By Guy Carpenter
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra put on a pretty special show at Risedale school yesterday, as part of a project led by NYMAZ, a charity promoting music for young people, and the Swaledale Festival, the annual arts and music festival held in the Richmondshire area.
Students from Risedale and numerous local primary schools collaborated on an art project inspired by jazz music – currently on display at Richmond Station and Catterick Garrison library. Sarah Cox, head of music and creative faculty at Risedale said, “We have really enjoyed exploring the genre of jazz with our students and the work they have produced is terrific.” The participants were introduced to jazz music, and the show at Risedale school provided explanations of the mechanics of jazz music, as performed by leader of the band Mark Armstrong, and his group of twenty young musicians.
A packed hall of around 500 youngsters sat smiling, clapping and clicking their fingers: the music was definitely appealing to them. Colin Scott, the principal of Risedale, said, “We are so pleased that we can invite students from our neighbouring Primary schools to join together and celebrate of jazz. I hope this event will be the start of many creative collaborative projects in the future.”
The lively session of music and demonstrations of instruments and technique was followed by a Q&A session, with such classic questions as, “how much time do you spend practicing?”, which led to a lot of sniggering from the musicians as each tried to pretend that they didn’t practice much. However, in the end it was clear that to make it look that effortless a lot of effort and dedication was required from them all.
As well as Risedale college, the primary schools involved in the project are: Hipswell, Colburn, Michael Sy-dall, Carnagill, Wavell, Le Cateau and Brompton on Swale. Students at all of them will be given the chance to attend jazz music workshops.
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra has helped to launch the careers of musicians such as Amy Winehouse. Malcolm Creese, director of the Swaledale Festival, said that as a jazz musician himself it was wonderful to be able to introduce young people to the art form.
You can watch the performance on Youtube here.