The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) welcomed its Patron, HRH The Earl of Wessex, at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Monday last week, for the first of two sold-out nights at the club. Before the performance, HRH attended the annual NYJO Chairman’s Reception to meet the band’s friends, supporters, young musicians and staff.
Among the guests were Lord Coe (NYJO Honorary Vice-President), Winston Rollins (NYJO alumnus & Deputy Music Director), Tim Garland (saxophonist, composer, NYJO guest artist & chair sponsor) and Steve Sidwell (NYJO alumnus and conductor of London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony).
Speeches were made by Nigel Tully (Executive Chair of NYJO), Ben Appiah (NYJO Academy graduate), Cath Sewell (Regional Manager, Lancashire Music Service) and Mark Armstrong (Artistic and Music Director, NYJO).
Nigel Tully said:
“Our ambition is that all children in all parts of the country will have the same opportunity to enjoy and play jazz at the highest level, inspired by NYJO musicians who are old enough to be truly excellent but young enough to be their role models. NYJO has a successful recipe for improving those young lives and helping them to reach their potential; we want to use it to take the jazz message to more of the places that need us most.”
Ben Appiah said:
“Being part of the NYJO family has had a hugely positive impact on my musical development and has helped me progress to studying jazz at university.”
Cath Sewell said:
“The chances to work with organisations such as NYJO can be few and far between outside of London, particularly in more isolated rural areas, and the meaningful partnerships NYJO is building with Music Hubs ensure its work has the highest impact across the country.”
Mark Armstrong said:
“I am delighted to be taking NYJO’s programme of world-class performances and sector-leading education work across the country. Our approach of mixing new music and classics from the big band canon means we can celebrate tradition whilst looking to the future.”
Following the reception, NYJO gave a performance which included two brand-new works by current NYJO chair holders (Tom Ridout and Sam Glaser). HRH was due to attend only the first set, but stayed until the final bar of the encore; his office wrote the next day to get copies of NYJO’s latest CDs!