Sunday, September 05, 2010

Youth in Harmony

18 years ago a newly appointed music adviser to Cleveland County Education Authority asked why we had a youth orchestra but not a youth choir. He promptly set about forming such a choir. Today he said goodbye to their successors, handing them on to their new conductor at a superb concert in The Sage, Gateshead.
At that time, 18 years ago, I was involved in helping with the Cleveland Youth Orchestra as the proud parent of first one then two members. The orchestra was going from strength to strength and went on annual tours in Europe, giving concerts and seeing something of life in places they probably wouldn't visit on family holidays. It was agreed that the new Youth Choir would accompany the Orchestra on their next tour and so bigger and broader tours were born. There have been many changes since then - of personnel, of local government structure and funding - and this blog is not the place to document all of them, but the choir continues.
John has left two legacies to music in the this area of the Tees Valley. At one end of the spectrum is the Youth Choir which now produces music of which a standard which approaches that of professional choirs and which is a fertile ground from which a steady stream of professional singers emerges. At the other end is the firm commitment to the vision that everyone can sing - they just need help to find their voice. If both of those legacies are built on then music in the Tees Valley will continue to give great pleasure to many and will continue to be a force for good in the lives of many children.
At their concert in the Sage John introduced and congratulated all the leavers and new starters for this year, and the choir thanked John and his wife Audrey with the gift of a photograph of Roseberry Topping taken by local photographer Joe Cornish whose daughter also happens to be a talented singer and member of the choir.

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