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Kingston-upon-Hull and Manchester share major LEA Music Award

26 October 2009

The National Music Council's Local Education Authority Music Awards 2009 major trophy has been won jointly by Kingston-upon-Hull and Manchester local education authorities. The award wil be presented to representatives of the two authorities on stage at the Music for Youth Schools Prom in the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 9 November.

Diplomas of Special Merit have been awarded to Portsmouth and Tower Hamlets and Diplomas of Merit to Blackpool, Bolton, Devon, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Oxfordshire, Redbridge and Southwark. The PRS Foundation has awarded a Diploma of Special Merit to Bolton and Diplomas of Merit to Devon, East Lothian, Redbridge and Southwark for their commitment to creative music-making. Those awards will be presented on 9 November at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London.

Jazz Services has awarded a Diploma of Special Merit to Devon and Diplomas of Merit to Bolton, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Redbridge for commitment to jazz education.

Ivor Widdison, chair of the awards panel, said: 'The very splendid submissions we have before us are, of course, representative of best practice. We do well to remember that, as far as England is concerned, without the government's Music standards Fund and Wider Opportunities funds a lot of that best practice would not survive. North of the border, though the Scottish Arts Council's Youth Music Initiative grants are a very welcome icing on the cake, the education authorities themselves provide virtually all the funding and, of course, it is common practice in Scotland not to charge for tuition! It is all public money. So let us, again, salute the local and national politicians who authorise such worthy spends.


First course for Irish singing teachers takes place this weekend

26 October 2009

The first ever training course for Irish singing teachers will be held at Dromantine Conference Centre, Newry, Co Down, from 30 October to 1 November. It is the culmination of seven years' planning by Teachers of Singing in Ireland (TOSINI) and is based on the model established in England by the Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS). Two master teachers, the Irish mezzo soprano Colette McGahon and Professor Paul Deegan, will work on a one-to-one basis with participants and the various topics covered will include essential anatomy for singers; sight singing techniques; audition and exam preparation; classical and music training; and teachers as performers. 

Participant places are now full, but the sessions are open to observers at a cost of £5.00.

More information from the course administrator, Marie O'Sullivan, at

Royal Academy of Music to hold forum on music for disadvantaged young people

15 October 2009

Following the recent visit to the UK by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, there will be an open forum entitled Forging links and creating pathways for the disadvantaged young musician at the Royal Academy of Music in London, on Saturday 14 November at 3.30pm. All are welcome; email for further information.

Carol-writing competition 'The Christmas Factor' launched

6 October 2009

Ecclesiastical Insurance and have launched The Christmas Factor, a competition to compose a new carol in the Christian tradition on the theme of the Nativity. The competition aims to renew public interest in carolling, following a survey that revealed a degree of hostility it. According to the YouGov survey, 29% of the British public do not want carol singers to come to their homes; a further 19% said they would not answer the door and 3% would ask them to leave. It is hoped that The Christmas Factor will cast carols in a new light, by encouraging entrants to weave in contemporary themes. The winner will have their carol performed in ‘the largest doorstep carol-singing event of all time’, and will also receive £1,000. Entries – in any musical style but not longer than four minutes – can be made via the ChurchAds website. Winners will be announced in December; a closing date is yet to be published.

Greenwich Borough Choir calls for new young members

6 October 2009

Young singers, MCs and beatboxers from Greenwich, London are invited to come and sing alongside professional singers from choir Sense of Sound (SOS) as part of Greenwich Borough Choir (GBC), a new contemporary choir from the Sing Up Greenwich initiative. SOS has reached the finals of competitions including BBC Radio 3’s Choir of the Year and BBC One’s Last Choir Standing. GBC will be run by SOS’s Artistic Director Juliet Russell, who says of the project that ‘it is full of talented individuals who work together to create something that sounds amazing. We don’t use instruments so the voice might become a beat or a bass line as well as a beautiful melody.’ GBC is looking for new members between the ages of 12 and 19 who have a passion for music. Email or call 020 7229 6633 for details.

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