elgar/SYS said:
“The tunes were really fun. We really liked playing in small groups because we got to meet new people and experiment with new ideas and ways of playing our instruments.We learnt the importance of feeling the pulse, especially in dance music. We also really enjoyed playing by ear and not needing to use music.The feedback from peers was really useful, and Laurel was an amazing teacher.”

Chris Nichols, Director of Acorn Strings said:
“It was really great to see all of the participants working so creatively when developing their arrangements. Every performance was unique and everyone showed a different side to their playing. The day was a wonderful introduction to traditional folk music, and an experience I hope the children take into their own music making. Thank you to Laurel for making the day such a success.”

For more about Laurel Swift visit her website.

For further folk music resources visit the English Folk Dance and Song Society website.

Southampton Youth Strings to perform at Ikea
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On Monday 11 June 2018, Southampton Youth Strings (SYS) will perform a free concert at Ikea Restaurant. Starting at 4.45pm, the 30 minute set will include popular and classical pieces of music. 

Over the past few year, the performance has become a well received annual event, with some of Southampton's most talented young string players sharing their talents with shoppers and diners from the local community and beyond.

Christa Porter, Ensemble Director for SYS, says:
"Southampton Youth Strings are delighted to be invited back to Ikea again this year — we're very grateful for the opportunity Ikea give the city's talented young string players to share their music with the community."

Learn to play 'I Love Rock and Roll' at a free Family Rock Jam workshop on Saturday

Family Rock Jam returns on Saturday, with a chance to learn the massive rock anthem, 'I Love Rock and Roll' by Joan Jett.  Playing alongside house band Groove Merchant, it doesn't matter if you're picking up a guitar for the first time, or are an experienced player — anyone can join in!

Suitable for families of all shapes and sizes — bring your own guitar, or use one of the free guitars provided!

Young Brass and Wind Musicians delight crowds at free, open-air, Bank Holiday performances

On Sunday 6 May 2018, in the bank holiday sun, young musicians in Southampton Wind Band and Southampton Youth Brass Band delighted the crowds that gathered outside the old city walls, on the steps, balconies and restaurants that make up the esplanade at Westquay. Performing a wide range of music, including songs from musicals and traditional brass and wind band pieces, the music filled the air, entertaining shoppers, diners, and the families who sat and watched.

Matt Brombley, Interim Hub Manager at Southampton Music Hub, says:
"It was a huge pleasure to watch the hub's young musicians performing at the weekend. They sounded spectacular. The bank holiday weekend is a special time for families, and so for our young musicians (and their families) to give up their time to share the joy of music with other families in the city is very particularly special."

Thirteen young brass players get an inspirational day of music with the Royal Marines School of Music
Young brass musicians from Southampton, alongside Southampton Music Hub teacher, Jon Hanchett and other musicians from the Low Brass Day

Young brass musicians from Southampton, alongside Southampton Music Hub teacher, Jon Hanchett and other musicians from the Low Brass Day

On Saturday 5th May, 13 students, along with Southampton Music Hub teacher, John Hanchett traveled to the Royal Marines School Of Music in Portsmouth for their Low Brass Day. The day, which was organised by the Royal Marine Band Service and the British Trombone Society brought four of the countries finest low brass players together with local musicians. Around 100 Tuba, Euphonium, Baritone, Bass and Tenor Trombones started the morning by forming a huge ensemble creating a loud and majestic sound. 

Each of the four international soloists led masterclasses, focusing on different aspects of brass playing. Bass Trombonist, Simon Minshall led a session exploring the bass trombonist role within Wagner’s Ring cycle, wowing people with his Contrabass Trombone playing. Robbie Harvey shared his jazz background, giving tips of how to explore improvisation. Robbie also performed several pieces backed by a  jazz combo from the Royal Marines.

Following a break for lunch, when students took the opportunity to look around School of Music and visit the trade stands — enjoying having a go at playing Soprano trombones and sousaphones among other instruments, Tuba virtuoso, Les Neish gave an interesting session focusing on advanced breathing techniques, and included them in daily practice.

Finally world renowned Euphonium star, David Childs delivered a session on performance skills, taking about presentation. To conclude the day, all those taking part formed the large low brass ensemble again playing a piece composed for this event which featured the four fabulous soloists.

John Hanchett says:
“It was an inspirational event, an utterly fantastic opportunity to hear playing of the highest caliber. I’m sure all the students will be taking tips from today into their own practice and performance. The young musicians had a fantastic day, and were also a credit to their parents and schools with how they engaged with this Low Brass Day."

Young musicians to host free, open air concerts at Westquay this bank holiday weekend
Young Brass players at Music in the City

Young Brass players at Music in the City

Southampton Wind Band and Southampton Youth Brass Band are hosting two open air concerts at Westquay Esplanade this bank holiday weekend. Performing in front of the old city walls, and as part of Westquays "Sunday Brunch" series, these free concerts, taking place on Sunday at 1pm and 2pm, are the perfect way to enjoy (what hopefully will be) the sunny long weekend ahead. 

Other performers in the Sunday Brunch series include LoveSoul Choir — one of Southampton Music Hub's partners — performing on Sunday 27 May.

Orchestra Pyramid concert brings together talented young musicians from across the city
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On Saturday 24 March 2018, young orchestral musicians from across the city will come together for an inspirational evening of music at Central Hall. Featuring performances from Acorn Strings, Elgar, Southampton Youth Strings (SYS), Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCS) and Southampton Youth Orchestra (SYO) the evening will also feature a special guest performance from Airplay, the city's foundation youth wind band.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, £2 for children under 16, and a special family ticket (two adults and two children) costs £20. Advance price tickets can be reserved up until 3pm on Friday 23 March, by contacting the Southampton Music Hub office.

Forty-five of the Hub's youngest string players enjoy a morning of creative music making.

On Saturday 24th February, members of Acorn Strings and Elgar, the Hub's two beginner strings ensembles, spent the morning in a workshop with workshop leader Neil Valentine. 

The day started with a few warm-up games to help the children feel some of the rhythms they were about to play. They then learnt to play "Ah Ya Zeem", a traditional Arabic tune, before exploring different ways to change their performance of the music. The players also had the chance to visit the Southampton Youth Orchestra mid-rehearsal, to experience the sound of a full symphony orchestra and see how they rehearsed. Finally, they worked as an ensemble to turn the short tune into a five-minute work adding to the original piece with their own ideas for creating soundscapes using different techniques on their instruments. 

Chris Nichols, Director of Acorn Strings, says:
"It was really exciting to see the children work creatively without the confines of sheet music and an orchestral setting! It was also a good opportunity for the children to get to know each other better, outside of the weekly rehearsals. Several of the children played the music to each other as soon as they arrived at the next rehearsal!"

National success for two of Southampton's gifted young musicians

Two Southampton Music Hub Award Holder students, tuba player Morro Barry and bassoon player Lucy Gowans, are celebrating after national recognition for their musical talents. 

Morro Barry, tuba player

Morro Barry, tuba player

It was after taking part in a project with the Chineke! Orchestra in November that Morro, aged 13, was invited to audition for the Chineke! Junior Orchestra: an orchestra run by the Chineke! Foundation, which supports young Black and Minority Ethnic classical musicians across Europe. After a successful Skype interview with Chinke! founder, Chi Chi Okinawa, Morro has been invited to join the Chineke! Junior Orchestra this Spring.

Lucy Gowan, bassoon player

Lucy Gowan, bassoon player

After auditioning from the National Children's Orchestra at the end of last year, Lucy, aged 11, has been offered places in both the under 12s national orchestra and the regional orchestra. Both orchestras are run by the highly acclaimed National Children's Orchestra, which provides a world class foundation in orchestra performance and musicianship to musically talented children in the UK aged 7-14.

Zoe Hunting, Ensembles Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
"I'm delighted that two Award Holder students from our city's youth orchestras and bands are also being recognised at a national level: the whole team offer their congratulations to the students on all the hard work that has led to their success. Southampton Music Hub is dedicated to supporting all young musicians to reach their fullest potential, and thanks to the support of music teachers and the Award Holder scheme, it is wonderful to see two young players reach such great heights of musical development."

Both Morro and Lucy will be appearing as soloists in the Southampton Concert Wind Band performance on Sunday 29 April at All Saint's Church in Botley."

Musical Theatre Workshops with Perform For Life

Southampton Music Hub is now offering Musical Theatre singing workshops in partnership with Perform For Life, a performing arts education organisation based in the South / South West. In group workshops participants will sing popular Musical Theatre songs, learning singing technique, harmony singing and other elements of Musical Theatre, including movement and acting through song.

Katrina Simon, founder of Perform for Life, says:
"Perform For Life creates opportunities for children and young people in the city to take part in Musical Theatre tuition in a group setting, making it an affordable way for participants to learn new songs, pick up new skills and meet like-minded friends. Musical Theatre is a hugely popular genre and Perform For Life uses the storytelling nature of the genre to give children and young people performance skills they can use both on and off the stage." 

Workshops will be at Regents Park Community College, every other Tuesday after school. 

Hundreds join in free workshops and performances at the Music Fayre

On Saturday 27 January 2018, over 400 children, young people and adults, from all across the city, came together at Central Hall to take part in free workshops and performances as part of Southampton Music Hub's Music Fayre.

The day opened with Acorn and Elgar string groups performing together for a growing audience of families, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton, who then officially opened the Music Fayre. After the official opening, the Mayor and Mayoress joined Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and over 150 players of all ages and abilities, picking up a "Bamboo Tamboo", to be part of the biggest open-access, Family Orchestra the city has ever heard. 

Throughout the day free music workshops and performances included choirs — Delicious Sounds, Family Singing, Sing Out and Sing Force — as well as community music groups and ensembles — Pulse8, Ukulele Groups, Folk Active and Family Rock Jam — and families were also greeted by performances from some of the city's most talented "Award Holder" musicians. Southampton Music Hub, Hayes Music, CoMA South and Friends of Southampton Youth Orchestra also hosted stalls on the day.

Matt Brombley, Interim Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub says:
"It was an incredible pleasure to host the Music Fayre again this year: proudly sharing Southampton's diverse musical communities; and inspiring families to take part in making music together. With free Family Music workshops now travelling around the city throughout the Spring, families of all shapes and sizes can find out how making music helps make lives better!"

Join a jam packed programme of music at the Music Fayre this weekend

On Saturday 27 January 2018, Central Hall plays host to a jam-packed programme of music workshops, performances and stalls at Southampton Music Hub's Music Fayre. Joined by hub partners as well as local music and arts organisations, families of all shapes and sizes can come and join in with music activities suitable for all ages and abilities.

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Be part of free music workshops and performances at the Music Fayre this weekend

This weekend, families of all shapes and sizes can be part of the free music workshops and performances at Southampton Music Hub's Music Fayre. From 11am-3pm on Saturday 27 January 2018, Southampton Music Hub will joined at Centrall Hall by hub partners and local music and arts organisations to proudly share Southampton's diverse musical communities.

Matt Brombley, Interim Hub Manager at Southampton Music Hub says:
“This year is the biggest year ever for families to make music together in Southampton. Launching at the Music Fayre, free Family Orchestra, Family Singing and Family Rock Jam workshops will mean that players and singers of all ages and abilities, can share the life-changing power of making music together. With the help of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Fiona Funnell, and Groove Merchant, families of all shapes and sizes can find out how making music can help make lives better!”

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2017 in review
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A message from Matt, Nia and Zoe, Southampton Music Hub Managers:

The start of the new school year in 2017 has seen some incredible musical moments in Southampton:

  • 1,500 new pupils took their first music steps in First Access
  • 5,000 children learning music every week
  • over 6,600 children taking part in an inspiring musical experience

As we share some of our highlights from the start of this year, we also look forward to 2018, working with schools, partners and families to bring life-changing music to every child in our city.

Southampton Music Hub longlisted in the MEC Music Education Awards 2017

Southampton Music Hub has been longlisted, alongside five other music hubs, for the MEC Music Education Awards 2017, recognising the hub's imaginative, creative, ambitious and inspirational approach to music education. The shortlist will be announced in December, and the final awards will be given in February 2018.

Matt Brombley, Interim Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
"The whole team are delighted to have been longlisted for this award, as recognition of the excellence we achieve together. It is an honour to help lead an incredible partnership of teachers, schools, families and music organisations from across the region, as we work towards our shared purpose of bringing life-changing music to every child in our city."

SYCS to be joined by city singers for a Christmas concert not to be missed
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On Saturday 9 December 2017, Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCS) will be joined by the Splash of Red ladies choir and singers from Southampton Music Service for a Christmas concert not to be missed. 

Anna Robinson, Director of SYCS, says:
"After a hugely successful tour concert with Splash of Red ladies choir, SYCS are delighted to, once again, be joined by the choir on a return visit this Christmas. The concert is going to feature a wide range of festive favourites including an exciting rendition of O come Emmanuel also featuring Southampton Music Service singing students."

World leading Cory Band inspire young brass players

On Saturday 4 November 2017, Southampton Youth Brass Band (SYBB) were joined by members of the world leading Cory Band for a day of expert workshops ahead of a joint concert together at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church in the evening. The day included sectional masterclasses, with each group of instruments working with expert players from Cory to develop their parts in the two pieces the bands would perform together in the concert later. The five Cory Band members also performed pieces of music and answered questions from members of SYBB about their incredible experiences touring the world as renowned musicians. The evening concert, attended by over 300 thrilled audience members, gained the attention of the Daily Echo with a glowing review of the evening.

A parent of an SYBB member says:
"My son had a fantastic day and was thoroughly inspired by the workshop and by the live performance, both watching it and participating in it. We were amazed by the standard that Paul attains with the band and the strong relationship he has with its members, parents and the brass community which enable days and evenings like that to be so successful. I don't think we could have fitted many more people into the church. Our son was positively buzzing afterwards and spent most of the afternoon practising which was lovely!”

Paul Hart, Director of SYBB says:
"The chance to play with the number one Brass Band in the world was something that I would never have thought would be possible. But last weekend, that’s exactly what happened. Dreams and life long memories were certainly made on that day, thanks to the amazing Cory Band. It was a chance to learn from some of the best players in the world on their chosen instruments and a day that will, I’m sure, be one they will never forget.”

SYCS to perform at charity concert

On Saturday 11 November, Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCS) will be part of a charity concert, performing alongside New Music Makers, a 50 piece choir from Hedge End, to raise funds for Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity.

Anna Robinson, Conductor for SYCS says:
"This is not only going to be a fantastic evening of music making for a great cause but there will also be an art exhibition in the interval presenting the work of local artist Emily Quick."

Matt Brombley, Interim Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub says:
"This concert is a great example of why we invest so much in our ensembles: giving our young people vital opportunities to contribute to, and make a difference in, their communities and our city."

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and £5 for children and can be reserved at St Paul's Church Office or by emailing