The Junior Traditional Group from St Mary’s Magherafelt was the only band from Northern Ireland to be invited to a leading UK youth music festival.
The week-long event, dubbed ‘Music For Youth’, celebrates the best young musicians from across the UK and took place at the start of July in Birmingham.
To be eligible to play at the festival, groups have to go through regional auditions but as there is no heat held in Northern Ireland, St Mary’s Grammar send a recording of their audition.
The school has a long established tradition of attending the festival, which has been held in Birmingham for over 10 years.
And so this year a new crop of traditional players, all between the ages of 12-14, recorded their entry and we’re delighted to be invited along to the festival.
The band from St Mary’s performed on July 9 in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham, Conservatoire of Music in a section of the festival entitled ‘World, Roots and Folk Music’. The group got the opportunity to perform along side steel pan groups and Egyptian drummers and after their performance the ‘music mentors’ commented on the group’s innate feel for the music they were performing said a spokesperson for the school.
The music celebration also has a fringe festival and the young group entertained shoppers in Birmingham Centre while getting a taste of what it’s like to busk.
Music For Youth also run the annual ‘School Proms’ which at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The group will find out in September if they have been invited to perform at this event.