Music For Youth
On Friday 8th July, just 24 hours after returning from the Barcelona tour, the RSA Big Band performed at the Music for Youth National Festival at Birmingham Town Hall.
The band played 3 pieces: ‘What Were You Thinking’, ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘Back to the Basement’. They performed extremely well and received some excellent feedback from the adjudicators.
Getting through to the National Festival is a big achievement as only 300 groups of the 1600 groups who performed in the Regional festivals nationwide were put through. From the 300 groups that performed at the National Festival just 30 will be chosen for the Schools’ Proms in November. We will have to wait till August to see if the Big Band is amongst the chosen ones.
Well done to all the performers (soloists indicated with a *):
- Andrew Martin* – flute
- Natalie Crook*, Jane Earland & Alice Riches – alto saxes
- Esme Butler Davies* & Kim Jeffs – tenor saxes
- Holly Barnett – baritone sax
- Molly Sykes*, Sophie Burleigh, Maddie Oakland, Josh Watson – trumpets
- Joe Horspool* & Tom Jenkins – trombones
- Taylor Burton* – piano
- Jake Cartwright* – guitar
- Jake Bentley – bass guitar
- Jonny Nicholson – drum kit
- Lyle Burton – auxiliary percussion
To listen to the performance, please click on the uploaded files of the three pieces which were:
- ‘What Were You Thinking’ by Chris Sharp, featuring Esme Butler Davies (tenor sax) and Joe Horspool (trombone)
- ‘My Funny Valentine’ by Richard Rodgers arr. Mike Smukal, featuring Molly Sykes (trumpet) and Natalie Crook (alto sax)
- ‘Back to the Basement’ by Erik Morales, featuring Taylor Burton (piano), Andrew Martin (flute) and Jake Cartwright (guitar)
Song no. 1: The Funk
What a great start! Instantly infectious groove with a really deep ‘pocket’. Extremely tight horn section (Tower of Power), a great BVs [backing vocals] section and some wonderful front-man vocals and James Brown style dance moves! Lots of space in the breakdown section too which was lovely to hear.
Song no.2: Naïve
Lovely 6/8 ballad with some very accomplished vocal melody and BVs as well as excellent close harmonies from the 5-piece horn section – nice choreography too! Really like the phrasing with the drums – very tight ending.
Song no.3: Rhythm & Music
Another great groove – REALLY FUNKY! Killer bassline, guitar comping, keys as well as energetic drums + percussion. So much energy on stage. You look great as a band and make the whole stage your own. Love the tightness of the horn section and the BVs, as well as the interchangeable front person (all 3 of you are very engaging).
Suggestions for development:
Fantastic to see such a polished performance of 3 great originals. A really well conceived programme too – two groove tunes and one 6/8 ballad in the middle.
Keep listening to the greats to further inspire your creative writing, but make sure to fuse it with your own ideas as you’re clearly already doing (I’d love to hear some solos too in a longer gig!).
On Sunday, 6th March Soul Patrol took part in the Music for Youth Regional Rock, Pop and Urban Festival at the Mac in Birmingham.
Music for Youth is the largest music festival in the UK. Over 60 regional festivals are held throughout the country during February and March each year featuring about 1600 groups and over 20,000 young people from primary school age up to the age of 21. Both instrumental and vocal ensembles of all sizes and musical styles can enter the festival. There are no ‘winners’ but each group receives written and oral feedback on the day from two music mentors who are themselves professional musicians. Although it is not a competition as such, there is the chance to progress from the regional festival through to the next stage. From the 1600 groups that have performed in the regional festivals across the country about 330 will be chosen for the National Festival in July and from there about 30 groups will be chosen for the Schools’ Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November.
Members of Soul Patrol had written new original songs especially for this festival. Pianist Taylor Burton had written two contrasting songs, ‘The Funk’ (with lyrics by singer Ellis Barthorpe) and ‘Naïve’, whilst guitarist Jake Cartwright had composed a third original ‘Rhythm & Music’ with lyrics by singer Georgia Whittle. The band received superb feedback from the adjudicators who were very impressed with the quality of the song writing as well as the performance itself. We will now have to wait until the end of May to find out whether the band will progress to the national festival in Birmingham in July.
Soul Patrol will be performing these three new original songs in the academy’s Spring Concert on Wednesday 23rd March so please come along to hear the real premiere of them then. Videos of the Music for Youth performance will appear here after the Spring Concert.