Peter Walker, Deputy Head of the East Riding Schools’ Music Service, referred to another very busy year for all of the ensembles who took part in 15 concerts in various locations from the Hexagon to Bridlington Spa and even the Royal Albert Hall. Performances ranged from Christmas busking to mixed ensemble concerts to Handel’s Messiah. He highlighted those of the Youth Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of their new director, Rachael Dixon, in Cottingham, Bridlington and London. Their part in the Friends’ Jazz & Quiz night helped to make this a ‘roaring success’.
The Percussion Showcase and the biannual Midsummer Festival of Music at Bridlington Spa, were mentioned, along with a dry, enjoyable Wassand Hall event and, to end the year, the Summer Showcase concert at the City Hall, featuring a choir made up of singers from secondary schools, joining the Youth Orchestra in a performance of part of the Armed Man by Karl Jenkins.
Peter then mentioned the Youth Orchestra and Youth Singers’ tour to Sorrento, described as a tremendous success, and including the final performance of the Youth Singers under the directorship of Elaine Dave, their founding leader. Peter gave thanks for her dedication and inspirational leadership over the years.
Despite pressures on Curriculum music, Peter pointed out that the ensembles continue to develop and thrive with around 350 young musicians regularly attending one or more groups. In addition, the annual Battle of the Bands competition supports pupils’ participation in another musical genre and ‘Big and Little Big Sings’ in Brid Spa and Goole reach over 6,000 primary school pupils. Peter then thanked Fiona Latham, the ensembles’ liaison officer, for the ‘fantastic job’ she does with all things ‘ensemble’, be it essential reminders, organisation of music or responding to parents. Her generosity with time ensures that rehearsals and concerts run smoothly.