On Saturday (17 March), over 250 young musicians from across the Highlands will perform at Culloden Academy in the first ever Inverness Festival of Music for Youth. The event, organised by music education charity Music for Youth in collaboration with Culloden Academy and The Highland Council, will provide a platform for these young ensembles to showcase their talent.
Young people taking part come from all over the Highlands and include a traditional music group from Gairloch High School, a string and woodwind ensemble from Edderton Primary, the Kiltearn Fiddlers group from Evanton, two choirs and a jazz funk band from Grantown Grammar, a samba band and rock bands from schools in Inverness and Nairn.
Having launched its work in Scotland at Perth Concert Hall in October 2011, the Inverness Regional Festival is one of seventy-four that will take place across the UK between February and April. Three of these festivals are taking place in Scotland, with Glasgow and Perth also hosting festivals.
“The Inverness Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the music-making taking place within Scotland” says Lincoln Abbotts, Chief Executive of Music for Youth. “Rather than competitive, the festivals are celebratory with motivation for taking part coming from the experience of performing alongside, listening to and learning from a hugely eclectic range of ensembles”
Since it began in 1970 Music for Youth has provided inspirational musical experiences for over 2.5 million young people. The Regional Festival Series is the gateway to the MFY season, offering musicians aged 21 or under the opportunity to perform live in a supportive environment and receive valuable feedback from music professionals.
A number of ensembles that take part in the Regional Festival Series will be invited to perform at the National Festival Scotland, a one day festival taking in performance opportunities, collaborative ventures, workshops and master classes.
The Highland Council’s Music Development Officer, Norman Bolton, said: “Having the opportunity for performers to work with Music for Youth is an exciting new development for young musicians in Scotland and being able to host a Regional Festival in Inverness is testament to the faith that the organisers have in the quality of music-making in the north. I am sure all the musicians will enjoy a great experience on the day and we certainly hope that some will be invited to the Scottish and perhaps the National Festival later in the year.”
The National Festival Scotland will take place on Friday 8 June at Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre and outside spaces between the two venues. The festival will showcase the music being made by young people today, so there’ll be jazz, rock, chamber music, musical theatre, creative ensembles and more.
Mirroring the process in England and Wales, a number of ensembles from National Festival Scotland will be invited to perform at the Schools Prom, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 12, 13 & 14 November 2012.