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TES funds raise tempo for Schools Prom

The TES is to provide Pounds 30,000 sponsorship for the charity which organises the National Festival of Music for Youth and the much-acclaimed Schools Prom.

This year around 40,000 young performers were involved in dozens of events culminating in the 25th annual prom at London's Albert Hall last week.

Part of the Pounds 30,000 for Music for Youth - double the sponsorship that the paper has provided in the past - will help to revive the Scottish Prom to be held in Edinburgh early next June.

Larry Westland, director of MFY, said: "The TES has been one of the biggest influences on the progress of the national festival and the prom since 1972; we are delighted that the paper has become a major sponsor for our programme. "

Despite reports of the parlous state of music tuition in schools, the demand has been so great that Mr Westland's team have organised two new national festivals to be held in Birmingham and Manchester, as well as the annual event on London's South Bank which attracts up to 20,000 young musicians. The 41 regional festivals held in about 30 venues have been given a new lease of life with sponsorship from the union, Unison.

Next year's MFY programme begins with the Lollipop Proms: free concerts for primary school children during February and March in London, Birmingham, Colchester, Peterborough, Scunthorpe and Northampton, and ends in November with another record-breaking attempt at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, to create the world's largest orchestra, to be conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

This year's prom included a wide range of orchestras, choirs and bands, from schools and colleges all over the country who, critics said, performed at a high standard.

Sir Simon said: "MFY has a distinguished record of focusing public attention on the vital issue of music education in this country."

Prom's presenters, Richard Stilgoe, said: "After one night of the Schools Prom you go home convinced - as I have for years - that the next generation is more generous and talented than ours."

Review, TES2, page 19

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