“There was such a wonderful atmosphere at that first event. In a quiet way the young people were in awe. It went off with such a bang and was a real eye-opener for me. I remember there was a little girl singing in the front row of a choir who fainted because she was so taken aback by the experience. She got up though, and carried on singing.
The Festival of the Music For Youth had such a tremendous reception - it was received with such high support and encouragement from parents and teachers alike. People really favoured that it wasn’t competitive and that we encouraged music of every genre, from instrumental music to ensembles.”
- Larry Westland, Founder of Music for Youth, 1970
"It appears,in a way, such an obvious idea: a Schools Prom.There is now so much good music, in such sparkling diversity of styles, being produced in the schools of Great Britain, it’s surprising that tonight’s concert is the first of what we hope will be many such annual presentations in the years to come."
- Humphrey Metzgen, 1975
“I found my copy of the vinyl that was made following the first ever Schools Prom as it was called in those days! I played 1st Oboe and we played l'apres midi d'un faune. The performance was amazing and I went on to study oboe & piano at RCM - followed up by a teaching career. I still play in local orchestras.”
- Susan Simington, Brighton Youth Orchestra, 1975
"My favourite memory is the vastness of the audience – so many people attended and I had never experienced playing to such large audiences. This formed in my mind that I wanted to pursue the career of a solo percussionist."
- Dame Evelyn Glennie, 1978
“In the late 70's, the counties would all bring brass bands to the national festival. When Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, she encouraged schools to do their own thing. The musical diversity on display at Music for Youth did get more interesting as a result of that in the 80's.”
- Robin Bynoe, Former Company Secretary of Music for Youth and long term board member, 1980
“As students (Phoenix 1984) we had a wonderful experience performing at the Albert hall - we’d travelled from Cumbria - and it was great to be backstage waiting for our performance - the tension was electric! Years later taking my girls vocal group back to perform at the South Bank was also unforgettable for the girls.”
— Harris Lesley, 1980
"MFY has given me the opportunity to see how I handled the act of performing, how important the presence of an audience is, how I handled the before and after effects of a performance. The experience has taught me a lot about myself that has gone far beyond only the music-making. It has taught me the importance of how music is our daily medicine and how we can each make a difference and ultimately a bridge with ourselves and others.”
- Dame Evelyn Glennie, 1986
In 1993 I was leader of the Gwent Youth Wind Symphonia and we performed Milhaud’s Suite Francaise in the National Festival in the South Bank. 25 years later I am very privileged to be the director of the same group (now called Gwent Youth Wind Orchestra) who will be performing in the opening night of the Schools Proms in the Royal Albert Hall!
I played at the Schools Prom in 1997 with my music centre jazz band! As a teacher and conductor I wanted my students to experience what I did with Music for Youth - and I’ve been lucky enough to bring choirs to several national festivals and conduct at school Prom in 2011.
MUSIC FOR YOUTH HAS HELPED ME GROW AS A MUSICIAN BY GIVING ME OPPORTUNITIES THAT I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE.
MFY’S REPUTATION IS INCREDIBLE. IT IS BRILLIANT AND I TRULY MEAN THAT! IT HAS HAD A HUGE IMPACT ON OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. OUR PUPILS HAVE SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DO NOT GET MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO PERFORM IN FANTASTIC VENUES. THROUGH MFY WE HAVE MANAGED TO PERFORM AT THE HMV INSTITUTE, THE BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY HALL AND THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL TWICE! IT’S SO IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY TO THE FAMILIES. AND IT GIVES OUR YOUNG PEOPLE INCREASED SELF-ESTEEM, INCLUSION, SELF-HELP SKILLS, TEAMWORK.