MORE than 1,700 young musicians, performing with their schools or as part of Hampshire Music Service’s county and area youth ensembles, gave the concert of a lifetime at The Royal Albert Hall on St George’s Day.

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service took over the world-famous venue for the whole evening on April 23, for an unprecedented performance opportunity – the largest event ever organised by the service.

Nearly 200 Hampshire schools were represented at the event, by pupils aged from seven to 19. Among them were pupils from Amery Hill School in Alton and The Petersfield School, as well as primary school children from Selborne, Greatham, Langrish, Medstead and Weyford, and Liss and Liphook junior schools.

They took part in a programme of performances that included wind, string and brass ensembles, orchestras, massed choirs, dancers and groups that specialise in samba, jazz and Japanese Taiko drumming.

Special guests joining in Hampshire’s spectacular were the Band of the Scots Guards, together with actors Sarah Parish as narrator and Christian Brassington as compere.

The programme included the premiere of newly-commissioned work My World, a thought-provoking piece highlighting humanity’s impact on our planet, by lyricist Zella Compton and composer Tom Guyer.

The programme covered a broad range of styles, from jazz to marching bands and from classical pieces to samba.

In honour of the centenary of the end of the First World War, it also included performances of We Will Remember Them and Passchendaele, composed by Major Simon Haw. This piece is a tribute to the brave men who gave their lives in 1917 at Passchendaele, one of the most notorious battles of the First World War.

It was recently performed for the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee.

Hampshire Music Service co-ordinates bands, ensembles, orchestras and choirs for children and young people across the county.

The service organises some 400 performances every year, which can range from small gatherings of musicians and their families to large events in public venues such as Winchester Cathedral, The Anvil, and even The Royal Albert Hall. The service also supports schools to provide quality music tuition and affordable instrument hire to pupils.

Groups of young musicians from Hampshire’s ensembles and choirs have previously performed individual pieces at The Royal Albert Hall, as part of the Music for Youth proms, but this is the first time Hampshire Music Service’s young performers have given an entire concert at the prestigious venue.

* For more details about the Hampshire Music Service and how to get involved,