PORTSMOUTH MUSIC HUB ANNIVERSARY TOUR

Portsmouth Music Hub is celebrating its seventh anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion the music group Quintessential has been touring city schools, bringing live music and entertainment to hundreds of local children.

Quintessential is a group of professional musicians from all over the country who come together every year to give Portsmouth children the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of musical instruments up close. This year the group were performing world folk music, which included a special clog dance, and the children were amazed by the songs performed and the variety of sounds that a musical instrument can make.

The whistle-stop tour around Portsmouth Schools was part of Live Music Portsmouth. This is a city wide campaign to bring the sounds of the orchestra to Portsmouth schools, and since its launch 18 months ago, thousands of children have had the chance to experience the classical sound of the orchestra in schools and venues across the city.

For the past seven years Portsmouth Music Hub has been bringing groups like Quintessential to Portsmouth as part of its ongoing mission to deliver musical and cultural opportunities for every child throughout the city. During this time thousands of children have experienced a range of concerts and events, from world-record breaking drumming to performances from the Royal Marines Band Service, from cultural carnivals to musicals about cats, and every day Portsmouth Music Hub delivers a range of opportunities to hundreds of aspiring young musicians to sing, play an instrument and perform.

Quintessential visited Portsdown Primary School, Springfield Secondary School, Langstone Junior Academy, Cliffdale Primary Academy, St. John's Cathedral Catholic Primary School and Westover Primary School.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "It's been a fantastic few days of music-making, and it was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the children as Quintessential performed. Portsmouth Music Hub, and its dedicated team of musicians, continues to go from strength to strength, developing new projects and events, and reaching out to new organisations to join us in delivering the very best musical and cultural opportunities for all the children and young people in Portsmouth."

SOLENT CULTURAL CONFERENCE 2017

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Educational professionals and music teachers from all over the country came to the Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 2 November for the annual       Solent Cultural Conference.

 

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Organised by Portsmouth Music Hub, the conference was attended by over 100 delegates, with representatives from ten different Music Hubs.  A team of twenty-five specialists from across the UK led a huge variety of workshops enabling delegates to explore new ways to deliver music and cultural education to children and young people. Topics included instrumental teaching, singing, drama, music technology, folk dancing, curriculum design and assessment, and there were workshops relevant to all age ranges, from Early Years to secondary.

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Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: "Portsmouth Music Hub believes that it is vital for professionals to continue to learn new ways to engage young people in cultural opportunities. This conference is an excellent opportunity for people to come together to share ideas and expertise, and provides inspiration for us all as we strive to transform the lives of children and young people through cultural engagement."

Twenty-one Portsmouth Schools join The Big Ceilidh

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Over 550 children gathered at venues across Portsmouth this week for three days of live music and dancing. Called ‘The Big Ceilidh’, the events saw children from 21 Portsmouth schools come together to learn English folk dances under the expert guidance of Hampshire step dancer and teacher Jo Harmer.

Big Ceilidh Week is the culmination of six weeks’ dancing and music making in the schools. For the third consecutive year, the events have been run by FolkActive, a locally based company whose aim is support schools who want to raise awareness of our traditional culture in active and creative ways.

For the first time this year, teachers in six schools prepared young musicians to play alongside the professional folk musicians. 

Different music groups played at each of the six Big Ceilidhs, including:

  • beginner ukuleles, Highbury Primary and Newbridge Junior schools
  • recorder group, Northern Parade Junior School
  • young violinists, Craneswater Junior School
  • a 25-strong Primary School orchestra from St Swithuns
  • and a music group from St Edmund's Secondary School.
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Popular local band Jigfoot supported the musicians from the schools who played for their classmates to dance. The young musicians performed like true professionals, and the rest of the children had a great time dancing with children from other schools and getting to know their new partners.

So that the children could practise in advance, the schools were sent instructions for the dances; these were selected to be suitable for older KS1 and KS2 classes to learn within a limited time.

The Big Ceilidhs are generously funded by the Portsmouth Music Hub, and are free to participating schools. Some of the schools have also benefited from in-school workshops provided by the Hub’s ‘Live Music Portsmouth’ initiative, which are led by folk dancers and musicians.

World Song Festival

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Priory School hosted the city's first World Song Festival on Thursday 12 October. The festival involved approximately 120 pupils from Cliffdale Primary Academy, College Park Infant, Cottage Grove Primary and St. John's Cathedral Catholic Primary joining together to celebrate cultural diversity.

Led by vocal specialist Emily Barden, the morning began with pupils learning an African welcome song before each school performed a song of their choice. Cliffdale sang 'Umbuntu', an African song about unity, accompanied by djembes. Cottage Grove pupils sang 'South Australia' and St. John's performed the gospel song 'Jericho', before College Park brought us home again by performing 'It's Portsmouth' by one of the Music Hub's award winning composers, Patrick Nicholls.

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Emily then taught them two new songs celebrating the world and the part that we all play in shaping its future - 'Sunshine' and 'Be the Change', focusing on harmony and singing in parts. Elizabeth McAndrew from Cliffdale showed everybody how to accompany their singing with sign language, and some pupils dressed up in colourful costumes from around the world. 

Zach, a Year 1 pupil, said "It was brilliant singing with so many people and I really enjoyed learning the new songs".

INDIAN DRUMMING FOR PORTSMOUTH SCHOOLS

The entrancing sound of Indian drumming could be heard in Portsmouth schools this week as Portsmouth Music Hub celebrated the start of a new partnership with Keda Music.

With a mission to make learning and playing Indian drums accessible and enjoyable for as many members of the community as possible, Portsmouth Music Hub and Keda Music are working collaboratively to provide hands-on learning for students and teachers across the city. This week students at Priory School and Newbridge Junior School have learned the basics of playing Indian tabla drums whilst also teaching about Indian culture. Students were able to share their personal cultural experiences and one student performed on his own dhol drum enabling his friends to have a go as well - a great example of peer to peer learning.

Kuljit Bhamra MBE, who led workshops at Priory School and Newbridge Junior School, said "The students were really attentive and eager to learn about Indian drumming and Indian culture. They worked very hard and learnt lots of special techniques for playing the tabla."

Workshops were held for both students and staff in order to kick start a new tradition of Indian drumming in the city.

William Glasspole, aged 8, said "The drumming was amazing to watch and it was brilliant fun to join in. I loved it!"

Young Performers Take to the Stage

On Thursday 13 July, at the Church of the Resurrection in Portsmouth, children and young people from Portsmouth Music Hub's Ensembles came together to perform an end of term evening of music and entertainment; celebrating another academic year of music-making with Portsmouth Music Hub.

Proud parents and members of the public filled the Church to enjoy a wide range of music from Ghostbusters, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adele, Paul Simon and Hayden!

It was an opportunity for everyone to see how far the children had come during the past year of rehearsals and performances, and the audience enjoyed performances from the Little Voices Choir, The Channel, Coastal and Ocean Wind Bands and Portsmouth Plays Wind Band.

With an exciting programme of music and confident performances from all the young musicians the night came to a spectacular end with the Ocean Wind Band performing the unforgettable sound of Ravel's Bolero.

Portsmouth Music Hub's Ensembles will return in September 2017.

ROCKING THE ROOMS

On 5 July, young musicians from Portsmouth Music Hub's Rock Bands along with bands from local schools and colleges took to the stage and definitely rocked the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth.

'Rock the Rooms' was a gig to mark the end of the school year showcasing the progress the bands have made. It was also an opportunity for the musicians to perform at a professional music venue in front of a packed auditorium.

The gig brought together enthusiastic musicians aged from between 8 to 18 years of age, and there was a fantastic mix of music on offer, including hits like "I love Rock and Roll" and "Feeling Good" along with original songs written by talented members of the Bands.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "It was an amazing night and a gig the musicians will never forget. It was a particularly poignant gig for the Hub's Warrior Band with many of them leaving this year as they reach the end of college. Denzel Dela Pena has been singing with the Music Hub since the age of 8 and seeing the transformation of his voice over the years and his passion for performing is a real priviledge."

The Bands' enthusiasm and commitment to performing last night was inspirational and their director, Stu Brewer leads by example putting a huge amount of time and effort into their training and performances.

Portsmouth Music Hub runs Rock Bands, from beginners to more advanced young performers, each week during term time. To find out more call 023 9237 5655 or visit www.portsmouthmusichub.org.uk.

CARNIVAL PARADE

Hundreds of children descended on Guildhall Square on Wednesday 5 July bringing a flavour of the Latin American Carnival to Portsmouth.  8 schools came dressed in carnival costumes, with masks, flags, drums, streamers and whistles for a cultural celebration of music and dance.

The carnival atmosphere was buzzing with the Pompey Pluckers ukulele band, a pianist and maypole dancers entertaining the children as they arrived. The children started the carnival with a rousing performance of the 'The Carnival Song' which had been composed especially for the event by one of the Music Hub's composers.

Proud parents and enthusiastic passers-by were treated to singing, African drumming and Japanese Taiko drumming. The Carnival procession took all the children around the Guildhall Square and into Victoria Park. There was plenty of enthusiastic dancing, chanting, singing and flag waving as the children paraded around the park and back into Guildhall Square for a surprise massed dance led by Carnival Queen Becki Short from the Music Hub.

Heidi Smith aged 7, from Cottage Grove Primary School, said; "It was great fun and I really loved the Carnival. We drummed all round the park and all the way back to school!"

Portsmouth Music Hub produced the event bringing together artists and musicians to celebrate the cultural diversity and creativity in the city.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said after the event: "It was a fantastic carnival with so many children celebrating cultural diversity in our city. The enthusiastic smiles, colourful costumes and fantastic singing and dancing made this an event to be remembered."