30 Years of the Merton Music Foundation To Be Celebrated

Planned concert at Royal Albert Hall cancelled but other performances planned

1,500 singers and musicians would have participated in Music for Life concert

It was originally intended that 1,500 singers and instrumentalists from schools, community groups and Merton Music Foundation’s (MMF) Music Centre would perform in the Royal Albert Hall as the arts provider marked its thirtieth year.

They would have now been in the midst of final rehearsals for their flagship Music is for Life concert at the iconic venue. Whilst the pandemic has meant theses plans have been put on hold, the MMF team is still planning a range of innovative live and virtual performances to celebrate its anniversary and showcase the creativity and talent within the MMF community.

Merton Music Foundation was established in March 1991 by John Mander, then Head of Music Services for the London Borough of Merton, following the closure of the council-run Schools Instrumental Music Service. In its 30-year history, MMF has engaged with thousands upon thousands of local children through instrumental lessons, arts projects and Music Centre bands, choirs and orchestras. It was one of the first music services in the UK to become a registered charity and has been used as a blueprint for many independent music services since.

In addition to the Royal Albert Hall, MMF Music Centre bands have enjoyed many high-profile performances over the years including the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, where they have played every year since 1993, the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Tower of London. Notable alumni who started their musical journeys with MMF include award-winners Yazz Ahmed, Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons), Louise Alder and Janek Gwizdala.

MMF says it has faced many challenges in the past, but none greater than the Covid pandemic. Within weeks of the first national lockdown being announced, MMF created and launched a brand new online offering for lessons and band rehearsals, which meant hundreds of young musicians could continue learning, playing and progressing with their music.

MMF has seen a surge in enquiries about children (and adults) who are keen to start learning an instrument with people spending more time at home. Whilst some of MMF’s lessons will gradually return to in-person again, following the success of their online tuition, e-learning will remain part of their core offer.

To find out about more about MMF music lessons and Music Centre visit its website.

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March 13, 2021