Talented young musicians were honoured at a prestigious awards ceremony celebrating their success.
Hundreds of music lovers packed into St John’s Church, in Wolverhampton, as young musicians showcased their talents and were presented with certificates for their achievements.
The annual awards organised by Wolverhampton Music Service, which is now in its fourth year, aims to celebrate the musical achievements of the city’s young people.
Around 70 youngsters were eligible for awards having attended classes run by the organisation the previous year.
The service, based at the Wolverhampton Music School in Graiseley Hill, also provides tuition for 2,000 primary school children across the city.
Sarah Fletcher, head of development at Wolverhampton Music Service, said: “It was thrilling to see so many young people from the city celebrating their musical success.
“We run classes for all ability levels and ages up to 18, so seeing our students receive their certificates after all their hard work was a real joy.”
This year’s ceremony featured special guest Major Jason Griffiths, the director of music of The Band of the Blues and Royals who perform annually at Trooping The Colour. Major Griffiths honed his musical craft at the Wolverhampton Music Service having attended Pendeford High School.
He told the audience that although he was not particularly academic at school, music gave him the confidence to progress in life. Among the stand-out performers was 17-year-old clarinet player Emma Grainger who attends Smestow School in Wolverhampton.
She played Schumann’s Fantasy Piece, which at Grade 8 is the highest attainable in pre-college level British music exams. Mrs Fletcher said: “Four years ago Emma was here being presented with a Grade 2 certificate, now she has achieved the very highest level.
“She is a good example of the rewards hours of dedication and practice can bring.”
Members of Wolverhampton’s Youth Music Service’s wind orchestra played a 12-piece rendition of Banchieri’s An Echo Fantasy. The service suffered a tragic loss last year when former head David Woodyer died suddenly.
His memory was honoured by the presentation of a memorial award in his name, which was won by Tom Winfield for his outstanding contribution to the city’s Youth Music Theatre.
Mrs Fletcher said: “We were all very close to David and his wife Lesley, who passed away in 2009. They set up the Youth Music Theatre and their work in helping and inspiring young musicians over the years cannot be overstated.
“We wanted something to remember them by. It takes so much hard work to succeed in playing a musical instrument, but you can see from the faces of the performers how much they enjoy it.
“Music is one of the few things I can think of that is both enjoyable and good for you.”