I went to a very exciting meeting last Friday. No, wait, come back. It really was. It was at City Hall, and was a big step forward for a group I’m involved with, whose objective is to make the most of an important aspect of Sheffield’s life.
Loads of great people were there – Liz from the Bach Choir, Carol from the Tideswell Singers, Peter from the Chamber Orchestra, Bill from the Blue Moon Cafe, Ruth from City Hall, Mark from the University, and tens of others, all of them heroes.
It was all because of Classical Sheffield, a network that champions what has been, and is more than ever today, a central part of our city’s culture.
Our purpose was to put concrete plans in place for a festival that’s going to take place this autumn. Yes, a music festival, another one. It’s being talked about as a “classical Tramlines”, and I’m thrilled about that.
Though in its first year its scale won’t match that incredible happening, I hope it will create the same buzz and excitement.
There will be tens of performances of various kinds over the weekend, featuring hundreds of singers and players and thousands of listeners. There will be everything from Hispanic songs and symphony orchestras to folksongs and pianists. Formal and informal, day and night, intimate and epic, a feast.
Sometimes the word “classical” turns people off, so let’s get beyond words. It’s about the passion, emotion, beauty, and joy of music that stretches back into history and forward into the future. Your starting point might be a film soundtrack, a Bach Passion, the Last Night of the Proms, a busker playing Mozart, or something else entirely.
On Friday we talked about how we are going to fill the city centre with music of all kinds, made by Sheffielders for Sheffielders. We’re going to take over a number of great spaces and make sure they offer a warm welcome.
The point of this festival, and of Classical Sheffield, is to get more people interested in more music, to go out and enjoy more of our city, to allow some of the most amazing art of any time to enter your life and make a difference. I’m certain that, in getting together, the music-makers can make a really convincing case for why music matters to Sheffield.