Pete Tong, top Radio 1 DJ and all-round cool music person, led budding DJs and MCs from community projects in a very special gig at the Ministry of Sound in London last week. Plug into Music is the latest initiative from the lottery-funded National Foundation for Youth Music, and it gave the members of Alpha Grove community trust on the Isle of Dogs, Point Blank in Greenwich and Bigga Fish in Camden the opportunity to strut their stuff with house, garage and street rap. The point of the gathering was to celebrate the chance being offered to young people to learn about technology in dance music.
As Pete Tong said: "It's great that Plug into Music will give kids the chance not only to listen to, and dance to music, but to learn how to get really involved and make and mix music of their own."
Youth Music helps fund music-making activities for young people up to 18, which take place mainly outside school hours. Plug into Music will support such things as composition for digital and acoustic instruments, workshops and jams by web-cam, and internet collaborations and remixes. For information or an application pack: 08450 560560 or youthmusicltfs.co.uk;
Music of a very different kind will take centre stage at Farnham Maltings tomorrow, March 31, when Farnham Youth Choir gives Peter Maxwell Davies's new piece, A Dream of Snow - a setting of five poems by George Mackay Brown - its first airing. The Orcadian composer, who plans to be in the audience, was commissioned to write this challenging unaccompanied work for the choir's contribution to the Farnham Festival. The 46 choir members, aged 11 to 16, come from more than 20 schools. Their director, David Victor Smith, says A Dream of Snow is "uncompromisingly difficult because the composer doesn't make allowances for the age of the singers. But I'm staggered how they've responded. They realise that the more you put into a piece like this, the more you get out of it." The 12-minute piece features "Winter: an Island Boy", "Lux Perpetua", "A Calendar of Kings", "Anne Bevan, Sculptor, Hills, Woolcrft, Stone" and "A Work of Poets". Information: 01252 717173; www.fyc.org.uk Exciting plans for the Easter holidays are well advanced in three schools with high artistic ambitions. Students from Tormead school and the Royal grammar school in Guildford, Surrey, have been invited to perform Tony Harrison's version of The Passion at St Paul's Cathedral on Good Friday. The free, open-air performance will take place, after the solemn three-hour service, outside the Great West Door, with some of the audience seated on the steps there, at 3.10pm. The acting space and the text (based on the medieval mystery play and adapted with Tony Harrison's permission) both pose significant challenges for a young cast, although they already have experience of performing the piece at school.
Students at Oakham school in Lincolnshire have presented their Macbeth in the school theatre and are now preparing to take it to four partner schools in California. One of these, Stevenson school, brought Oklahoma! to Oakham last summer.
Hampstead Theatre and Camden education department have enabled children aged six to 13, from 22 north London schools, to take part in their Festival of Theatre, which ends today. Nine newly commissioned, large-cast plays have been performed in schools since last week with children learning all the skills of production. Information about Hampstead Theatre's education work: 020 7722 9435.
The National Campaign for the Arts has welcomed Chris Smith's new Green Paper, Culture and Creativity: the next ten years.Those who remember the committee chaired by Professor Ken Robinson, which produced All Our Futures in 1999, will be pleased to see some of their ideas coming to fruition. The Government pledges, among other things, to extend the Creative Partnership scheme, which will allow children to work with professional creative organisations, and to give every primary school child the chance to learn a musical instrument. The full text of the Green Paper is available on www.culture.gov.uk. National Campaign for the Arts: www.artscampaign.org.uk Heather Neill.