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JMF Oct 2019

Junior Music Festivals

Junior Music Festivals are two-day events that take place at large venues in Reading and Basingstoke, incorporating many local schools and hundreds of Key Stage 2 children. The festivals are a wonderful collaboration between schools and students engaged in the Music Hub, sharing the passion for making music and giving opportunities to young people. They are guaranteed to be evenings full of joy, happiness and amazing achievements!  

The children spend the afternoon of the concert rehearsing at the venue. Families can buy tickets for the evening performances, which are invariably sold out!

Forthcoming festivals

Festivals are held at The Hexagon in Reading (for Reading and Wokingham schools, Bracknell schools and Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough schools)  for around 1,000 singers, and at The Anvil in Basingstoke (for West Berkshire schools) involve around 1,200 singers.

Regrettably, because of the ongoing situation with coronavirus COVID-19, we have had to cancel the Reading Junior Music Festival 2020, and we are currently uncertain if the West Berkshire Junior Music Festival 2021 will be possible. In the meantime, we are continuing to work on ways that we will be able to continue to support schools to keep singing at school going.

Festival programmes

The programmes of songs are chosen to give the children a good range of appropriate vocal and learning challenges – usually with a theme, or from one work. Past pieces have included:

  • Ecological musicals – Yanomamo; African Jigsaw
  • School Musicals – Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat
  • School Cantatas – Adam in Eden; Mighty Mississippi; Noah and his Floating Zoo; Along Came Man; Song of the Earth; Ocean Commotion
  • Popular songs from screen and stage

The 2019-20 Junior Music Festivals once again bring hundreds of children together from forty local primary schools to celebrate the joy of singing. This year’s festival will focus upon All the King’s Men by Richard Rodney Bennett. Everyone knows the nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’, but do you know where and when it originated? Let us sing you the story in a dramatic children’s opera which tells of the cunning plan by King Charles’ army during the English Civil War of 1643 to take the city of Gloucester. “All the king’s horses and men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again!” – but what exactly was a Humpty Dumpty?

The children will tell the story through songs, actions and attitude, linked together with narrations, accompanied, as usual, by an amazing band of staff and students.

The singing is accompanied by an orchestra/band of our senior students and some staff, giving the participants a full and exciting musical experience that would not be available within their schools. The festival features the contributions from participating schools as a partnership with the Maestros Music Centres, whose bands, orchestras and ensembles always perform with the centrepiece being the massed primary school choir.

Support materials

All of the materials for the Junior Music Festivals are provided to schools at no cost:

  • CD of exemplar recordings and backing tracks for practice
  • Complete set of words with all instructions
  • Teaching notes and advice
  • Venue hire

We also provide two Area Rehearsals for groups of schools to meet in their locality and have a morning or afternoon with the professional conductor. These workshop experiences provide high-quality vocal and choral training for the children and help with rehearsal points to enhance their future learning. They are informative, stimulating and great fun and are popular with the participants and school staff.

Teachers get free CPD during the area rehearsals by observing the work of the conductor and gain:

  • Developing confidence in their own work (i.e. validating what they already do)
  • Rehearsing techniques and tips for further work, particularly in how to raise standards and quality and keep children engaged and how to pace work
  • Simple technical advice for improving their children’s singing which is of benefit both for the JMF events and their general work in schools. This has contributed to the steady improvement of singing at KS2 in a growing number of schools over the last ten years

Schools responsibilities are:

  • To transport children to two area rehearsals and to the concert venues on performance day
  • Administration within school and communication with parents

All organisation, administration and budgeting is managed by the Maestros Schools Events Coordinator and a team of staff. If you would like to find out more about our Junior Music Festivals please e-mail


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JMF choirs at RAH Some of our JMF participants went on to sing at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016
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