Hundreds of children to take part in Swaledale Festival jazz project

Swaledale Festival is to collaborate with local schools, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Service (BFBS) and North Yorkshire Youth Music Action Zone (NYMAZ) for a major music and visual art project.

The scheme will involve hundreds of students from schools in Catterick Garrison and the surrounding area, and is a major event in this year’s festival calendar.


As part of Swaledale Festival’s community and education programme, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which comprises twenty of the finest young jazz musicians in Britain, will perform a special concert for 500 school children in the main hall at Risedale Sports and Community College in Catterick Garrison.

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This concert will be streamed to every UK school and recorded for broadcast to every British Army base in the world.

There will be follow-up workshops for students interested in playing and learning more about jazz music.

These will be given by skilled and experienced musicians in conjunction with NYMAZ.

Organisers hope that this exciting project will inspire youngsters to explore jazz music further and perhaps have a go at playing it themselves.

In advance of the live jazz concert, children from several of the primary schools in Catterick and Colburn will be visiting Risedale Sports and Community College to work with the school’s art department.

Researching and listening to jazz, and discussing the history, the characters and the modern twists of this genre of music, will provide a stimulus for the students to produce their own visual works which will then be displayed and celebrated in both The Station Gallery at Richmond and in the library at Catterick Leisure Centre, as well as in the schools themselves.

Festival organisers said they were delighted to be working alongside young people and teachers in the Catterick and Colburn area.

They said the project would strengthen ties locally and serve to enthuse and engage young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience live music on such a magnificent scale.

A Swaledale Festival spokeswoman said: “As a result of this comprehensive project, many hundreds of children in North Yorkshire and around the world will have been exposed to a rich and exciting art form which they may not have even encountered before.

“We feel sure that the experience will entertain and enrich them creatively and perhaps spark something profound in some of them.”