Creating Outstanding Musical Opportunities across Northamptonshire for Youth Musicians (Aged 18-30)


About Us

Creating Outstanding Musical Opportunities across Northamptonshire for Youth Musicians (Aged 18-30)

At Northants Youth Music 23 we recognise that music and the opportunity to perform are key to young peoples’ continued development, be that for mental wellbeing, socialisation or building friendships, even if not pursuing a career in music but want a helping hand to continually improve their singing and music skills and grow.

We aim to:

  • Help young people to further develop their musical talent, post formal education.
  • Provide performance opportunities in the many beautiful locations we have in our county, with support from the Unitary councils, Surprise Northampton and The Lieutenancy. We are working closely with Surprise Northampton to identify suitable venues among the many churches and stately homes we have in the county.
  • Develop a programme to use these and other locations so that young musicians can perform; collaborate with other musicians and build new friendships and connections; develop musicianship, helping mental health well-being through socialisation.
  • Facilitate singing and music workshops to give young people the opportunity to gain experience in planning, marketing and staging performances, in addition to the actual performance.
  • Bring music to more young people to offer an alternative to drugs and crime and instead give a sustainable sense of well-being through socialisation and the power of music, which is known as a great component for healing.

We are also very conscious how difficult it is for young people who are trying to make their mark in music, to get live performance opportunities to further develop their musicianship, because there are no apprenticeships, no government grants and no workplace training programmes. 

We have a timetable to apply for charity status for Northants Youth Music 23 in 2023/2024.


Where it all began and more information

On July 16th 2022, the University of Northampton was alive with the sound of music when it hosted a classical music concert of brass and voices, in a Picnic on the Lawn event. Musical maestro Stephen Bell led the county’s GUS Brass Band, the Northampton Male Voice Choir (NMVC) and Kettering soloist Joshua Daniel – aka The Tenor – entertaining a large and lucky audience in a wonderful musical extravaganza.

The main event was preceded by a “Youth Performance Concert” at 5pm, when the stage was handed over to young artists to give them experience of live performance on a public stage.

Thanks to last years performers, MOSounds, who did the staging and acoustics, plus the support of the University, the Lieutenancy, former Lord-Lieutenant David Laing and Mrs Laing, and the Northamptonshire Surprise project, the inaugural concert got off to a great start. See CSR, Culture and community wellbeing.

Picnic on the Lawn 2023 was equally successful and the Decibels Ladies Choir and Youth Brass 2000 Dectet, Gaythrae Patric joined GUS Brass Band the Northampton Male Voice Choir and Joshua Daniel to provide another excellent musical extravaganza.

Northants Youth Music 23 has a promising future through its collaboration with the University staging an annual concert. It is a fantastic opportunity for the University and the local community to engage more closely. The Lieutenancy and the University are keen to bring the public, private and third sectors together for the good of the community, so in 2023 we invited civic and commercial authorities to support, the Picnic on the Lawn concert and Northants Youth Music 23.

Preparing for 2022 event, led to the realisation that once young singers and musicians leave formal education at 18, there is little opportunity for them to continue to develop their musicianship, even if they are attending further or higher education. There are choirs and ensembles in the county, but many are felt to be for older people and are not attractive to the 18- to 30-year-olds with an interest in classical to Jazz music. That led to the founding of Northants Youth Music 23. 

Northants Youth Music 23 is a volunteer run organisation that aims to provide support to help young people pursue their dreams in music. We aim to create performance opportunities for singers and musicians (aged 18-30) to facilitate their continual development of classical to jazz music, regardless if they are starting out in a career in music, already have achieved some success, or just want to continue to sing or make music for leisure. 

Picnic on the Lawn and Northants Youth Music 23 need support – not only through attendance at events, but also through civic and corporate sponsorship. Following the success of 2022 Picnic on the Lawn, in 2023 we worked more closely with the University, Lieutenancy, Northamptonshire Surprise, local businesses and local organisations such as the West Northamptonshire Unitary Authority and Northamptonshire Community Foundation to make the 2023 event even bigger and as a showcase for the county’s young talent, and launchpad for Northants Youth Music 23.

Obviously there is a cost to staging concerts, so fundraising is key. We need to raise funds to pay the University, erect a stage for the bands and choirs and pay the participants. Consequently we need support, not only through attendance at the event, but also through civic and corporate sponsorship. We need whatever support organisations can provide. 

Stephen Bell

Artistic Director

As a qualified professional musician and trainer, Stephen Bell has first-hand experience of the psychological and therapeutic importance of music as a means of reducing stress, generating emotion and stimulating relaxation. As musical director of the Northampton Male Voice Choir, conductor of the Market Harborough Orchestra and as guest conductor to the GUS Brass Band, Stephen has a deep understanding of how singing and playing a musical instrument improves well-being, not only during rehearsals but also from performance in a myriad of settings including hospitals, care homes, the workplace educational institutions and on stages across the county and beyond. Stephen’s work as resident conductor of Youth Brass 2000, and the feedback from the Youth Performance Concert last year was a driver to Stephen taking on the role of Artistic Director of Northants Youth Music 23. 

Music has never been more needed than now because there is no doubt that the invisible impact of lockdown, especially with respect to mental health, has taken its toll and will be with us all for a long time to come. Many young people’s formal, further and higher education and socialisation was interrupted through the pandemic and lockdown, depriving them of the opportunity to develop their socialisation and lifelong friendships. Northants Youth Music 23 aims to give some support to help young people move forward. 

Stephen Bell - Artistic Director