Well that was quite a summer! With sport putting Birmingham on the world map, the city’s art and culture was also in the spotlight and B:Music led the way.
The charity behind Symphony Hall and the Town Hall laid on a diverse programme as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, putting homegrown talent on the global stage. With regional acts leading the march, both venues showcased a range of entertainment that included jazz, hip hop, ceilidh and the spoken word. Running alongside these cutting-edge performances, a number of programmes continued to inspire and develop budding talent well into the future.
With a mission to inspire a love of live music through performance, participation and learning, B:Music is not just responsible for Symphony Hall and Town Hall. As a leading city charity, it also strives to offer support to countless local artists. It does this through ongoing commissions and collaborations with up-and-coming musicians, working across Birmingham and Europe
Beyond The Bricks … In June, Symphony Hall was lit up with the sounds of the city as it hosted Beyond the Bricks of Brum, part of the six-month cultural festival associated with the 2022 Commonwealth Games. In conjunction with the renowned BBC Symphony Orchestra, the one-off performance focussed on creativity from across the region with more than 100 musicians taking part. New arrangements and compositions from internationally renowned a cappella quintet Black Voices, Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey and rapper and MC Sanity were performed alongside work by poet and rapper John Bernard, spoken-word poet Jasmine Gardosi, hip-hop artist TrueMendous and singer and composer Agaama.
Jazzlines Summer School … August saw the return of Summer School, a free week-long course for 11-19 year-olds from across the region. Sixty young people took part, with 24 tutors, many of whom are B:Music alumni and now professional musicians, learning improvisation, writing songs and performance skills
Victoria Square Festival Site … Throughout the summer, music was brought to the masses with free live performances to support the Commonwealth Games. Some of the most popular events were the special family Accessible Ceilidh sessions. These high-energy performances by Juniper certainly got audiences on their feet as the group worked their way through the best English, Scottish and Irish tunes. Even Perry the Bull, the Commonwealth Games mascot was seen taking part!
Generation Ladywood … Generation Ladywood is one of B:Music’s flagship Talent Development Projects. Now in its tenth year it has seen more than 15,000 young musicians from the Ladywood area of Birmingham perform on the iconic Symphony Hall stage. This year culminated in a showcase with two brand new jazz commissions from singer, songwriter and composer Sara Colman and pianist, composer and educator David Austin Grey. Both artists worked with Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three pupils from the Ladywood area alongside the talented tutors from Services for Education Music Service and the Jazzlines tutors. The young musicians worked hard over the last year on presenting these world premiere pieces, and the performance was a celebration of Birmingham and the breadth of talent here in the city
Sing While You Work … B:Music offers busy Brummies the chance to brighten up their working week with lunchtime singing sessions. This month sees the launch of this fully inclusive project run by professional choir leaders at the Jennifer Blackwell Stage at Symphony Hall. Open to anyone who works in Birmingham City Centre, those joining in don’t need to read music as songs will be taught by rote, and they’ll be a variety of genres covered.
Nashville Sounds In The Round … Audiences will be dusting down their Stetsons as Birmingham’s premier country songwriter night returns to the Symphony Hall later this month. Hosted by British Country Music Association Duo of the Year Gasoline & Matches, artists are invited to tell the stories behind their songs in a Bluebird Café style ‘In The Round’ session. Hosted in the Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space, audiences will get the chance to hear songs stripped back to their origins. For tickets information click HERE