The Coronation Weekend of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in May 2023 was a musical extravaganza across the UK, with events catering to various tastes and locations. Whilst there were a variety of televised musical events, Music for Youth offered funding and support to Music Education Hubs all over the country to enable young musicians to get a chance to perform on historic bandstands across the country.
The project was funded by Arts Council England and made possible thanks to National Lottery players. The Music for Youth coronation project saw young musicians perform on bandstands in public parks across all regions of England. We wanted to unite young people across the country to celebrate this national moment in history.
Over the coronation weekend, there were 16 events in Barrow, Birmingham, Brighton, Cheltenham x 2, Falmouth, Havering, Hillingdon, Lowestoft, Norfolk, North Tyneside, Nottinghamshire x 2, Penzance and Somerset x2. Music for Youth also hosted a legacy event at its National Festival in Birmingham in July.
The sun shone for most of the weekend, creating a fabulous summer atmosphere throughout the country as people headed down to their local bandstand for a fun-filled day. Thousands of young musicians showcased their talents and celebrated the coronation in diverse musical styles. From classical anthems to contemporary pop and rock, the celebrations reflected the vibrant musical landscape of the UK.
Across the 9 regions of England, we had 8,738 young performers take part, showcasing their talents to an audience of almost 50,000 people!
“The event was a great promotion of live music-making by young people to other young people.” - Penzance
A specially commissioned fanfare by young composer, Chris Brook, was performed at several bandstands, adding a fresh and exciting element to the celebrations. Chris is a 19-year-old composer and musician from Norwich and has been studying composition primarily with David Stowell for 6 years. Over 12 years of music making, he has enjoyed studying the clarinet, bassoon, and piano among others, performing in the Norfolk County Symphonic Wind Band (bass clarinet), Norfolk County Youth Orchestra (principal bassoon and clarinet), Norfolk Students Jazz orchestra (lead alto saxophone), and multiple ensembles in the Guildhall Young Artists Norwich Centre. The fanfare provided a uniting moment for the young musicians, enabling them to feel part of a wider initiative.
Music for Youth received a lot of positive press coverage highlighting the event, including a full page in The Times newspaper, written by Richard Morrison on Friday 14th April 2023 (Read the article here ), along with news stories on ITV and BBC.
“The Mayor of Great Yarmouth gave an incredible speech at the end of the day about the power of music in the lives of young people and what an awesome event this had been to showcase talent across the region. The Bandstand was extremely well attended throughout the day and ran concurrently with art opportunities for young people to take part in while watching the music, dance and drama performances. Being able to stream the coronation alongside performances from young people really added to the overall magic on the day and even though the weather was not on our side by the end, the sheer numbers that stayed to watch the finale was a testament to the outstanding contributions that had been made by our young people throughout the day.” - Norfolk
Overall, the Music for Youth Celebration of the King's Coronation was a vibrant and joyful expression of young talent and creativity. It served as a beautiful ode to the new reign while showcasing the future of music in England.