Last Thursday over 300 local children from Ladywood, Birmingham, took to the Symphony Hall stage for a performance of a lifetime in front of an audience of over 1300 friends and family members, as well as the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Raymond Hassall.
The Generation Ladywood Showcase – sponsored by Service Birmingham and delivered in partnership with Birmingham Music Service – was a culmination of many months’ hard work and saw young musicians from 15 local schools team up with a host of professional performers, including renowned jazz clarinettist and composer Arun Ghosh who composed an especially commissioned massed ensemble work, Three Pieces for Birmingham Children.
Bostin Brass, the Jazzlines Trio and Ex Cathedra also featured in the matinee and the audience was kept entertained with music that crossed an array of spectrums; from Arun’s piece inspired by bhangra, reggae and jazz rock, to steel pan arrangements of well-known pop songs.
Helen Mansfield, Town Hall and Symphony Hall Education and Community Manager, said: “The concert, only made possible through the support of Birmingham Music Service and a number of generous sponsors and donors, demonstrated the talent, commitment and enthusiasm for music shared by the children, staff and families involved in the project, and living in the Ladywood area.
“The unexpected participation and support from all of the children was really something special, they were all singing along, clapping and willing each other on and it was wonderful to see them having such a fantastic time.”
During the extravaganza Jennie Cashman Wilson, CEO and founder of the Abram Wilson Foundation delivered a poignant speech in honour of her late husband’s philosophy: to have no fear in achieving greatness. The Lord Mayor, alongside Jennie and Tony Lubman, Chief Executive of Service Birmingham, presented the first of 12 No Fear Awards to Simran, a violinist from Oratory R.C. Primary School.
The No Fear Award recognises one musician from each school who has shown enthusiasm, commitment and excellence during Jazz Electives sessions with Birmingham Music Service and Town Hall and Symphony Hall. Each recipient of the award will receive a certificate and instrument later this term.
Helen continued, “We are so proud of everyone that has taken part in the Generation Ladywood Showcase, not only this year, but since it began in 2012. Since then we’ve reached an incredible 10,000 children though events and projects both in our halls and in schools. We have witnessed and helped to nurture incredible local talent, and hopefully inspired the next generation of musicians. We couldn’t be prouder of how far this project has come, and excited about what the future has in store.”
Tony Lubman, Chief Executive Officer for Service Birmingham, reflected: “These are incredibly talented young people and we’re proud to be supporting this fantastic event. The Generation Ladywood Showcase is always a huge highlight in our year and, by sponsoring the Abram Wilson No Fear Awards and awarding a lucky pupil with their own instrument, we can continue to help young musicians pursue their dreams.”
Generation Ladywood is a major three-year project that offers a range of musical opportunities to local families, schools and community groups. The programme aims to boosts confidence and self-esteem, develops skills, raise aspirations, improve wellbeing and reduce isolation.
The project is supported by Service Birmingham, Alan Woodfield Charitable Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, BHSF, The Bryant Trust, Dumbreck Charity, Ernest Cook Trust, Eveson Charitable Trust, GJW Turner Trust, Heathcock Charitable Trust, Lord Austin Trust, The Patrick Trust, The Peter and Jane How Trust, The Tiggiwinkle Charitable Trust and wagamama. In addition Jazz Electives is kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation as part of our Jazzlines talent development programme.
The showcase featured talented youngsters from 15 local schools, Barford Primary School, Chad Vale Primary School, City road Primary Academy, George Dixon Primary School, Nelson Primary School, Oratory R.C. Primary and Nursery School, St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School, St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School, St John’s and St Peter’s C of E Primary school, St George’s C of E Primary School, St Patrick’s Catholic Primary school, St Thomas CE (VA) Primary School, Summerfield Primary School and Oasis Academy Woodview.