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National Music Council honours music services

19 November 2012, Rhian Morgan

Oxfordshire County Music Service and SoundStorm, which works in Bournemouth and Poole, have been jointly awarded this year’s National Music Council (NMC) Major Trophy at a ceremony at London’s Southbank Centre. Diplomas went to Barking and Dagenham, East Ayrshire, East Lothian and Southwark.

Liz Stock, deputy head of service at Oxfordshire, said they were delighted by the award. ‘Like most music services we have been extremely busy responding to the National Plan for Music Education and bidding to become the lead partner in a hub,’ she said. ‘2011-12 was a particularly eventful year for Oxfordshire, entailing a significant expansion of activity and broader engagement of children and young people, and it was this that was particularly recognised by the NMC.’

She believes it was the music service’s work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children that particularly caught the eye of the awarding committee, as well as the development of new partnerships, both within the local authority and with a wide range of charitable and other organisations, including Youth Music, to develop programmes and performance opportunities for looked-after children and those at risk of educational and social exclusion.

Julie Spencer, head of community music at Barking and Dagenham Music Education Hub, said their award was ‘a testament to the commitment and high quality of our team of teachers and staff’. ‘We see our relationship with schools and headteachers as key if we are to ensure children experience enjoyment and success from the earliest stages of musical learning,’ she said.

The NMC promotes the interests of the music sector as a whole, with membership drawn from professional and amateur groups. It aims to ‘celebrate and promote the value and enjoyment of music, which contributes, in all its forms, to the cultural, spiritual, educational, social and economic wellbeing of the UK’.

Another winner, Dan Somogyi, team leader at SoundStorm, said the council’s awards had recognised their successes, including the fact that they have been given more than £1m of music education funding until 2015, providing a strong foundation for the future. ‘I think the fact that SoundStorm is very much a modern music service, with a very small core team, fully embracing partnership working, impressed the panel,’ he said. ‘We have more than 35 delivery partners in our new hub, ranging from the locally based Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to the Utterly Butterly Ukelele Project from Leicester. We have great relations with our local authorities and some fantastically supportive schools, teachers and music organisation and venues. The award reflected the not only the work of SoundStorm but also that of our partners.’

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