As summer school’s open their doors again to children and teenagers, the Hallé Youth Choirs and Orchestra, which consists of 160 young adults, aged 13-19, have found a way of ensuring their activities are COVID-safe by partnering with the testing and screening services business Circular 1 Health. This was a great opportunity for young people who have had a terrible year educationally to participate in some fantastic musical activities. Inclusion lies at the heart of the Hallé’s Youth Ensembles, with free membership and bursaries offered to any qualifying child to help with costs.
The partnership is an extension of the Carlisle-based firm’s sponsorship of the Hallé Orchestra, which enabled their return to The Bridgewater Hall after the largest performance break in the orchestra’s 163-year history.
The continued sponsorship sees Circular 1 Health donate over 300 free COVID screening tests to the Halle Youth Choir, the Halle Youth Training Choir and the Halle Youth Orchestra throughout their two week Summer School at Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats, Manchester, which culminated in a day of COVID-safe concerts on Thursday 5th August.
The initiative was spearheaded by Circular 1 Health employee Matt Parry, himself a professional trombonist and former music teacher, who began working with the company during lockdown when the national tour of Hairspray the Musical was cancelled.
Matt said the opportunity for him to combine his passion for music education with his new career was one he couldn’t pass up: “I remember how important youth music activities were to my musical and social development during my teenage years and witnessing how much of these activities have been curtailed due to the pandemic has been very hard. Now thanks to the support of my employer I’m able to give something back and ensure youth music can flourish again in Manchester whilst keeping everyone safe.”
Stuart MacLennan, the Founder of Circular 1 Health added: “Our mission throughout the pandemic has been focussed on helping the country regain some sense of normalcy. Thanks to team members like Matt, we can use our resources to help and reassure groups that they can return to normality with confidence and ease.”
The tests have been distributed to all the young members of the Halle Youth Choirs and Orchestra, as well as all attendees of their concert day on Thursday 5th August. By ensuring that all participants, audience members and invited guests underwent their screening tests, Circular 1 Health has been able to create what they would describe as a ‘COVID-safe’ event.
Hallé Chief Executive David Butcher said: “The Hallé Orchestra is delighted that our vital and burgeoning partnership with Circular 1 Health is now expanding beyond artists, orchestra and staff to include our brilliant youth choirs and orchestras and enable hundreds of inspirational young people to make music together again safely.”
Hallé Head of Ensembles Naomi Benn said: “We are particularly thrilled that our Youth Ensembles have been able to benefit from the protection and reassurance that Circular 1 Health has been able to provide. It has enabled everyone to enjoy making inspiring music together after such a long time of online sessions, and it is particularly exciting to be able to offer real-life performances by these talented young people for their families and friends.”