Cumbria & Lancashire

In Cumbria, NYJO have worked since 2014 to help develop and implement their jazz strategy which faces the difficulties of rural isolation and lack of progression routes for talented young musicians.  In 2015, Mark & the Ambassadors had several visits to the Carlisle area in the north of the county, leading to the formation of a new ensemble, which had its debut performance supporting NYJO at the Sands Centre.

Developing from this, we revisited Cumbria in January 2017, this time focusing on the southern & westerly parts of the county.  For the work in the south, we also collaborated with Lancashire Music Service.  Many of their students, due to geography, would find it easier to collaborate with students in the other county, so we facilitated a workshop series in Kendal to make links between these students. This was part of a week-long programme that included workshops from Keswick – Chorley reaching over 400 students from KS2 – BTEC levels.


‘The success of the project was not only down to the superb standard of playing, but also the way it was delivered – Mark and the Ambassadors were able to reach and engage young musicians whatever their level of experience, and created an environment where they felt safe to explore, improvise, create and perform together.

…through the work of the Ambassadors, [NYJO] will also inspire a generation of young people to open their ears and minds to jazz and improvised music, and benefit from the lifelong opportunities and enrichment this brings.

Cath Sewell, Lancashire Music Service


Read Jack Moore’s story here, a participant in the Cumbria projects.



NYJO have been working in partnership with Hull Music Service for two years consecutively. Our partnership with Hull has been focused on support in key areas of their well-established jazz music programme. During the first year, both the full band and Soweto Kinch worked closely with the City of Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra. Following on from such a successful collaboration, we went back for a second year with our Ambassadors for two days of workshops with students aged 8-22 and a concert as part of the Hull Jazz Festival.

There have been some fantastic outcomes for those who participated in these projects, some of which we have been lucky enough to see first-hand.


Read Will King’s story, trombonist in Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra and now also in the NYJO Academy Big Band.