A Festive Evening at the Music Centre

Recently, we enjoyed a full week of end-of-term concerts and celebrations across our seven Music Centres! Read ahead to find out about the spectacular performance that took place at our North Music Centre as musicians came together to welcome the festive season.
Pupils playing folk music with wood string instruments on stage, led by an instructor at the front.
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According to tradition, the festive season doesn’t officially begin until Advent, the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Until then, we should wait before putting up our Christmas trees and decorations, although some of us don’t have the patience. But generally, people agree that it takes a particular moment to get into the festive spirit – that first sip of mulled wine at the Christmas markets, writing out Christmas cards, or shopping for Christmas presents.

For me, the festive season began almost unexpectedly last week on a Thursday evening. I was heading down to the North Music Centre to attend their end-of-term musical celebration when it suddenly started snowing. At seeing our first snowfall of the season, I felt the first glimmer of that “Christmassy feeling” – but that was only the beginning.

About the Music Centres

Across the city of Manchester, One Education runs seven Music Centres for children and young people, making high-quality music education and performance opportunities accessible to all. With a range of groups and ensembles in all kinds of musical genres, styles and instruments, our instructors help pupils to build on their creative skills and inspire a lifelong love of music-making. But more than that, the Music Centres offer children a community, bringing together people from all walks of life, bound by their shared passion for music.

When I arrived at the North Music Centre last Thursday, I was reminded of the strength of these communities and how important it is for young people to feel that sense of belonging. As I stepped inside, I was immediately engulfed by the buzz of families and friends catching up with each other. Students were dressed up in Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and sparkly Christmas jumpers. Everyone was so warm and welcoming; it felt almost like a family. And in some ways, it is. Many of the music leaders and even several parents attended the centre in their youth and now, as adults, have returned to continue their love of music and inspire the next generation.

The North Music Centre provides a variety of musical opportunities and pathways for children age 3 – 18. From Polkadots for the youngest, wind and string ensembles, samba, folk, and rock bands, to music technology and songwriting, the centre nurtures a wide range of musical talents and interests. So, there was lots to look forward to as we took our seats in the theatre and waited for the lights to dim.

North Music Centre concert

The Concert

The samba band were the first to perform, one of the most popular groups with young musicians. They performed Samba Reggae with a Christmas twist, accompanied by flute and saxophone. A vibrant and lively performance; the concert was off to a wonderful start.

The wind band then brought us a stunning performance of “March of the Magi” and “Starlight Overture.” It was lovely to see the confidence and skill of the young musicians, and proud parents quickly got out their phones to capture the moment on camera.

Up next, the folk band. Impressively, they learnt the tunes the traditional way, by ear rather than from sheet music. And they played beautifully, with a blend of violins, cello, guitar and percussion. They performed “Lord Frog” and “Toss the Feathers,” lovely folk tunes reminiscent of a traditional Christmas celebrated around the hearth.

Then we received a brilliant rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the Manchester Youth Wind Orchestra, followed by a medley of Christmas songs. The younger children in the audience couldn’t help dancing along!

We also enjoyed hearing an original song from student rock band, The Conspirators. They played us their brand new single, “Fifty One.” The band was super talented, proving that whatever was in Manchester’s drinking water back in the day, bringing us bands like The Stone Roses, Oasis and The Smiths, clearly we’ve still got it.

The fabulous evening concluded with a performance from the Blackley Community Stage Band, who played a range of fun and upbeat jazz songs. They performed in memory of one of their band members, Martin Baker, a talented trombonist who had recently passed away. Like other volunteers, he had originally seen the band perform as a parent before getting involved himself. They dedicated all their songs to him, but “Jingle Bells” in particular – hoping that, ‘wherever he is, he’s playing along with us.’

With that, the show came to an end. Families waved and cheered from the audience as the musicians took a final bow on stage. Each and every one of them performed brilliantly; it was clear to see how hard they had all worked. Working in education, we often talk about the importance of inspiring pupils. But that night, we were reminded just how much children and young people can inspire us!

Just before we headed home, Adam Cooke took the opportunity to introduce himself as the new head of service for Music at One Education. He gave a huge thanks to teachers and parents for their support, reminding us that there are many more places available at the Music Centres for more children and young people to take part.

And so, it was time to leave. By the time I stepped outside again, the snow had stopped falling. But as I headed home, there was no doubt about it – the festive season had truly started.

Thank you to everyone involved in making the end-of-term concerts such a wonderful success! We had a lovely week celebrating across all our Music Centres and can’t wait to see you perform again!

We are delighted to tell you that membership to our Music Centres is still free.

If you are interested in joining, please complete an enrolment form or send an email to music@oneeducation.co.uk

For more information, visit myhub.org.uk and click the Music Centres tab.

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