Cheltenham Jazz Festival’s school programme offered three distinct activities this year, engaging some 350 young people and teachers.
Thursday 28 April
Lianne La Havas wowed school students and young people alike when she visited All Saints’ Academy in Springbank and Studio 340 in Lower High Street. Questions ranging from how she found her sound and how she looks after her voice to staying relevant in the industry and building connections prompted thoughtful and informative responses. It was evident that she enjoyed the opportunity to connect with young people who are starting out in the music industry, or are interested in finding out more; it was equally clear that the participants benefited a lot. A typical piece of feedback highlighted ‘A guest speaker giving a true insight into their path into music; information on how to get music noticed; and meeting other young people interested in music
Friday 29th April
After a successful debut in 2015, our Behind the Scenes at Friday Night is Music Night event booked up quickly. Barclays LifeSkills experts ran a session about networking before students enjoyed interacting with professionals representing the artistic, technical and production elements of the show, including producer Anthony Cherry, singers Madeline Bell and Tony Momrelle, and orchestra leader Guy Barker. The icing on the cake was going in to the rehearsal, seeing it all come together – and getting a free show to boot.
This event and the quality of the advice given was outstanding. Pupils really learned about real life in the performing industry and gained transferable skills.
I networked with a percussionist from the BBC concert orchestra after the event outside the big top! It was incredible to make a contact that I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t been on the trip.
Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May
160 young musicians from 9 school bands, plus a surprise set from jazz pianist Alex Steele and friends, entertained a huge and appreciative Jazz It Up audience. Numbers ranging from Take Five to Soul Bossa Nova, Stompin’ at the Savoy to Don’t Bring Lulu kept the Free Stage swinging, and the quality of the final number – Uptown Funk – prompted Festival Director Ian George to say the band ought to be in the Big Top!
The feedback says it all…
Thank you for giving us the opportunity once again. The events management team and sound team were brilliant as always! Can’t wait for next year!
Really enjoyed it! It was my last time playing with my school jazz band and it felt like the perfect way to end!
I am writing to say how much my husband and I enjoyed the schools and young people sessions on the free stage over the weekend. We went all three days and were so impressed with the standard and quality of the music. We were able to recognize some of the young people and see how much their confidence has grown. Well done to all associated with this part of the Jazz Festival and long may it continue.
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