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Hampshire Music Service

Hampshire Music Service News

A summary of our press releases throughout the last few years are shown below. Have a look at all the fabulous events, projects and schemes we have been a part of - you can't deny the quality and diversity of what HMS brings to the young people of Hampshire!

An ‘out of this world’ musical performance

On Tuesday 8 March more than 170 children from 10 special schools and schools with special needs provision, across Hampshire, joined together recently for an outer space themed sing along performance.  

The event, organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, told the story of a fallen star and the adventures it has getting back to its place in the sky before it lost its shine. Between each song, schools performed their own dance and musical performances, culminating in the finale built around a song that had the message ‘everybody has a place to shine’ at its centre.  

Choirs of children from special schools in Basingstoke, Fareham, Havant, Test Valley and Winchester - sang songs they had been rehearsing since the beginning of the year. They were supported by the Baycroft School Brass Band.  The space-themed story was inspired by Tim Peake’s own space adventure to the International Space Station that many schools are following, and was linked to key areas of learning about space from the science national curriculum.

Have you been thinking of joining a Hampshire ensemble?

Then watch this video - current members are ready to convince you!

We will be asking current and ex members to share their experiences using #HMSensembles over the coming months to prove why it's a no-brainer...

To learn more about our ensembles and which are in your area and at your current stage/grade - visit our ensembles page

Hampshire and Germany in harmony to celebrate peace

A special concert celebrating peace and commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I will bring together young musicians from Hampshire and Giessen in Germany.

Organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, and to be hosted by the County Council’s Chairman, Councillor Jonathan Glen, the performance will take place on Saturday 30 January, 7.30pm, in Winchester Cathedral.

Featuring talented musicians from the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra and school choirs, together with the Giessen Liebigschule Choir from Germany, the highlight of the evening will be the world premiere performance of ‘The Lost Wand’, by Francis Pott.

Commenting on the forthcoming concert, Councillor Glen, said: “This concert is a wonderful way to commemorate the centenary of World War I. The participation of young people from Germany, joining those from Hampshire is particularly poignant. In addition to an evening of first class musical entertainment, I am particularly looking forward to the opportunity for people to come together in this celebration of peace, to reflect and remember. I urge people to get their tickets, for what promises to be a very moving performance.”

The Lost Wand’ has been composed especially for the Chairman’s Concert and has been commissioned by the County Council, Arts Council England and The Friends of the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra.

Comprising songs to be sung in both English and German, the performance aims to portray, through music, issues of war, peace and humanity – issues that are so relevant today. Also on the programme will be music by Britten, Brahms, Mauersberger, Shostakovich, Mozart and Beethoven.

Performing the challenging and wide-ranging musical score will be around 300 young musicians and singers from the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, and a massed choir formed with young people from Henry Beaufort School, King’s School, Perins School, Wyvern School and Barton Peveril College.


Children fill Winchester Cathedral with festive cheer

Special Celebration 2015
Special Celebration 2015

Over 230 children from 18 special schools and schools with special units across Hampshire were joined together for a festive musical celebration at Winchester Cathedral on Friday 3 December 2015.

This annual event, organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, re-tells the nativity story with a modern twist, combining traditional Christmas carols with modern songs as well as readings by the schoolchildren.

The service will begin with a procession of banners representing all the schools taking part. Children and helpers dressed as angels will carry candles to the altar. The service will then continue in themed sections with the children in costumes processing as innkeepers, shepherds and kings with other Christmas symbols.

Music will be provided by the Baycroft School Brass Band, the Hampshire County Youth Choirs and Hampshire Music Service award holder soloist Connor Bates on Cello.

Longdown Activity Farm supported the event by bringing Max the donkey to the event and then a young goat to support the Christmas storytelling.

Region Named Best for Youth Jazz in the Country for second year running

For the second year in a row Southampton Music Hub and Hampshire Music Hub are celebrating winning a prestigious national award at the 2015 Music Educations Awards: the Will Michael Award for Jazz Education, held at the Royal College of Music on 1 December..

Presented by UK Jazz Services , the Will Michael Award for Jazz Education recognises the contributions of both music hubs to introducing jazz into musiceducation,  and the outstanding commitment to young jazz musicians. The joint Southampton and Hampshire bid fought off many  other regional authorities to be named the best in the UK.

The Music Education Awards celebrate the work of hubs across the UK that demonstrates imaginative, inclusive and all round high-quality music provision.

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “What a triumph for both Hubs that I know are incredibly committed and work very hard - a very well deserved award. It is encouraging to see Hubs working together to widen the opportunities for young people to learn to broaden their experiences in music. This is a fantastic achievement and both Southampton and Hampshire Music Hubs and members of the youth jazz groups should be very proud in achieving national recognition.”

Provision for young jazz musicians in the region has reached an all-time high due to significant investment and a string of exciting initiatives. Alongside several outstanding youth jazz groups, including the nationally renowned Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra (SYJO),  young musicians have enjoyed participating in free jazz improvisation workshops, composition masterclasses and working alongside leading professionals.

There has also been a drive to help teach jazz more effectively with support for teachers and better links with experts from the University of Southampton and the Turner Sims Concert Hall. All this has helped contribute to young musicians from the region achieving success on the national stage with ex-alumni now playing with prestigious acts such as Jamie Cullum, Portico Quartet and the BBC Big Band.

800 young musicians invited to Royal Albert Hall

MFY RAH Wyvern College

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service is bringing together more than 800 children to perform at the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November.

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said he was proud that the county will be so well represented.

He said: “I am immensely proud that the county will be represented so magnificently at such an auspicious event and in such a prestigious and iconic venue.
“The contribution the Music Service makes to young people’s all round education is significant and important, both to driving up

MFY RAH Eggars Sch

standards in our schools and for encouraging social interaction and integration among our young students.”

The prestigious event will take place at the famous London venue from 23-25 November and performers will come together for the opening night from a number of groups, including an over 500 strong choir made up of Hampshire school children and members of the Hampshire County Youth Choirs.

MFY RAH Laura Jurd

Music will be supplied by members of the Hampshire County Youth Orchestras and Hampshire County Youth Bands. A visual dance performance has been especially choreographed by Wessex Dance Academy.

The composition, The Mary Rose, is by the local late composer, Martin Read; from Winchester, originally commissioned by Hampshire Music Service for their millennium celebrations. Two other instrumental compositions will accompany The Mary Rose

MFY RAH Catherine Upfold

by ex Hampshire Music Hub Scholars Catherine Upfold, from Andover, and Laura Jurd, from Medstead , now operating out of London, respectively. Both were supported by Martin Read. Laura Jurd was one of just seven international young artists selected for BBC Radio 3’s enormously prestigious New Generation Artists scheme 2015-17.

Hampshire Choirs' new setup calls for more voices

HCYC - New choir image

Young singers, from the age of five upwards, are invited to join one of Hampshire County Council's Music Service vocal ensembles.

The county is adding a fourth choir to its already very successful trio of existing choirs in response to increasing demand, from both children and young people.

Membership is open to all pupils, up to the age of 19 years, who are in full-time school or college education. Potential members, for any of the choirs, are asked to register their interest as soon as possible in order for music service staff to hear them sing. Priority will be given first to Hampshire residents and then to non-Hampshire pupils who attend Hampshire schools and colleges.

The choirs sing regularly at events in venues such as Winchester Cathedral and The Anvil, Basingstoke. In recent years, performances have included collaborations with the BBC Singers and tours to Italy and Canada. Rehearsals take place during term time on Friday evenings at The United Church, Winchester.

The four choirs are:

  • Hampshire County Youth Choir (HCYC)
    - main choir, focusing on singers in year 10 (from age 14 years) and above who are exceptional younger singers

  • Hampshire County Youth Training Choir (HCYTC)
    - the new addition - will be run in parallel with the main choir, focusing on singers in year 7 (from age 11 years) and above who are exceptional younger singers

  • Hampshire County Youth Junior Choir (HCYJC)
    - focused on singers in year 4 and above (from age 8 years)

  • Hampshire County Foundation Choir (HCFC) - focused on singers in year1 (from age 5 years) and above

For more information, and to register your interest, contact Hampshire Music Service:
023 8065 2037, or email

··Hampshire County Youth Choirs

Children raise the roof of the Royal Albert Hall

BBC Ten Pieces Prom - 2015

Over 400 Hampshire school children enjoyed a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing on the national stage at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday (18 July).

Singing a specially arranged version of Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’, 400 Hampshire primary school pupils schools joined hundreds of other children from all over the UK to perform in BBC Music’s ‘Ten Pieces’ concert

As one of the BBC’s 240 Ten Pieces Champions, Hampshire County Council’s Music Service has been working with 13 junior and primary schools on this piece of work since the autumn, culminating in Saturday’s performance on the national stage.

BBC Ten Pieces is a new, national initiative involving 21,000 schools, led by BBC Learning and BBC performing groups. The aim is to introduce a generation of children to a range of classical music, inspiring them to use the music as a stimulus for their own creativity.

Children were able to respond to a choice of one of ten pieces of classical music and develop their own interpretation of the selected piece through music composition, dance, digital art and other art forms, as well as taking part in performances of the pieces.

The piece that the BBC Singers chose and invited specially selected champions, such as Hampshire Music Service, to participate in was written by George Frideric Handel for the coronation of George II in 1727, and is performed at every coronation since then.

BBC Ten Pieces has also had the involvement of the five BBC Orchestras and the BBC Singers as well as celebrities such as Barney Harwood from Blue Peter and childrens’ presenters Dick and Dom.

Have a look at some of the Twitter activity on HCC's Storify...

List of the schools from the Hampshire County Council area that participated:

  • ·All Saints Junior School, Fleet

  • ·Alverstoke CE Junior School

  • ·Bartley CE Junior School

  • ·Berrywood Primary School (Hedge End)

  • ·Hale Primary School (Fordingbridge)

  • ·Kings Copse Primary School (Hedge End)

  • ·Knightwood Primary School (Knightwood,Valley Park, Chandler’s Ford area)

  • ·Orchard Junior School (Dibden Purlieu)

  • ·Otterbourne Primary School

  • ·Romsey Abbey Primary School

  • ·Scantabout Primary School (Chandler’s Ford)

  • ·St Mary Bourne Primary School (Andover)

  • ·St Mary's CE Junior School (Old Basing)

  • ·The Crescent Primary School (Eastleigh)

Diamond anniversary celebrated in music

GFYO - 60 anniversary concert 2015

The Gosport and Fareham Youth Orchestra, one of Hampshire Music Service’s many successful music groups for young people, has celebrated its 60th anniversary with a concert of ensemble favourites.

Councillor Peter Edgar, Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council, said: “It was one of the most spectacular concerts I have ever attended –absolutely marvellous to see present and past members of the orchestra, some 250 of them, playing together and recalling the past 60 years.

“Hampshire Music Service is an excellent example of the quality services provided by the County Council. The contribution the service makes to young people’s all round education is significant and is key both to driving up standards in our schools and to encouraging social interaction and integration among our young students.”

Among the highlights of the concert, that took place in Fareham’s Ferneham Hall, was the premiere performance of ‘Diamond Celebration’. The orchestral score was composed specially for the event by Tom Guyer, a former percussion member of the orchestra and past winner of the Hampshire Music Service’s Composition Award.

Now rehearsing at Henry Cort, Fareham and with more than 150 members, the orchestra continues to go from strength to strength and will be touring Belgium this summer.

A short history of the Gosport and Fareham Youth Orchestras:

Founded in 1955 as a string orchestra, the Fareham Junior Orchestra, by Louis Fussell, a stringteacheremployed by Hampshire County Council, the orchestra evolved over the years with the support and guidance of parents and teachers.

Soon there were regular concerts in aid of charity and, in 1958, parent Ben Barnard began a 32 year relationship with the orchestra providing outstanding administrative support, and his contribution is still remembered through the annual Ben Barnard concert.

During the 1960s, under the leadership of Mavis Masters, a music teacher at Gosport Grammar School, and then of John Witham, who became conductor in 1968 the orchestra evolved from a string to a full symphony orchestra.

During the mid-1970s the orchestra had grown to around 80 young musicians and in 1977 became part of Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, taking on the new title of Gosport and Fareham Area Youth Orchestra.

In 1977, the orchestra became part of the Hampshire Music Service and today consists of a symphony orchestra, concert band, plus training groups for strings and wind instruments.

Hampshire primary schools treated to a musical prom at The Anvil

Primary Prom 2015 - Trolls

Around 1600 Hampshire school children were treated to a free musical performance at the Anvil, Basingstoke, for the annual Hampshire Music Service’s Primary Proms 30 June 2015.

Aimed to musically entertain and inspire primary school children, this event is regularly oversubscribed. The concert (10.30am), repeated in the afternoon (1.15pm), was an hour long and compered by Hampshire Music Service Primary Music Consultants Liz Davies and Nicky Watling.

The programme included performances from Hampshire Music Service’s own Youth String Quartet, Youth Percussion ensemble and Gosport and Fareham Youth Concert Band (who are celebrating their 60 year anniversary in July). These were supported by the Hounsdown Vocal Group and All Saints Church of England (Aided) Junior School Orchestra and Choir. Two mass sing-alongs were led by the Primary Music Consultants and the final items included pieces related to the national BBC Ten Pieces project for which the Hampshire Music is a registered champion. Content highlights also included a composition by an All Saints young pianist Bolun Tan called Down the Rabbit Hole and a percussion piece, Rebound, using basketballs (!).

Eastleigh Area Schools Orchestra celebrate their
40 year anniversary

EASO - 40 anniversary 2015

The Eastleigh Area Schools Orchestra (EASO) invited ex members to join in celebrations Monday 29 June 2015 at Thornden Hall, Chandlers Ford, their usual rehearsal venue. The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Eastleigh Des and Veronica Scott were in attendance and also joined ex members in a reception before the concert.

The first half of the concert showcased the talent throughout the ensembles, from the Trainers Group through to the String Quartet, with members’ favourites across the programme. The second half welcomed 20 or so ex members and staff to build a larger whole orchestra with pieces played that appeared on the first ever EASO programme – La Rejouissaance from Music for the Royal Fireworks, by George Frederich Handel.

EASO was founded by Pearl Mace and David Leverton, who were in attendance on the night, as a full orchestra in 1975. There have been many changes of staff and instrument groups over the years. Currently there is a wind orchestra (EAWO) of over 50 led by Gabrielle Horne and a string orchestra (EASTO) of 25 led by Sue Leonard. EASO has achieved much in their 40 years, but more recently at the Southampton Music Festival in the first weekend of March 2015, EASTO took part in the secondary string orchestra class on the Saturday and received a commendation mark of 86. They also received the Assumpta Brady cup for most promising group ahead of 3 other string orchestras. EAWO took part in the youth ensemble class on the Sunday and received a commendation mark of 86 and were invited to perform at the Festival Concert on Saturday 21 March. Unfortunately that is during their annual residential weekend at Avon Tyrrell, New Forest. They also had some members taking part in individual classes, with great success.   

Audition call for Hampshire’s  talented young musicians

HCYO - French Horn section

Accomplished young brass, string, woodwind and percussion musicians are invited to join one of Hampshire County Council’s Musical Ensembles.

Potential members are asked to register their interest in attending an audition for an opportunity to join the county’s Youth Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Brass Bands, for the next academic year starting in September 2015. Membership is open to all pupils up to the age of 19 years who are in full-time school/college education. However, priority will be given first to Hampshire residents, and then to non-Hampshire residents attending Hampshire schools and colleges).

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service will be holding auditions in July (dates and venues currently being finalised) as existing members will be moving on to higher education or starting their careers, leaving a number of exciting opportunities, for students at Hampshire schools and colleges, to make their mark.

The current vacancies are:

  • Hampshire County Youth Orchestra

       Bassoons (grade 7 and above)

       Double Basses (grade 4 and above)

       Percussion, two places (grade 5 and above)

       Orchestral Pianist, to cover Piano / Celeste / Harpsichord (grade 7 and above)

       Violins and Violas (grade 5 and above)

  • Hampshire County Youth Wind Ensemble

       Wind, Brass (particularly French Horn), and Percussion (grade 4 to post grade 8 standard)

  • Hampshire County Youth Brass Band

       Brass and Percussion (grade 3 minimum to post grade 8).

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire’s County Council’s Executive Member for Education, commented: “Our ensembles are renowned for their high standard of musical ability, resulting in exciting performances and for young musicians to be part of that is one of the best experiences that they can get. Joining one of our ensembles a fantastic opportunity to broaden their musical experience and seize the chance to play music to audiences, not just in Hampshire, but all over the UK and abroad. Aside from the benefit of being able to hone their talent, playing regularly in an ensemble offers social benefits too and is an enormous confidence booster. A whole new world of musical discovery is there for those budding young musicians. ”

For more information and to register your interest for an audition,
contact Hampshire Music Service on 023 8065 2037, or email

Celebrating 25 years of the Havant Clarinet and Saxophone Choir


Havant Clarinet and Saxophone Choir, an ensemble managed by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a celebratory concert at Waterlooville’s Merchistoun Hall.

The choir’s thirty-six members are all aged 11-19 and attend local schools and colleges. The celebratory concert featured some of their favourite pieces, including: ‘Pink Panther’; Gordon Goodwin’s ‘Sing, Sang, Sung’, for which they received an Honours award at this year’s Portsmouth Music Festival; and ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’, which was performed at the choir’s first concert 25 years ago.

The Havant Clarinet and Saxophone Choir is one of 56 ensembles managed by Hampshire Music Service, which provides a range of music education and support to Hampshire schools. Learn more about Hampshire Music Service at

The choir takes part in a range of festivals and concerts throughout the year, and can next be seen at the Waterlooville Music Festival. They will perform on Saturday 13 June in Waterlooville precinct, followed by a concert at St George’s Church on Thursday 18 June, where they will be joined by the Havant Area Guitar Orchestra. For more details of this event visit

Hampshire’s ukulele world record broken, halfway around the globe

The Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Colin Davidovitz, has expressed his congratulations after Hampshire’s world record for the largest ukulele ensemble was broken this month, in Tahiti.

Over 4,000 participants gathered at Tahiti’s International Ukulele Festival on Saturday 11 April, breaking the record set by Hampshire Music Education Hub last July, where 2,370 ukulele players gathered in St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton.

Councillor Davidovitz took part in Hampshire’s winning attempt last year. Commenting on the new record, he said: “Our win was a great achievement while it lasted, and one which can only have inspired more young people to start their musical adventure by mastering the ukulele.

“I recall how remarkable it was to see our 2,370 participants last year, but to have more than 4,000 must have been something wonderful to witness. I’ve already heard about another record breaking attempt taking place in Los Angeles this month, so I look forward to seeing whether they can do any better!

“Hampshire County Council’s Music Service has already expanded the quantity and range of instruments it offers and is actively supporting the many more schools that are making musical study and practice available to young people across Hampshire.“

As a result of Hampshire's previously held record, ukulele is still strong in the county, with ensembles and performances supported by Music Service staff...

Above: Grange Junior School. Below: Peel Common Junior School


Ballard of the Boy Captain – celebrating the history of a Hampshire-born 19th century British Army captain using music…

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service is working with a number of national, academic and local organisations in order to support Hampshire schools to engage in local history and compose and perform a new folk song with the help of BBC
award-winning folk band, Bellowhead.


The project, funded by the Arts & Humanties Research Council, will be built around a Hampshire-born solder, Audley Lempriere. He was known as the ‘child of the regiment’ due to being one of the youngest and smallest captains in the British Army. After dying heroically in battle at the Crimean war in 1855, his body was picked up and removed from the battlefield by his commanding officer, Colonel Egerton, who declared “they shall not take my child”. Capt. Lempriere grew up near Chawton and there are tributes to him in local churches. Hampshire Record Office holds his amazing life story in the form of his letters home from the war and a memorial album, made by his sister, is held at the National Army Museum, London.

Through a series of workshops in February 2015, led by leading Victorianist Dr Holly Furneaux (University of Leicester), the project aims to engage pupils by exposing them to genuine artefacts from Victorian army life and Lempriere’s own letters, sketches and documents. In the early sessions pupils will respond to these original sources in creative writing, they will then be guided through music composition workshops by members of folk band, Bellowhead. Using traditional folk melodies they hope to create a new piece of music pre-named “The Ballad of the Boy Captain”. After rehearsal, as a fitting tribute, the piece will be performed at Lempriere’s local church – St Mary’s, Newton Valence.

Hampshire and Southampton Music Education Hubs work together to achieve a national award for ‘Services to Jazz Education’

Jazz Award

The Will Michael Diploma of Special Merit was awarded to the Hampshire and Southampton Music Education Hubs, after their joint bid, by Jazz Services in their annual event at the Southbank Centre as a part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. In association with the NMC/MEC Local Authority Music Education Awards Scheme, the diplomas have been awarded for over forty years, with specific recognition given to ‘Jazz in Education’ since 2006. Emphasis is on evidence of commitment to jazz education within Local Authorities and music provision for schools, community education and adults continuing their education. The event was hosted by the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) and sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Proceedings were accompanied by a concert from the RAM’s Academy Big Band, directed by Nick Smart and performing alongside special guest Nikki Iles.

The joint effort by the Hampshire and Southampton Music Hubs (HMH and SMH) displays a drive to establish jazz in education, in particular the classroom curriculum over the next year. Building upon the success by the two Southampton youth jazz ensembles, continually oversubscribed, and partnerships across the region both Hubs have a number of jazz projects and opportunities 2013-14 onwards to boast.

Jazz workshops have been happening across the region with ages 8+ introduced by the Southampton Jazz Workshop, offering ensemble opportunities and an introduction to basic jazz styles. Well attended free-of-charge workshops for 8-16yr olds were later offered to aspiring young ‘jazzers’, funded by a large grant from HMH, to feed into a new qualification at Alton College. This recent development of a full, accredited qualification BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Jazz, is equivalent to a full a level and taught by professional jazz musicians. Twelve students took the course in the first year, taking advantage of a number of bespoke resources such as an interactive website and repertoire book. Strong links with University of Southampton have also been built upon with lecturers from the Jazz and Pop Undergraduate Degree Pathway working with young musicians, improving understanding of jazz composition and harmony. One such beneficiary, a drummer from a Winchester school, received one-to-one tuition leading to three successful applications to Music Conservatoires in London to study jazz

Many young ‘jazzers’ have also benefitted from working with professional jazz musicians within their ensembles. Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra (SYJO) was joined by vocalist Ian Shaw and explored new arrangements of Burt Bacharach songs alongside originals by Shaw himself. The following year Kairos 4Tet embedded themselves within SYJO playing new arrangements of their own material written by Dan Mar-Molinero, SYJO Director, especially for the project. Six of the seven leavers that year gained places to study Jazz at Music Conservatoires.

Dan Mar-Molinero, Director of SYJO and bid coordinator, said “educators have been working hard to make sure there are opportunities available to all the extraordinary talent within the region. We are exceptionally proud that we have been recognised as a leading example for the rest of the UK”.

Peripatetic and classroom teachers have also been targeted to encourage the teachers to teach jazz break down barriers. The first was via an INSET day workshop for with over 50 peripatetic teachers on how to approach jazz teaching held by Hampshire Music Service, The second was a practical workshop hosting around 30 primary and secondary classroom teachers across the region to understand the fundamentals of running a jazz ensemble.

Initiatives with Hub partner venues such as Turner Sims Concert Hall and The Anvil in Basingstoke have nurtured a committed audience of jazz fans as concerts of touring jazz groups were invited to the region. Wiltshire Jazz festival generously donated free tickets to all members of SYJO in 2013.

To celebrate and showcase the developments of youth jazz from across the region, a Jazz Festival was held July 2013 at the Wessex Arts Centre, Alton. Over fifty young ‘jazzers’ ranging from 8 – 19 across the region performed from schools, are ensembles and one group who formed as a result of the free-of-charge workshops earlier that year. They then well treated to free workshops and resources to build on their experiences.

Music for Youth recognition for one of Hampshire Music Service’s youth ensembles

Bernstein project

A group of young musicians from Hampshire have achieved national recognition for ‘Technical and Musical Excellence’.

The Hampshire Music Service ensemble ‘The Bernstein Project’, received the award in mid July at the Music for Youth National Festival in Birmingham. The group of students from across Hampshire was one of five Hampshire ensembles who attended the festival following success during regional rounds earlier this year.

The other ensembles were: Taiko Drummers - Oku Nojo Daiko, a performance group fusing rhythmic drumming with martial arts; the County Flute Choir, featuring young people who have excelled at Grade 6 or beyond in flute; Blessed & Karrera, a Havant and Gosport based street rap duo who formed during a community project promoting anti-gang messages; and Romsey Youth Concert Band, with over sixty members taking part in the festival performance.

The Bernstein Project consists of current and past musicians from Hampshire Music Service’s Award Scheme, which helps exceptional musicians to excel through grants which support their tuition. The judges were suitably impressed “…we would normally expect a performance of this standard from conservatoire students but not from a County Music Service!”

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “It is fabulous to see some of our young musicians being recognised on a national scale for their phenomenal talent, and my congratulations go to all the young people in the Bernstein Project and in the other ensembles who attended the festival. Hampshire Music Service does a fantastic job, providing opportunities for young people across the county to excel in music, and awards such as these demonstrate the positive impact this provision has on our young musicians.”

Hampshire’s Chairman learns ukulele for world record

Hampshire County Council’s Chairman, Councillor Colin Davidovitz, has taken up the ukulele to encourage others to get behind the world record bid for the largest ukulele ensemble.

hcc chairman learns ukulele

Councillor Davidovitz had his first ukulele lesson with Hampshire Music Service this week.  He commented: “Considering this was the first time I have played a ukulele, I quickly picked up a couple of chords and found it fairly easy. I am committed to practising now, ready for the record bid on 18 July and I intend to be at the very least competent but I don’t think I’ll ever match George Formby’s talents.”

He added: “I hope that a lot more people will come along with their ukuleles too, including my colleagues in the County Council. If we are going to bid for the world record we will need to try to put on such a score that no-one can beat.”

The record attempt at Southampton Football Club is being led by the Hampshire Music Hub (a partnership led by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service).  

Leading the record attempt will be Cbeebies’, Justin Fletcher MBE.

Jill Larner, Head of Hampshire Music Service, said: “Having the Chairman’s support for our ambition is tremendous. The response to our appeal for ukulele players to take part has been fantastic, but we really do need many more to join us if we are to have a good chance of strumming our way in to the record books.

“We have been working with classes and groups all over Hampshire teaching them how to play the ukulele and this world record attempt is a marvellous motivation for learning and a great way to end the school year on a high note.”

The record of 2,134 participants in a ukulele ensemble, was set during the Leiland Grow Incorporated Ukulele Picnic at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse in Kanagawa, Japan in 2012.

Opportunities for Talented Young Musicians in Hampshire

HCYO french horns 2014

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service is to hold auditions in July for young brass, string, woodwind and percussion musicians to join the county’s Youth Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Brass Band, for the next academic year starting in September.

A wide range of musical ensembles are supported by the County Council’s Music Service across the county and many current members are moving on to higher education or starting their careers. As a result, a number of exciting opportunities are being created for students, at Hampshire schools and colleges, to make their mark.

The current vacancies are:

Hampshire County Youth Orchestra

Bass Trombone (grade 7 and above)

Double Bass (grade 4 and above)

Cello (grade 7 and above)

Violin (grade 5 and above)

Hampshire County Youth Wind Ensemble

French Horn

Hampshire County Youth Brass Band

All Brass and Percussionists: (Grade 3 minimum to post Grade 8)

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire’s County Council’s Executive Member for Education, commented: “Our ensembles are renowned for their high standard of musical ability, resulting in exciting performances.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Hampshire’s talented young musicians to broaden their musical experience and seize the chance to perform not just in Hampshire but all over the UK and abroad. Aside from the benefit of being able to hone their talent, playing regularly in an ensemble offers social benefits too and is an enormous confidence booster. A whole new world of musical discovery is there for those budding young musicians. ”


The Big Sing

big sing

Visitors to Winchester Cathedral were serenaded by 170 children from five schools in the Itchen valley on Friday, 21 June 2013. An audience of parents and tourists heard the children and choristers from the Pilgrim’s School perform a range of songs from classics by Benjamin Britten, to a pop song by Labi Siffre and two traditional African songs.

The event was organised by the Hampshire Music Hub, part of Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, Winchester Cathedral and The Pilgrim’s School, Winchester. A teacher from one of the schools said; “I never thought the children would get the chance to sing such incredible songs in a venue like this. I am so proud of them.”

10 Hampshire Ensembles go through to National Festival

HCYO cellos

Four Hampshire County Council Music Service (HMS) ensembles and six Hampshire school groups have made it through to the National Festival of Music for Youth to be held in Birmingham in July, where they will perform with the best young musicians from across the country.

The HMS groups are: Hampshire County Youth Cellos, Hampshire String Quartet, North East Hampshire Taiko Ensemble and Hampshire County Youth Band – which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  The school groups are; All Saints Junior School Chamber Choir and Soma Stomp project from Fleet; The Mountbatten School Wind Band and Big Band, Romsey and the Soul Band and the choir from Wyvern College, Fair Oak.

Thousands of young musicians took part in the regional festivals around the country which were held earlier this year and it is great that Hampshire has so many ensembles invited to represent their county at this high profile week-long celebration in Birmingham.  The final opportunity for students to perform in this annual festival will be at the Schools’ Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in November.  In 2012 the Hampshire String Quartet gained this accolade and Jill Larner, head of Hampshire Music Service, wishes all the ensembles the very best for their performances.  Hampshire cellist, Sam Booth, 11 (pictured above) said, "I am so excited about playing in Birmingham. If we get through this round we will play in the Albert Hall! That would be amazing - it's been my dream ever since I started playing the cello! I'm in the Winchester Area String Training Orchestra and Hampshire County Youth String Orchestra and I love it!"

Hub Newsletter - July 2013

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Read more about some of the exciting projects undertaken by the Hub over the last few months leading up to our first birthday in September.

A Festival of Musical Talent

Stringfest orchestra

Nine different children’s youth music ensembles from across Hampshire gathered at the Anvil, Basingstoke on Sunday 10 February for ‘Stringfest’.  

The ambitious programme of music, performed by young musicians aged from 8 – 18, was organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service to celebrate the musical talent of young people in the county. The concert included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Baby Elephant Walk as well as works by Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi and Shostakovich.


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