LOCAL music education charity Berkshire Maestros is celebrating 35 successful years since its incorporation. The Berkshire Young Musicians Trust (the registered company name of Berkshire Maestros) took over teaching instrumental and singing lessons across Berkshire, and running many county music groups and music courses, from Berkshire County Council in October 1982.
Operating from Mockbeggar House on Whiteknights Road, the trust launched with a bang by holding a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Concerts there and at many venues across Berkshire, such as The Hexagon in Reading, became a regular fixture and still are today. Then, as now, teaching instrumental and singing lessons forms the backbone of the trust’s objectives, and last year more than 6,000 Berkshire children had lessons, and over 18,000 children participated in groups and ensembles.
Now based at Stoneham Court on Cockney Hill, Maestros has local music centres across the county and its students perform at some of the country’s most prestigious venues, including the Royal Albert Hall where Berkshire County Youth Choirs sang for a BBC Proms concert this summer. Berkshire Maestros also sends some of its senior groups to perform in major cities overseas every summer.
Key county groups ran by Berkshire Young Musicians Trust back in the 1980s included Berkshire Youth Orchestra (now morphed into Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra), Berkshire Youth Choir (still singing today), Berkshire Youth String Orchestra, and many more. There were also junior opera groups, early music groups and a wealth of other bands and ensembles.
To mark the anniversary, Maestros staff have delved into the archives and found all sorts of photos and concert programmes from the earliest years of the trust. Some of these have been put onto a webpage and Maestros would love to hear from anyone who recognises themselves in the photos or who played with them in their earlier years and have stories to tell.
Please look at www.berkshiremaestros. org.uk/photoarchive to find out more, or follow them on Facebook
(www.facebook.com/BerkshireMaestros/) or Twitter (@Bmaestros) to see what people are saying about their memories of Berkshire Maestros and the Berkshire Young Musicians Trust.