Coventry’s youth teamed up with a classical orchestra to produce an unforgettable night of music.
Twelve musicians – aged between 16 and 22 – from Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax programme took to the Butterworth Hall stage to perform their own tracks, supported by the Armonico Consort.
And the result was a stunning hour-and-a-half of music – mixed in with on-screen video – backed by the classical orchestra and the AC Academy Choir.
The audience heard original material from the young artists as well as covers of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida and Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah.
The event came about when young people on the project were asked what would make them feel like they had ‘made it’. It was agreed that being backed by an orchestra would be a dream come true.
With support from Coventry City of Culture Trust and the Heart of England Community Foundation, the dream was turned into a reality and saw the artist’s original music rearranged by Toby Young, former BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year, ready for an orchestral take.
Rashid Bhayat, who runs Positive Youth Foundation, said it was a great showcase of what young people can achieve if given the right support.
He said: “It was a truly amazing evening and so much credit has to go to the young people who have come through our Changing Trax programme.
“They said they wanted to do something and they got off their backsides and they did it.
“They’ve had some great support along the way and we have to thank everyone who has contributed to making this such as successful event.
“ It is our young people who would benefit the most from winning UK City of Culture – not just in 2021 but beyond that.
“And I must praise the team behind the bid because they said from day one that they wanted to engage the youth voice in the city and they have done exactly that, including having two seats on the executive board for young people from PYF.
“What Changing Trax – Electric Proms has shown is that when you give young people a voice, they can produce absolutely amazing results.”
Susie Murphy, development manager at Positive Youth Foundation turned director for the show, was overwhelmed with its reception.
She said: “The positive comments have been flooding in non-stop since the show. Many of which have ended in ‘how can I get involved?’
“This is exactly the sentiment we’d hoped to instigate, urging people to actively participate in their city and help support its fantastic young people.
“The journey that these young artists have taken, with the support of PYF staff, over the past nine months has been phenomenal.
“Within their musical rehearsals we have developed their understanding of what it is to be a good role model. On the night of the show, they themselves could see the impact of their positivity.
“I am absolutely fizzing with pride.”
Coventry City Council , the University of Warwick , and Coventry University are principal partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is bid sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover , Adient, Friargate , Coventry Building Society , the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , Birmingham Airport , PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, CEF (City Electrical Factors) and Listers are also bid development sponsors.