Shropshire Music Service: Ensemble Celebration
Over 200 children performed to a sold-out audience this week as part of a series of three concerts organised by Shropshire Music Service.
The Ensemble Celebration was held on Saturday 20 May 2023 at Meole Brace School in Shrewsbury, and featured performances from children aged 4 to 18.
The event follows the launch of a new range of musical ensembles earlier in the year to encourage more children to sign up to their local ensemble, and was Shropshire Music Service’s first in a series of celebration concerts to mark the achievements of pupils from across the region.
A particular highlight of the concerts was the inaugural performance of Shropshire Stompers, open to all beginner instrumentalists across the county. The four groups from Ludlow, Cleobury Mortimer, Shrewsbury and Wem joined together for a mass performance: over 100 children played together for the first time to a packed audience.
Their rendition of “We Will Rock You” raised the roof with the audience, who joined in by clapping and stomping along.
The afternoon of concerts featured both the training and youth orchestra performing popular classics from Star Wars and Jurassic Park.
Four brand-new ensembles also performed: the guitar ensemble, vocal group, world folk ensemble, and youth choir. Shropshire Youth Choir was proud to be sponsored by Shrewsbury Arts Society who commented: “Your musicians were absolutely brilliant. The Youth Choir were outstanding, and their use of Makaton was particularly inclusive. We are so very pleased to support the work you are doing!”
Dr Sarah Browne, Head of Shropshire Music Service, was overwhelmed by the support of parents, family, friends, and sponsors. She said:-
“We started this year with a very clear aim to make our ensembles more inclusive and to reach more children and young people across the county. It was wonderful to see so many young musicians from all corners of the county come together to make music and perform to sell-out audiences. I think we’ll definitely need larger venues!”
Shropshire Music Service, which is part of Shropshire Council, helps over 5,000 Shropshire children learn to play musical instruments, from percussion through guitars to orchestral instruments. It provides schools, parents and guardians with experienced music teaching right across the county.
Since last year the service has:-
- Helped to deliver instrumental lessons to 1,555 pupils per week
- Supported 88% of Shropshire schools (131 schools). Additional schools have received musical support from Discovery Days* workshop sponsored by web development agency Clickingmad.
- Doubled its engagement in the south and east of Shropshire in the last six months, resulting in twice the number of children attending ensembles from those regions now.
Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:-
“I’m delighted that the Ensemble Celebration event was such a success and an incredible experience for both children and young people and those who came to watch.
“Music plays such an important part in our lives, particularly for children and young people. Learning about music and having the opportunity to play musical instruments and make music together is a vital part of a rich and rounded education.
“This is a testament to the efforts of our Shropshire Music Service, who work so hard to ensure as many children and young people across Shropshire have the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of what music can bring.
“I would also like to say thank you for all those organisations who have kindly sponsored and supported young people to access music sessions.”
To find out more about Shropshire Music Service’s ensemble offer, visit shropshiremusicservice.org.uk/ensembles or call 01743 874145.
*Discovery Days are an opportunity for children to have a try on a range of instruments. We take a wide range of instruments into schools, demonstrate them through live performances and then the children can try them out for themselves.