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Behind the Scenes... of the National Music for Youth competition

Year 11 student and musician, Emma B, takes us behind the scenes of Mountbatten's Music Department and their recent performance for the National Music For Youth Competition.

On Wednesday 23rd March, Mountbatten's Wind Band and Big Band participated in the National Music for Youth competition with the aim of being invited to play in Birmingham Symphony Hall later this year.

The two bands performed a total of four different, but equally fantastic, pieces at Richard Taunton College. Wind Band with Seventy-Six Trombones and Incantations, while Big Band played Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (with a great opening solo from 1st Trumpet, Toby S (10MRA)) and Better Get It Into Your Soul, which included many exciting solos from multiple members of the band.

It was a very enjoyable morning for us all (despite having to arrive at school much earlier than normal!) not only because we were able to perform live for an actual audience, but because it was great to see different musical groups play a wide variety of pieces and genres - there was a pop group, singers and a rock band for us to enjoy!

Students in their early morning rehearsal.

The day began with a very early rehearsal - 7.45am start - then we had to quickly load everything onto the van. Unfortunately, the timpani didn't fit on, so a few Year 11s had to try and fit them in with the coach luggage! After a struggle with that, we left  school at around 9am and arrived at the college around 15 minutes later - the timpani made it one piece!

Students on their way to the venue.

At the college, we had to unload everything and set it up in Wind Band’s normal setup, a semicircle with percussion on either side,

which took quite a long time, as we had to rearrange some things so that everyone could fit on the stage. Once set up, we had time to have a last minute rehearsal and tune up before Wind Band were due to perform at 10.30am. 

Wind Band, despite going first, performed very well, any previous nerves dissipated once we’d begun. Big Band, after a short break while a pop group played, was also really great, especially for the soloists to be able to play and receive applause from the audience, and the two judges, as well as the rest of the band. 

Both Mountbatten bands received lots of positive feedback from the judges, for example, Incantations was described as 'dramatic with the contrasting dynamics', Seventy-Six Trombones as 'a great opener', and Better Get It Into Your Soul's soloists earned lots of well deserved praise for their talent. 

Of course, our musical director, Mr Marchant, who conducted both the bands, also received thanks and applause along with the other two music teachers (Miss Crossen and Miss Wardle) who attended the event and helped with setting up and packing away our equipment.

Students performing at Richard Tauton College.

Wind Band and Big Band have been rehearsing their pieces since the beginning of January. It was certainly a joy to perform them after all the hard work everyone has put in over the past two-and-a-half months, especially after hearing the great feedback on the day.

You can watch the video highlights of our day on the school Instagram page here


We are currently awaiting results on the competition, but hope Mountbatten will go ahead and perform in Birmingham, against many other musical ensembles, for the first time in years!