Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music, upped the octaves on Friday when it hosted the first ever Music for Youth Festival in Scotland. Held in Lourdes Secondary School’s performance space in Cardonald – more than 20 schools sent music groups ranging from Irish Folk, to school choirs, from woodwind bands, to steel bands, and from classical guitar to jazz. The non-competitive atmosphere and the acoustically good hall – well mic-ed by Alex Bell – gave each performing group a chance to do their best.
Faculty Head of Performing Arts at Lourdes, Debbie MacVicar, who was the organiser, said: ‘This is a coup! It gives young people the chance to listen to different genres of music, have the opportunity to appreciate them and hear the critiques.’ All done in a day in a friendly, welcoming and non-competitive atmosphere.
A spokeswoman for the Music for Youth organisation said it had been a ‘fantastic’ day. ‘We’ve been holding Festivals like this in England for 24 years but this is the first time in Scotland, thanks to help from Creative Scotland and the work of Debbie MacVicar.’
Two professional musicians listen to each performance and give feedback as mentors. Some of the musicians will be invited to a Scottish regional final in Perth in June along with counterparts from Inverness and Perth Festivals. The UK finale will be in the Royal Albert Hall, London in November.
Said Lourdes Head Teacher Patricia Lennon: ‘This was a stunning day. I went along in the morning intending to stay for the first act and ended staying all morning. It was one of the best mornings I’ve ever experienced in my career. It reinforces how talented our students are and how supportive they can be of each other.’ She was also present most of the afternoon too.
Also attending was Glasgow’s Director of Education, Maureen McKenna who welcomed all the participants on behalf of the city. She said: ‘The performers in this Festival are the stars of the future.’
Among the groups were The Fridays, visually impaired young people from Hazelwood School in Bellahouston who had feet tapping with a strong lead singer in Lauren; a 30-strong choir from Springburn Academy who sang with gusto and Hillhead Jazz Band with more than a dozen singers and musicians all colour co-ordinated in red and black but each with their own dress style though a uniform music style which was well appreciated.
The Fridays’ next appearance will be at Glasgow Grand Central Hotel where a fund-raising ball will be held for the school.