Soundsational Performances

Young performers took to the Guildhall stage on Wednesday 15 March for a night of music and entertainment. Soundsational, produced by Portsmouth Music Hub, brought together singers, dancers and musicians, aged from 11 to 18, from eight local Schools, Colleges and Academies.

There was an exciting range of acts on offer for the hundreds of families and members of public who filled the Guildhall for an evening of cabaret-style entertainment.

Portsmouth Music Hub's own Rock Band 'The Warriors' electrified the audience with Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity, and showcased one of their own compositions Invisible. Musical Theatre students from South Downs College performed an excerpt from Leonard Bernstein's West Wide Story, followed by Another Op'nin', Another Show from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate.

The evening included performances from Highbury College, Charter Academy, Portsmouth College, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Springfield School and Portsmouth College. Trafalgar School student's performed songs from their forthcoming production of Cinderella and St. Edmunds Catholic School Band played the theme from Star Wars and Rock Around the Clock.

The concert came to an end with more than 200 students filling the stage for a Massed Choir performance of Toto's Africa, and When I Grow Up from the West-End hit musical Matilda.

Catherine Brentnall, from Portsmouth Music Hub, who produced the show said: "Soundsational has been a great opportunity for young people to showcase their talent at one of the biggest venues in Portsmouth. The performances were incredibly professional and it was impossible not to be caught up with the enthusiasm of all the young performers on stage. Soundsational is produced every year, and it's a fantastic chance for schools to work alongside each other and share a common passion for music, dance and high quality performance."

Portsmouth Festivities 2017

At the Square Tower, Portsmouth Festivities announces its programme and unveils a new form of eventing in the City of Portsmouth. From Friday 16 to Sunday 25 June, Portsmouth Festivities plays host to one of the most vibrant summer festivals on the south coast:

· over 100 dazzling and diverse events across the city
· internationally acclaimed artists
· showcasing stunning local talent
· FREE activities and events
· commemorative events
· something for all ages

The Festivities is Portsmouth’s flagship multi-disciplinary arts festival. Now in its 18th year, the programme continues to develop and grow, with a fantastic mix of concerts, art, exhibitions, plays and outdoor events planned for 10 days during June.

The theme for this year’s festival is PLAY. We should all make more time in our lives for play; therefore we have granted audiences of Portsmouth the opportunity to experience the imaginative use of play in a fantastic range of events and forms, including this year’s interactive city-wide experience, PLAY CODE CITY.

Get ready for a new and exciting form of eventing in the City of Portsmouth, collaborating with Torchlight Heritage and the University of Portsmouth’s School of Creative Technologies. PLAY CODE CITY is a new interactive game app for residents and visitors of Portsmouth! Your task is to join the game, find the happenings, and collect the codes. Players will face 10 days of action via our web app where they will uncover interactions with game characters and performers and unusual installations around the city.

Our first weekend of Portsmouth Festivities 2017 opens with one of Britain’s finest string quartets, THE MAGGINI QUARTET. Its acclaimed recordings have won international awards including Gramophone Chamber Music Award of the Year, Diapason d’Or or the Year, and have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards. The OPENING GALA CONCERT will also feature world renowned pianist PETER DONOHOE, whose recent performances include appearances with the Dresden Staatskapelle, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Gurzenich Orchestra.

Here at Portsmouth Festivities we feel you're never too old and never too young to play, that's why we are delighted to include BABIGLOO: MUSIC FOR BABIES. These non-verbal sessions are led purely by the use of classical music, vocal sounds, and rhythms mixed with theatre props and visual elements, exclusively for babies aged 0-12 months.

On Saturday 17 June, No.6 Cinema is emerging from behind the dockyard wall and taking the show on the road! In partnership with Portsmouth Festivities, THE INCREDIBLE MOVING PICTUREHOUSE is coming to town. It will be located on Southsea Common somewhere along Serpentine Road (it’s huge so you won’t miss it) and with four screenings throughout the day, there will be something for everyone. Pie and Vinyl will be there to provide sustenance all day.

3RUN is one of the most recognised Freerunning and Parkour teams on the planet. The holders of 15 Guinness World Records, and the British TV Craft Award, they are at the forefront of all things Parkour, Freerunning, and Street Stunt related. Saturday 17 June will grant the opportunity for PARKOUR enthusiasts to experience the professionals first-hand, demonstrating the art of moving through obstacles in the quickest and most effective way possible by climbing, jumping, or running.

Thursday 22 June will see the excellent emerging artist SAVITRI GRIER. Selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT), Savitri made her debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, and has appeared as soloist with the Bournemouth Symphony, English Chamber, Welsh National Opera, and Birmingham Sinfonia Orchestras. Accompanied by Richard Uttley, Savitri will be performing works by Mozart, Brahms, Benjamin, and Enesco.

For one night only on Friday 23 June, MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS will be performing with MARY WILSON of the Supremes at Portsmouth Guildhall. Mary Wilson is best known as a founding member of the world’s most famous female trio, The Supremes. Recording 12 No.1 hits from 1964 to 1969, the legendary singer’s career did not stop there, and she continues to soar to untold heights.

Portsmouth Festivities is also privileged to welcome British organist, WAYNE MARSHALL, Saturday 25 June. Wayne is a celebrated and award-winning interpreter of Gershwin, Bernstein, and other 20th century American composers. As an organ recitalist, he draws a varied repertoire and performs worldwide. Recent seasons have included recitals at Notre Dame, Paris; the Royal Festival Hall; Symphony Hall, Birmingham; and Westminster Abbey.

Saturday 25 June also sees winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, TALISK. They are one of the fastest rising bands on the British folk scene. Creating a captivating, energetic, and dynamic sound, in little more than a year, TALISK has won multiple awards and nationwide media and audience attention. Coupled with Mohsen’s recent crowning as the 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, the trio’s experience far belies their years.

Portsmouth Festivities are also fortunate enough to welcome acclaimed British saxophonist and composer JOHN HARLE, talks with KEN LIVINGSTONE, and MARTIN DAUBNEY, along with many more inspiring thinkers, creators and performers.

“It promises to be a great summer for the Portsmouth Festivities in June, with even more events and opportunities on offer for everyone to get involved. We have taken the idea of ‘PLAY’ as our theme for 2017, and are particularly excited to be launching PLAY CODE CITY - an on-line interactive game in which members of the public track down codes through a series of cultural happenings in Portsmouth. With our usual mix of music, talks, art and drama, it’s going to be a lot of fun!” James Priory, Chairman of Portsmouth Festivities.

“This year sees some great collaborations for Festivities which I have enjoyed working on immensely. For me it’s always about people discovering new things and there is plenty to choose from in this year’s diverse programme so be sure to make time to explore and PLAY.” Erica Smith, Director of Portsmouth Festivities.

So, bring along your family and friends and join in the fun as Portsmouth bursts into life with arts and culture this summer! Public booking opens on Friday 17 March.

Discover more about the events taking place during Portsmouth Festivities 2017 at

Bombay's Big Adventure

To mark World Book Day on Thursday 2 March, Portsmouth Music Hub has launched a new songbook for primary-aged children. Bombay's Big Adventure tells the story of Bombay the black and white cat who has lost his owner, Melody the Musician. Bombay embarks on a musical journey, searching for Melody at some of Portsmouth's most famous venues and landmarks.

Sue Beckett, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "Bombay's Big Adventure is a celebration of the sights and sounds of Portsmouth. It's an uplifting story about our city, and with young voices, musicians, dancers and marching bands, Bombay's Big Adventure gives everyone a taste of Portsmouth's rich history and culture."

Bombay's Big Adventure is the latest edition to the Music Hub's award-winning series of songbooks. They have been written by the Hub's team of composers and are designed to be a fun, informative and engaging educational tools.

Children from Portsmouth schools and local music groups will come together to perform Bombay's Big Adventure at the New Theatre Royal on Friday 30 June 2017.

Hub Wins Top Award

Portsmouth Music Hub has won the Music Education Council's Major Award for a second consecutive year at a ceremony in London.

More than 200 hundred music industry guests attended the Music Teachers Award for Excellence, which took place on Thursday 9th February at the Sheraton Hotel in London.

The Music Education Council is a national organisation which brings together music professionals, businesses and educational providers. The awards celebrate the work of music hubs in England and music services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that demonstrate imaginative, inclusive and all round high-quality music provision.

There are 123 Music Hubs around the country and this year Portsmouth Music Hub and Bristol Plays Music were joint recipients of the Major Award.

The Music Education Council recognised Portsmouth Music Hub's 'commitment and passion', the wide range of musical opportunities available to local children, the strong relationships developed with local and national Arts organisations, and the Hub's ongoing commitment to understand the needs of children in challenging circumstances.

Sue Beckett, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "After winning the Major Award last year we were determined to build on that success and deliver even greater creative opportunities to children and young people in Portsmouth. Our commitment to making sure that every child has an equal chance to experience and participate in music remains at the heart of everything we do."

Portsmouth Music Hub was set up in 2011. Each year the Hub produces stage shows and cultural events for children to enjoy and participate in. The Hub brings local and national groups into schools, and it has developed a range of groups for young musicians to join, from rock bands to wind bands. The Hub has more than 40 Partner organisations, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Guildhall and the Royal Marines Band Service, who work together to create opportunities for children and young people to see and perform with professional musicians.

Alison Jeffery, Director of Children Services at Portsmouth City Council said: "I was delighted to learn that Portsmouth Music Hub has won the Music Education Council's Major Award for a second year running. This is a significant achievement and it demonstrates that music provision and cultural excellence continues to thrive in our city. Portsmouth Music Hub's success is testimony to the hard work, enthusiasm and the commitment of the Hub team, the schools, colleges and academies, and the many Hub partners who collaborate so effectively for the benefit of all the children and young people in Portsmouth."

Royal Marines Raise the Roof

Musicians from the Portsmouth based Royal Marines School of Music entertained school children with a spectacular interactive concert performed in partnership with Portsmouth Music Hub at the Kings Theatre, Southsea.

The event, which took place on Wednesday 1 February, was created to motivate and inspire children in the city to get more involved in music and give them an opportunity to see and hear a wide range of instruments up close.

WO1 Bandmaster Ross Hunt RM, who conducted the Royal Marines Band said: "Performing to a theatre full of children isn't something the Band Service does every day, and so we knew we had to make this event something the children would remember for a very long time. The music was familiar, fun and engaging because we wanted the children to be actively involved in the entertainment. Making music and inspiring the next generation is an important part of our role in the community, and I hope today has been inspirational and unforgettable for both the children and the Band."

The band of 40 Royal Marines musicians gave top class performances to an excited audience of over 1,000 primary aged children. During the hour long concert there was a chance for two children to come on stage and conduct the band, and two teachers tried hard to keep up with the precision and skill of the Corps of Drums. The concert came to an end with the children singing a firm favourite, 'Let It Go' from Frozen.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm on the children’s faces throughout the concert. They were absolutely transfixed by the performances and thrilled by the quality of music and the exciting entertainment. The musicians are an inspiration to our young people and we hope that the children will be motivated to participate in more music, and to go on developing a life-long passion for music."

Chimpanzees at the Guildhall

More than 1500 primary-aged children filled the Guildhall in Portsmouth on Monday 30 January, and they didn't come alone; the children brought with them every possible size, shape and colour of monkey.

The children and their cuddly toys were there to watch the Chimpanzees of Happy Town, a children's story performed on stage by the nationally acclaimed company Music in the Round. The company, which tours throughout the country, brought together performers and musicians from Ensemble 360. The company aims to engage young audiences and embed music in children's everyday learning.

The Chimpanzees of Happy Town was written by Giles Andreae, and Music in the Round put the children's publication to music in 2011. It tells the story of life in Drabsville, where the Mayor demands that all the houses must look the same and that none of the chimpanzees are permitted to have any fun. Life looks a little brighter when Chutney the chimpanzee arrives in town. He plants a seed that grows into a tree which spreads colour and happiness to all the inhabitants, and encourages everyone to care for their environment.

In the weeks leading up to the concert the children had been learning the songs from the musical. Samuel aged 6, from College Park Infants School said: "I had a really great time. It was fun to sing all the songs and to do lots of the movements. I was really pleased that Chutney the chimp made everyone happy."

Portsmouth Music Hub, which provides creative opportunities for children in Portsmouth, brought Music in the Round to the Guildhall. Sue Beckett, CEO of the Music Hub said: "We are committed to bringing professional performers and musicians to our city so that children and young people experience a wide range of performances and creative experiences. Today has been a fantastic opportunity for hundreds of children to participate, sing, dance and learn about freedom and living life to the full."

Launching the Mad Scientist

On Friday 13 January the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth received a visit from a mad scientist, the mad scientist's cat and 30 children from Milton Park Primary School in Portsmouth. They came to his office in the Guildhall to perform a series of songs taken from Portsmouth Music Hub's new publication, 'The Mad Scientist's Songbook'.

The songbook puts science under the microscope and it's been composed specifically to support the key stage 2 science curriculum in primary education. With 17 songs about a range of subjects, including the food chain, elliptical orbits, magnetism and circuits, children are encouraged to see and enjoy a world of science in everyday life.

'The Mad Scientist's Songbook' has been produced by Portsmouth Music Hub's award-winning team of composers, and it forms part of a series of 9 national publications that have been created to support teaching and to inspire children.

Speaking at the launch of the songbook on Friday, Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "The Mad Scientist's songbook has been composed to be as engaging and accessible as possible. Our aim has been to produce music that can support the teaching of science in schools and at the same time we wanted to create music that enthuses children to enjoy science, learn something new, and be amazed by the world we live in."

The children from Milton Park will be joined by hundreds of other children from Portsmouth schools at 'The Mad Scientist's' Concert on Monday 27 March at the Guildhall in Portsmouth. 

7 Days of Christmas

Portsmouth Music Hub celebrated the run up to Christmas producing a week of special events and concerts.

On Monday 5 December hundreds of children from local schools wrapped up well and gathered on the steps of the Guildhall in Portsmouth to sing traditional carols. They were joined by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and Father Christmas who were part of an audience of proud parents and members of the public enjoying the sights and sounds of excited young singers bringing the festive spirit to the heart of Portsmouth.

Two days later young people from the Music Hub's Ensembles performed a concert at St. Mary's Church in Fratton. The event was the culmination of weeks of rehearsals from the Hub choirs, orchestra and wind bands, and the audience enjoyed a packed programme of music including Frosty the Snowman and The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On Thursday 8 December the Music Hub brought together more than 100 primary-aged children from special schools and mainstream schools to perform a Christmas Nativity at Portsmouth Cathedral. The Nativity 'Not Such a Silent Night' is the story of Lenny the Lamb who runs away from home. Lenny soon realises that running away is probably a bad idea, and on his way home, guided by the star of Bethlehem, he meets a puppy, a camel, a donkey, a cat, various sheep and a heavenly host of angels. It was a playful twist on the traditional Nativity, and included acting, songs, dance and unforgettable costumes.

Finally, On Monday 12 December, the Music Hub's young Rock Bands performed a celebratory evening of music at the Guildhall in Portsmouth. It was a night of soloists, drummers, singers and electric guitars, and a spectacular end to a week of festive entertainment.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "This year we wanted to reach as many young people as possible, and get them involved with a whole series of cultural events. Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy all kinds of music and to bring people together, and this year we've been able to engage with hundreds of Portsmouth's young people, who have produced some truly memorable concerts."