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."

Music Hub Major Award Nomination

Portsmouth Music Hub has been shortlisted for the prestigious Major Award by the National Music Education Council.

The annual Award celebrates the work of music education providers and 123 music hubs based around the country. This is the second consecutive year that Portsmouth Music Hub has been shortlisted, and in February 2016 the Hub won the Major Award for its outstanding creative work in the local community.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: “This is exciting news for Portsmouth Music Hub. After winning the Major Award last year we were delighted to be shortlisted again. It's thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of the Hub’s dedicated team, our partner organisations, local schools and most of all the children and young people of Portsmouth that we’ve been shortlisted. It really shows that Portsmouth continues to make its mark in music, education and culture.”

Portsmouth Music Hub was set up in 2011 and over the past 5 years it has gained the support of more than 50 partner organisations, ranging from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to the Royal Marines Band Service, and this wide network includes dozens of local groups and music organisations.

Its mission, to bring creative and inspirational opportunities to play and perform for children and young people, and to help them develop a passion for music and culture, remains the guiding principle for the organisation.

The winner of the Major Award will be announced at the National Music Teacher Awards Ceremony in London in February 2017.

Special Christmas Celebration

More than 100 primary-aged children from 8 Portsmouth schools were part of Portsmouth Music Hub's Special Christmas Celebration concert taking place at Portsmouth Cathedral on Thursday 8 December.

The concert, which has been running for the past 13 years, gave children from mainstream and special schools the chance to work together to share their passion for music, dancing and drama, and joined by the Salvation Army Band it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate Christmas.

This year the children performed the familiar nativity story but with a twist.

'Not Such a Silent Night' is the story of Lenny the lamb who runs away from his farm in Bethlehem. Lenny soon realises that he's made a terrible mistake and decides to return. He's met by Bramble the puppy and they follow the star home to Bethlehem, meeting a donkey, a cat, a camel, several sheep and finally a host of angels along the way.

Catherine Brentnall, Senior Leader from Portsmouth Music Hub said: "The concert was wonderful, and it's fantastic to see children from mainstream and special schools coming together and performing with such pleasure and enthusiasm. Children look beyond different needs and different abilities, they focus on singing, dancing and embracing the fun of performing, and seeing the way they joyfully interact with each other reminds us all of the true spirit of Christmas." 

Lord Mayor takes to the Stage

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth was the star act at a children's concert held at Portsmouth's Guildhall on Tuesday 22 November.

To the delight of a packed audience the Lord Mayor, Councillor David Fuller, gave a rousing rendition of the children's favourite The Grand Old Duke of York, and uniquely he played it on the kazoo! It was the final surprise performance at an evening of entertainment performed by more than 20 children who are learning to sing and play instruments with Portsmouth Music Hub.

The end of term concert gave the children the chance to showcase their musical abilities and for the proud parents in the audience it was a moment to celebrate the children's progress. Children and young people, aged from 5 to 17, performed a variety of musical numbers on a range of instruments including Abba's Mamma Mia, Beethoven's Ode to Joy and Andrew Lloyd Webber's world famous ballad Music of the Night.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "It was a wonderful evening with so many fantastic performances from our young musicians. It's almost impossible not to be impressed by young people who show such commitment and passion for music. With the continuing support of the parents and teachers we hope the children's skills will go from strength to strength."