The Harrogate Youth Music Festival has been running for many years and has built up a well-deserved international reputation. This year’s event hosted groups from Kenya, Germany, USA and Ireland in addition to many groups from the UK. This festival, which is non-competitive by design, provides an excellent opportunity for ensembles and performing arts group from around the world to come together where lasting memories and new friendships are forged.

The festival ran from 25th – 30th March with Coláiste Bhríde Concert Band attending for four of those days. Performances took place in various historic locations in the Harrogate area. The school Concert Band participated in an outdoor concert in the beautiful town of Ripley, well known for its Downton Abbey location! The group made a big impression during an open mic evening session when as a choral group, led by Richard O’Toole on guitar and on vocals Jackie Whelan, they performed a well-received selection of songs.

Day three was spent engaging in cultural activities which included a visit to York Minster, York Castle Museum, culminating in a concert in the impressive medieval Ripon Cathedral.

Wednesday, 30th March was undoubtedly, the highlight of the trip. All the groups enjoyed the opportunity to perform in the exquisite Royal Hall in the centre of Harrogate at the Grand Finale Concert. Coláiste Bhríde Concert Band, introduced by Pat Brennan and conducted by Teresa Glynn performed four varied and wonderful pieces: The African Marching Song; I Want to Hold Your Hand; Georgia on My Mind and The Celtic Air and Dance. The Coláiste Bhríde students’ performance was slick and professional. The standard attained by these young musicians confirmed the merits of the hard work and dedication required for an occasion such as this. The concert concluded with a massed band performance involving a total of 170 brass and wind musicians from the local Tewit Youth Band; the Catalina Foothills High School Band from Arazona and Coláiste Bhríde. The massed band performance of Finlandia by Sibelius was truly spectacular and a proud occasion for Coláiste Bhríde Concert Band.

This tour adds to the already impressive international performance record of The school Concert Band which includes Finland in 2007; the Czech Republic 2011 and England in 2014. No doubt there are future international musical adventures in the pipeline!