Each year, Jessica Berners, a Music Service tutor based in West Norfolk, gives her classes the opportunity to perform in the Music For Youth Regional Festival. It is an important part of Jessica’s teaching and encourages the groups to prepare for a public performance, right from the early stages of musical learning.

Music For Youth Regional Festival is the world’s largest youth music festival and takes place in 50 locations nationwide each year. MFY mentors give feedback on each performance and offers the opportunity for some groups to progress to the next stage and represent their county at the MFY National Festival in Birmingham. This year Jessica and her pupils have worked incredibly hard and she has been invited to the National Festival for the tenth year in a row! She is looking forward to expanding her Music For Youth t-shirt collection once again this year!

The groups she will be leading at Birmingham’s Town Hall on 3 July 2018, are “Uke ‘n’ Toot ‘n’ Tap ‘n’ Bows”, a class from Greyfriars Primary who play ukuleles, ocarinas, glockenspiels, xylophones, jumble jams, Pbones, violin and cello, and “West Lynn Strummers and Drummers”, a class of bucket drummers and ukulele players from West Lynn Primary School. Both groups received enthusiastic feedback at their first performances in King’s Lynn in March, however the children’s performance struck a deeper chord with one MFY mentor, who’s personal comments were spotted on social media following the event. No names were mentioned however we instantly knew who they were referring to!

“Today I saw the best example of whole class group leading I have ever seen. Cheap B&Q buckets for drums, with garden dowel sticks; whole class spoon playing; innovative (yes) use of a handful of ukuleles; boomwhackers used cleverly and sensitively; songs sung with gusto and finesse about who those kids were, how and why they make music; dance moves performed with energy and not an ounce of self-consciousness; all abilities given a chance to shine… but most importantly, every single one of them beaming from ear to ear and two hundred listeners left moved, engaged and proud. All because one woman was dedicated and resourceful enough to go above and beyond what’s expected with her two groups. That woman with the buckets and spoons had a class of 30 doing real teamwork and will have gone a long way to getting those kids into music for life.”

Congratulations Jessica and the pupils of West Norfolk!

Jessica was awarded the Hub Achievement Award at the Norfolk Music Hub Expo on 8th June 2018 in recognition of her commitment to WCIT and successes in the Music For Youth Festivals.

In addition to the two WCIT ensembles from West Norfolk, the Norfolk County Symphonic Wind Band are also representing Norfolk at the MFY National Festival for the second year in a row! Read more here >>

Related article: Ninth year of success for Music Service teacher in Music For Youth festival