Hundreds of school children from schools across Portsmouth descended on Guildhall Square to smash a Guinness World Records®  Record for the largest Djembe Drum Ensemble.

900 infant, junior and secondary school pupils showed off their musical talents as they took part in the challenge for BBC Music Day. Organised and inspired by Portsmouth Music Hub they smashed the record which previously stood at 476 drummers.

The children spent weeks training for the record attempt which was held as part of BBC Music Day. The music was written by one of the Music Hub's composition team and was a firm favourite with the children.

Sue Beckett , Chief Executive of Portsmouth Music Hub said "The children drummed brilliantly and it was a fantastic event that enabled everyone to celebrate the power of music as part of BBC Music Day. To smash the record was a huge triumph for everyone and the children were so excited that all their hard work had paid off."

The young drummers were joined by the Taiko drummers and a Samba Band, with a special finale performance by the Corps of Drums from the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.

Sofia Doan, aged 11 from St. John's RC Cathedral Primary School said "Drumming today was the most amazing day of my life - I will never forget it as it was incredible."

An enormous cheer rang out across Guildhall Square as Paulina Sapinska, the Guinness World Records® Adjudicator announced that the record had been broken and that the drummers were "officially amazing".


The Secret Garden

More than 500 local children were part of Image Music Theatre's production of the Secret Garden performed at the New Theatre Royal on the morning of Tuesday 6 June.

The new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic story, tells the magical tale of hidden places, personal secrets, revelation and transformation. When the central character Mary, finds herself alone and unwanted in a manor house, it is the simple joy of two moorland children that cause her to change. In turn, when she shares the wonderful secret of her hidden garden, the entire household is brought back to life.

Primary-aged children from Portsmouth Schools participated in the interactive production, singing many of the heart-warming songs, and 8 lucky children were chosen to be part of the on-stage action, rehearsing with the actors before performing as villagers, woodland creatures and flowers.

Later in the day, the Company travelled from the New Theatre Royal to Isambard Brunel Junior School, where they performed The Secret Garden to the entire school.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, who brought Image Music Theatre to Portsmouth, said: "Today has been an enriching experience for hundreds of children. Joining in with the songs and being part of a magical production fires up their imagination, and it was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm for live theatre."

Image Music Theatre will be back in November for their new production of the classic fairy-tale, Hansel and Gretel.

Ensembles Concert

On Thursday 30 March, Portsmouth Music Hub's young ensemble musicians came together to hold an end of term concert at the Church of the Resurrection.

It was a night with a wide range of music on offer when the Music Hub's rock bands, orchestra, wind band and choirs showed off their skills. Proud parents heard music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats', plus the sounds of Beethoven, the Beatles and even a performance of Adele's 'When We Were Young'.

The Ensembles concert was the final event of a week of concerts. Sue Beckett, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: "It's been a busy week for the Music Hub. In the past few days almost a thousand children from Portsmouth have had the chance to perform in some of the largest venues in our city. Seeing the excitement, the enthusiasm and the skill of so many young performers has been incredibly inspiring, and the high quality of so many singers, dancers and musicians proves that the cultural future of Portsmouth is in safe hands."

Infant Voices

On Wednesday 29 March, more than 500 local children took part in the Infant Voices Showcase at a packed Kings Theatre in Southsea.

The annual event is the culmination of a week of music-making in schools and a wonderful opportunity for the young performers to perform in one of the biggest and most exciting venues in the city.

It was an unforgettable evening with the stage full of 6 year-old children singing songs about space, and they came dressed as stars, astronauts and creatures from alien planets!

Mad Scientist's Songbook

On Monday 27 March there was a spectacular performance of the 'The Mad Scientist's Songbook', which was created by Portsmouth Music Hub's team of composers.

During an evening of explosive music and dance at Portsmouth's Guildhall, in front of a packed auditorium, hundreds of children from 12 schools from across the city put science under the microscope.

Fossils, skeletons, elliptical orbits, magnetism, seeds and teeth were just some of the subjects brought to life by the cast of young performers, and there was even a song about the journey of our food after we've eaten it which was a firm favourite with the audience and particularly the young cast.

'The Mad Scientist's Songbook' is just one of a series of award-winning songbooks, composed by Portsmouth Music Hub to support teaching in schools. 

University Students Entertain Local Schools

Portsmouth University performed a concert for hundreds of local children at the New Theatre Royal on Wednesday 8 March.

The University students were there for a week to rehearse for a public performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Pirates of Penzance', but the students decided to give up an afternoon of rehearsals to invite local schools along to experience live music. The University musicians performed Gilbert and Sullivan's famous songs 'Modern Major General and 'A Policeman's Lot', but knowing their young audience well, the University students went on to perform music from Doctor Who and the children's firm favourite the 'Frozen' medley.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: "It was a wonderful event and we're very grateful to Portsmouth University students, who gave so many children the chance to experience the sights and sounds of live performance. Children react so positively to seeing enthusiastic and engaging musicians and singers, it fires up their imagination and we hope it will encourage them to go on attending concerts and events as they grow older."

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