Colors: Red Color

Singer/songwriter Tom Walker wowed students and lecturers alike as he roared into South & City College Birmingham’s Digbeth campus to mark the college’s new partnership with record label Relentless, with the BRIT nominee appearing as one of the most charismatic, approachable and engaging music stars you are likely to see.

Up for ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ Glasgow-born, Mancunian, Tom – whose label include the like of So Solid Crew, Professor Green Nadia Rose and KT Tunstall - was well on tact with a short snippet of some of his great hits, including; ‘Just You & I,’ ‘Walk Alone,’ ‘Leave A Light On’ and ‘Just You And I’ which went down a treat with a packed college auditorium.

“I hope our partnership might even unearth the next Tom Walker right here at South & City College,” said a delighted College Principal, Mike Hopkins.

Stopping off on his way to appear and perform on BBC’s Live Lounge, Walker, who cites influences ranging from Ray Charles to Muddy Waters and even-up-and-coming London artist Ray BLK, signed to Relentless Records not long after securing management interest from Covert Talent Management.

A triple-bill of classic movies starring Laurel and Hardy, the greatest double-act of all time, is to be screened at Stourbridge Town Hall on Sunday 7 April 2019.

The Very Best of Laurel and Hardy features three films by Stan and Ollie, whose comedy adventures continue to delight audiences the world over, 80 years after they were produced.

Presented by Birmingham Comedy Festival the screening includes The Music Box, which won the 1932 Academy Award for Best Comedy Short and sees the two famously struggling to deliver a piano, and 1928's silent masterpiece, The Finishing Touch.

Concluding the bill is 1933's Sons of The Desert which finds 'The Boys' hatching a cunning plan to deceive their wives so they can attend a lodge convention in Chicago.

The films will be introduced by John Ullah, Grand Sheik of The Laughing Gravy Tent (the Birmingham branch of the international Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society), and author of 'This Is More Than I Can Stand,' the biography of Birmingham-born Laurel and Hardy co-star Charlie Hall.

John said: “Come and enjoy Laurel and Hardy in three of their best loved films – spanning their work from silent, to talkies to feature film.  With some classic slapstick, iconic moments, and plenty of laughs.”

Alex Jackson, booker for Dudley Borough Halls, said: "We’re delighted to be working with the excellent Birmingham Comedy Festival again following the sell-out success of last year’s Lost Hancocks show in Stourbridge."

The bowler hat-wearing Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were two of cinema's greatest stars. First paired in the late 1920s, they made over 100 screen appearances together before retiring in the 1950s. Still popular today, the story of the duo's farewell tour is recounted in the new film, the BAFTA-nominated Stan and Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly.

Caribbean-styled carnival culture has now grown to state of popularity where it is embraced by millions across the globe and transcends all ages, races, geographical backgrounds and sexual orientations. Nadelle Lewis has been making major strides to ensure that Carnival remains inclusive and accessible to women of various body shapes and sizes via her body-positive #everyBODYplayahmas movement.

Over the past few years, Nadelle who wears many hats including plus-sized model, event coordinator, project manager, entrepreneur and advocate has been strategically utilizing this movement to champion the cause of Inclusion, Body Acceptance & Full-Figured Representation in the international Carnival industry.

The Toronto-based beauty has graced numerous international catwalks, broken ground as pioneer plus-sized model at Canadian Carnival band launches and is a steadfast lover and participant in Carnival parades and festivities throughout the Caribbean and North-America.

Her current mission with this body-positive movement is to encourage more full-figured representation in all Carnival-related media, marketing materials and band launch runways, to challenge public perception and insensitivity regarding curvier masqueraders and to promote a confident self-image and support for women of all sizes in their desire to participate in the liberating experience of playing mas.

The momentum of #everyBODYplayahmas has been rippling across the region, diaspora and Carnival-loving world, as Nadelle continues to spread her message of diversity in Caribbean carnivals via her web and social media platforms.

She shared, “It is disheartening when people, especially women, feel that they have to look like those that are showcased in popular marketing materials in order to participate and play mas.”

#everyBODYplayahmas has so far received positive feedback from the public and support from the carnival industry for its realistic depiction of masqueraders. It has gained many followers who frequently use the hashtag online, as the community is viewed as an inclusive safe-space for women to unite, share their stories, embrace their beauty and accept their flaws without public shaming or self-criticism.

As corporate entities like Dove, Sports Illustrated, and Mattel (makers of Barbie) have embraced a message of inclusion with the branding of their products, the dynamic and determined Nadelle considers #everyBODYplayahmas to be an integral asset to Carnival mas bands in their incorporation of more diverse product branding strategies and their changing the way women view their bodies.

In addition to mas bands & designers, for 2019 #everyBODYplayahmas will be partnering and collaborating with several similar-minded Carnival-based businesses such as Carnival Concierges, Carnival tights, footwear, Monday wear & accessories creators and distributors.

Look out for Nadelle and the #everyBODYplayahmas ambassadors at several international festival events which include Carnivals in T&T, Jamaica, Bermuda, the US, Canada, Europe and the famous Ubersoca Cruise. Nadelle and team are always open to connecting and networking with persons around the globe who are interested in joining the movement.

WV Active will be holding its first Fitness Fest event of the year at WV Active Bilston–Bert Williams this weekend.

People are invited to join in with free fitness activities including Les Mills classes, new track releases and exciting giveaways on Saturday (12 January, 2019).

The free classes on offer include Body Pump, Body Attack, Body Balance and Les Mills Tone.

The New Year party-themed event runs from 9am-2pm and those attending are asked to wear black and white sports attire. Free tickets are available now and can be collected from the reception desks at WV Active Bilston–Bert Williams, WV Active Aldersley and WV Active Central.

Councillor Steve Evans, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “Gyms are always popular at this time of year, and WV Active’s Fitness Fest gives our existing members and non-members the chance to see what our leisure centres have to offer and try out our classes for free.

“I would encourage people to make the most of the activities on offer at this fantastic event.”

The Fitness Fest is open to existing WV Active members as well as those who aren’t already members of the City of Wolverhampton Council-run leisure centres.

He can fly! Thanks to Birmingham’s ‘Bear Grylls Adventure,’ Peter Pan was given the opportunity to soar high in the sky without the use of pixie dust.

Cast members from Birmingham Hippodrome’s spectacular pantomime, ‘Peter Pan’ took to the iFly wind tunnel which simulates the experience of freefalling at 12,000 feet before plunging out the rear of a landed helicopter down an exhilarating zipline.

Union J band member, Jaymi Hensley, who plays Peter Pan in the production, was joined by Cassie Compton (Wendy), Kellie Gnauck (Tinkerbell) and Walsall’s own Imogen Brooke (Tiger Lily).

‘The Bear Gryll’s Adventure’ features a number of headline activities that replicate some of Bear’s incredible adventures including indoor skydiving, climbing walls with routes replicating famous mountain terrains including El Capitan and Fontainebleau, the highest high ropes course in Europe, and diving with sharks. Visit further information and to buy tickets.

‘Peter Pan’ runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday January 27

As part of the third Wolverhampton Literature Festival from Friday, February 1 to Sunday, February 3 there will be theatre and performances taking place across the city’s venues.

Audiences can join in the theatre Podcast with Richard Herring at Bilston Town Hall, or the Arena Theatre’s Wolves Lit Fest Open Mic Hubs are providing safe places for people to perform regardless of previous experience.

There is also a range of performances that look at war, Indian heritage and how women are perceived in industry.

Bantock House will play host to ‘Ian Douglas: Travelling Tales’ and ‘Crispin Ridge: A Message from the Sea by Charles Dickens’, while Wolf Fringe Room presents ‘Alex McSherry: The Tanner’s Tale’, as well as ‘Carol Caffrey: Music for Dogs’, at the Lych Gate Tavern.

‘Dr Dolittle’ is running at the Grand Theatre and Central Youth Theatre will be presenting ‘The Rebel Against Injustice’ at City Archives, Molineux Hotel Building.

The festival will also see the launch of a new and exciting heritage project, ‘Nritya: Collecting the Story of Indian Dance in the Black Country 1960-2000’, created by Jai Jashn Dance, who in December received a National Lottery grant of £30,500.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Nritya explores the heritage of Indian dance (classical and traditional) in the Midlands. Over the next year, Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be collecting and documenting the largely unwritten and unrecorded story of Indian dance, focusing especially on the Black Country between 1960-2000 for an exhibition and a festival weekend of Indian dance at the Art Gallery and Arena Theatre in early summer 2020.

Anyone interested in helping with interviews and making contact with individuals who have memories to share for the archive should please contact Jai Jashn Dance on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “Theatre and live performance are a vital part of storytelling, and we are delighted to have a range of workshops to enhance and develop these key skills, as well as performances that will enable people to enjoy this year’s literature festival.

“I am also delighted that Jai Jashn Dance has been awarded funding and has chosen the festival to launch Nritya, which all are welcome to.”

Renowned herpetologist Professor Mark O’Shea made a special guest appearance on Channel 4 show Sunday Brunch this weekend

The University of Wolverhampton Professor of Herpetology talked about his career and his latest tome The Book of Snakes – a Life-size Guide to Six Hundred Species around the World.

The popular collectors' book offers insight into the almost one-in-six of all snake species known, for both enthusiasts and scholars, utilising Professor O'Shea's expertise from a career spanning more than 50 years, undertaking fieldwork in almost 50 countries.

His interview on the popular cookery and chat show recounted his many experiences. He has worked on numerous tropical expeditions, including snakebite research projects, including co-leading a team recording new species in Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest country. His most recent expedition was to catch and milk highly venomous snakes in Myanmar (Burma) for a snakebite and anti-venom production project.

Professor O'Shea said: "I was delighted to be asked to appear in the ‘expert slot’ on Sunday Brunch and the team made me very welcome. It also meant I did not have to cook! The Book of Snakes has sold really well and I enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss it in more detail."

Professor O’Shea has authored six books on herpetology and a plethora of scientific articles. He is also Consultant Curator of Reptiles at West Midland Safari Park.

The reptile expert was also recently honoured by having a snake named after him. The Asian pipesnake Cylindrophis osheai, pronounced oh-shay-eye, can be referred to colloquially as O’Shea’s pipesnake and was found in Boano Island, near Seram in Indonesia.

Continuing to add to the already star-studded line-up, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism announced that Buju Banton will be performing at the 23rd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which will take place on June 26-30, 2019. He joins previously announced popular artists Smokey Robinson, French Montana, Popcaan, and Davido. “It is very exciting to have Buju Banton join the roster for the 2019 St. Kitts Music Festival,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant. “Having such a renowned dancehall artist only enhances the mix of top international acts, local performers and regional talent across a broad range of musical styles that helps the event appeal to a diverse audience.” Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “Our annual Music Festival has become a verified driver for travel to St. Kitts specifically to attend the event, boosting arrivals from key source markets during our off-peak season. The addition of Buju Banton to the roster this year will only increase the Festival's already strong appeal.” For many years, the name Buju Banton (a.k.a. Gargamel) has become synonymous with modern reggae. Having metamorphosed from a brash teenage phenomenon into a self-assured deejay and singer, Buju's fusion of traditional roots rock, contemporary R&B and dancehall DJ'ing have earned him a prophet-like status in his Jamaican homeland. Having hit the charts there suddenly in 1992 with a string of hits including "Bogle," "Love Me Browning" and "Love Black Woman," Banton soon thereafter released one of the more controversial songs in his musical catalogue, "Boom Boom Bye Bye." His 2010 album, Before the Dawn, won Best Reggae Album of the year at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. Now entering its 23rd year, the St. Kitts Music Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features a wide range of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music. Past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, The Goo Goo Dolls, Lionel Richie, Jason Derulo, Trey Songz, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, R. City, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shaggy, Kelly Rowland, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Tessanne Chin, Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, and Biggie Irie.

Michelin star restaurant Purnells had an unexpected furry visitor this week when the star of Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Christmas show, The Tiger Who Came to Tea came to visit.

Along with the rest of the cast, the Tiger sat down for a spot of tea and petit fours with Celebrity Chef Glynn Purnell, ahead of the show’s run starting at Town Hall next week.

Speaking after the visit, Glynn Purnell said; It was fantastic to be able to welcome The Tiger Who Came to Tea company to Purnell’s for tea! I wrote my first children’s book The Magical Adventures of Whoops the Wonder Dog this year, and it would be incredible to imagine it being as well loved and held in the same high regard as the classic that is The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It was extra special to be able to invite the cast to the restaurant in what is the 50th anniversary of the book, and the 10th anniversary of the play. I can’t wait to take my family to Town Hall Birmingham over the festive period to see my tea party guests on stage!

The Tiger Who Came to Tea runs from Wednesday 26th December – Sunday 13th January.

To mark the opening of Peter Pan, Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment have released the first images of this year’s all-star headline cast on stage in costume.

Peter Pan stars Jimmy Osmond as Captain Hook, Meera Syal as the Magical Mermaid, Matt Slack as Smee and Jaymi Hensley as Peter Pan.

Packed to the crows-nest with laugh-out-loud comedy and spectacular special effects, costumes and sets, Birmingham’s high-flying pantomime adventure is set to be another awfully big adventure.

Peter Pan runs from Wed 19 Dec 2018 - Sun 27 Jan 2019

Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) is celebrating a hat-trick of West End successes as three of its productions are playing in London this month.  And they all happen to be Christmas shows.

Nativity! The Musical originally premiered at The REP in October 2017 and opens at the Eventim Apollo on 19 December. Patrick Barlow’s The Messiah opened in Birmingham this October and is now running at The Other Palace; and the theatre’s long-running production of The Snowman is currently celebrating its 21st consecutive season at The Peacock.

All three shows were produced, built and premiered by The REP and success of them is part of the theatre’s focus to extend the life and profile of the work made in Birmingham.

Stuart Rogers, Executive Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre explains:

“The REP now priorities securing a future life beyond Birmingham for as many of its productions as possible, often through coproducing with commercial producers, other regional theatres or touring companies.

“We have one of the best-equipped production facilities and a group of highly-skilled carpenters/metalworkers, scenic artists, costume makers, lighting and sound technicians all housed in the building and can therefore offer a high-quality one-stop shop in which to create the new shows of the highest quality.

“We’re delighted to have three productions running simultaneously in London throughout December. We hope that both The Messiah and Nativity! The Musical go on to have as long and successful Christmas lives as The Snowman has enjoyed”

This remarkable run of Christmas shows isn’t just limited to those that have made it into the West End.  In Birmingham, The REP’s 2018 Christmas show, The Wizard of Oz, directed by Liam Steel, has enjoyed critical success and is currently playing to packed houses until 13 January 2019.

In January, the theatre’s long-running production of The Snowman returns home to Birmingham marking the show’s 25th anniversary.  Since its opening in 1993, this much-loved show has played to 1.9million people around the world and made a significant contribution to the theatre’s income.

Other recent Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-productions that have gone on to have future lives beyond Birmingham include Chris Hannan’s play, What Shadows starring Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell, Emma Rice’s Brief Encounter which enjoyed a West End run earlier this year and a European tour of Calixto Bieito’s The String Quartet’s Guide To Sex and Anxiety. Plans are currently underway to tour the theatre’s productions of Penguins and The Lovely Bones to the States in 2019 / 20.

Having made it through to the final in 2017 with Sir Christèmas, Wolverhampton-based David Hughes is back in the running for 2018 with the recently written The Bee Carol.

The prestigious BBC Radio 3 competition challenged amateur composers to create new music for The Bee Carol, a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Over 400 entries were received with the final six chosen by judges including Master of The Queen's Music, and former CBSO resident composer, Judith Weir, and esteemed choral composer and conductor Bob Chilcott. Finalists were announced on the Breakfast Show on Wednesday 12 December 2018, where The BBC Singers performed each competing composition in full.

David, 63, who lives in Compton, Wolverhampton, studied music at Wolverhampton Grammar School, before becoming a corporate lawyer in London, Birmingham and finally back in Wolverhampton as a consultant with FBC Manby Bowdler.

Now retired, he sings with Birmingham Bach Choir, who he first joined in 1986. He also plays jazz piano in a local swing band, and arranges their versions of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook.

Commenting on his setting of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bee Carol, David said: "I wanted to create an intimate feel to the carol, reflecting the mood of the poem, and so chose to set it for unaccompanied choir in the manner of a lullaby. I tried to avoid imitating any bee sounds, but could not resist a play on the word 'cluster' - and its musical meaning - in the last line of the carol.

"It is a reflective and intimate poem, with some very evocative words."

Prior to the final announcement, Birmingham Bach Choir will be performing David's earlier 2017 shortlisted carol, Sir Christèmas, as part of their festive Nine Lessons And Carols service at St Alban’s Church, in Highgate, Birmingham, on Sunday 16 December 2018 (3.30pm, admission free).

A recording of David’s The Bee Carol can be found on the BBC Radio 3 website, sung by The BBC Singers, and will also be performed as part of BBC Radio 3's Afternoon Concert (17 December 2018, 2pm). Online voting is open now until Thursday 20 December 2018, 5pm, with the winning carol announced on the Radio 3 Breakfast programme the following day (21 December 2018).

Smokey Robinson has been announced as one of the performers at the 23rd annual St. Kitts Music Festival.

Kicking off what is sure to be a star-studded line-up, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, announced that Smokey Robinson will be performing alonside French Montana, Popcaan, and Davido.

The music festival will take place from 26 to 30 June 2019.

“It is gratifying to see these top musical artists join the roster for the 2019 St. Kitts Music Festival,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant. “Each year, this event features top international acts along with a mix of local and regional talent showcasing a broad range of musical genres. It is one of the reasons that our Music Festival is a unique event and appeals to such a wide audience.”

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “System-wide air arrivals were up 28.1% in June 2018 as compared to June 2017, the biggest June increase we have seen in recent years, demonstrating the success of our marketing of the event in driving travel to St. Kitts for the festival in what is otherwise a slow period.”

Now entering its 23rd year, the St. Kitts Music Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features a wide range of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music.

Past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, The Goo Goo Dolls, Lionel Richie, Jason Derulo, Trey Songz, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, R. City, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shaggy, Kelly Rowland, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Tessanne Chin, Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, and Biggie Irie.

Famous for co-founding Motown Records with Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson has been making and breaking records since 1960 when his group, The Miracles, sold one million units of their first hit, “Shop Around.” Over the next decade, Robinson and the Miracles produced 26 top 40 hits, including several top 10 hits like “You've Really Got a Hold on Me,” “I Second That Emotion,” “The Tears Of a Clown,” “My Girl” and others.

Celebrated for his contributions to the music industry and the Motown era, Robinson is an inductee of the Kennedy Center Honors and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has received numerous accolades, including the GRAMMY Living Legend Award, BET Lifetime Achievement Award, the Heritage Award at the Soul Train Music Awards, and the National Medal of Arts. Howard University also conferred on Robinson the degree of Doctor of Music in 2006, as did the Berklee College of Music in 2009. During the course of his 50-year career in music, Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit and continues to thrill sold-out audiences around the world with his high tenor voice, impeccable timing, and profound sense of lyric.

French Montana is a Moroccan-American rapper, singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Morocco, he immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 13He is the founder of Coke Boys Records and has a joint-venture recording deal with Bad Boy Records and Maybach Music Group. His mixtape debut was released in 2007. In 2010, his breakthrough hit "Choppa Choppa Down," rose through the charts. He released his debut studio album “Excuse My French” in 2013 and his second studio album, “Jungle Rules,” in July 2017, which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. The album was supported by the single "Unforgettable," featuring Swae Lee, which became Montana's first song as lead artist to reach the top 10 in the U.S.

Andrae Hugh Sutherland, known by his stage name Popcaan, is a Jamaican dancehall artiste, dj, singer and songwriter from the parish of St. Thomas. In 2008, he joined Vybz Kartel's Gaza music empire and in 2010, he released his breakthrough international hit "Clarks" with Kartel, an ode to the popular shoe brand. In 2014, he signed with Mixpak Records and released his debut studio album, “Where We Come From.” Popcaan's top singles include "Only Man She Want" (2011), "Everything Nice" (2014), "El Chapo" (2017), and "Family" (2017). He has collaborated with a number of international artists, most notably Drake, Jay Z, Pusha T, Snoop Dog and Giggs. His second album for Mixpak, entitled “Forever,” was released in July 2018.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Davido is an American-Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer. His 2011 single "Dami Duro" was well-received in Nigeria and was featured on his 2012 debut album, “Omo Baba Olowo.” Between 2013 and 2015, he released singles, "Gobe", "One of a Kind", "Naughty" featuring DJ Arafat and "The Money" featuring Olamide. In November 2017, Davido won the best African act at the MOBO Awards and also became the first African act to perform live at the awards. His most recent hits include “If” and “Wonder Woman.”

Respiratory patients were full of Christmas joy when they took part in their first “Singing for Breathing” session.

The group of seven patients, who suffer from a range of lung conditions, gave tuneful renditions of Jingle Bells and While Shepherds Watched – led by Louise Blackburn, who has been trained as a Singing for Breathing practitioner by the British Lung Foundation.

The 45-minute session was organised by the Community Respiratory team from Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, to help patients improve their lung health.

Louise said: “I find that people with lung conditions benefit greatly from these sessions. The magic of Singing for Breathing is that it is not only good physically and socially, but also a huge benefit for those patients with lung conditions.”

Teresa Brigden, is a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who attended the session. She said: “This has been brilliant. It’s the first time that I have sang in public, I normally just sing at home behind closed doors.

“But I felt very comfortable in the session today and really enjoyed it. I will definitely be coming again as I feel it’s benefited my condition too.”

The sessions start with a warm-up to prepare the patient’s body for activity. This includes physical warm-ups, breathing and vocal exercises, such as rhythm and pitch games. They then go on to sing around two to three songs.

Alice Harvey, Respiratory Clinician, added: “It was a fantastic first session. The patients really enjoyed singing Christmas songs after some fun warm-up exercises.

“You can see straight away how it benefits their health, but also how it helps socially too. An added benefit is that our staff have really enjoyed taking part, learning new techniques to support patients in managing their breathlessness, and helping our own wellbeing. “We have part-funded the sessions by using our Your Trust Charity funding.  It means that patients are able to enjoy this great benefit to their health and wellbeing.”

Over the last 10 years, researchers have looked at how the body and mind respond to music, and have explored ways of using music to help care for health. There’s increasing evidence that singing regularly as part of a group is good for a person’s general health and wellbeing.

One of the great violinists of our age – Leonidas Kavakos – has announced that he will lead a unique two-hour masterclass at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University.

The masterclass for Royal Birmingham Conservatoire strings students not only marks the violinist and conductor’s inaugural visit to the new £57 million institution, but it is also the first time Kavakos has hosted such an event at any of the UK’s Royal Schools of Music.

Leonidas Kavakos is recognised across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, acclaimed for his matchless technique, his captivating artistry and his superb musicianship, as well as for the integrity of his playing. Kavakos works with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and is a frequent recitalist in the world’s premier recital halls and festivals.

His Royal Birmingham Conservatoire masterclass will take place on Friday 14 December, which is also the last day of the University’s autumn term.

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Leonidas Kavakos to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This will be a unique opportunity for our students to learn directly from one of the greatest musicians in the world today. It could literally be a life-changing experience for them”.

By the age of 21, Kavakos had already won three major competitions: the Sibelius Competition in 1985, and the Paganini and Naumburg in 1988. These successes led to his recording of the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903-4), the first recording of the work in history, which won the Gramophone Concerto Recording of the Year award in 1991.

After many years with Decca Records, Leonidas Kavakos signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical in June 2018. This signified a welcome return to the label as Kavakos initially recorded the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Mozart Concertos, conducting and playing with Camerata Salzburg. More recently, Kavakos joined Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax for a highly successful recording of the Brahms Trios for the label.

Kavakos’ first solo project with Sony will be the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Beethoven Septet, which will be recorded with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, followed by a project to record the complete Bach solo Sonatas and Partitas.

In addition to being one of the world’s most sought-after solo violinists, Kavakos is also a regular chamber music partner of such luminaries as Yuja Wang and Yo Yo Ma. He was also awarded Gramophone Artist of the Year 2014.

Kavakos plays the ‘Willemotte’ Stradavarius violin of 1734 and owns a modern violin made by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s International Consultant for Stringed Instruments, Florian Leonhard.

Dr Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, added:

“It is an honour that Leonidas Kavakos will be visiting our fantastic Conservatoire and I know that the Strings Department in its entirety will be present and ready for inspiration and illumination from the great master.”

Born and brought up in a musical family in Athens, Kavakos curates an annual violin and chamber-music masterclass in the Greek capital, which attracts violinists and ensembles from all over the world and reflects his deep commitment to the handing-on of musical knowledge and traditions.

One of the most celebrated family films ever, The Goonies, will be screened for the very first time in Europe across a trio of UK dates, with its classic score being performed live to picture by a full orchestra.

Beginning in Manchester at Bridgewater Hall on 26th April, the show will also come to Edinburgh Usher Hall on 27th April, and Birmingham Symphony Hall on 28th April.

A fond part of childhood for several generations, The Goonies was released in 1985 to both critical and commercial success, ranking in the top 10 at the US Box Office that year and still remaining to this day a cult classic

Directed by Richard Donner, the film’s screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by Executive Producer Stephen Spielberg, and focuses on a group of kids from ‘Goon Docks’, a neighbourhood in Oregon, who upon attempting to save their homes from demolition uncover a centuries old treasure map, leading them through a perilous chase with a criminal family who are also seeking the treasure.

The Goonies was selected in 2017 for preservation in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which deemed it as being ‘culturally, historically and aesthetically significant’, so much is its influence.

Composed by Dave Grusin, an Academy Award and ten-time GRAMMY Award winner, the score to The Goonies is as daring as its young protagonists, introducing electronic elements as well as orchestral, and heightens the drama right from the memorable opening scene’s wonderfully bouncy ‘Fratelli Chase’.

For the first time ever, this is a chance for audiences to relive one of the mot evocative pieces of cinema – and music created for cinema – in a unique way, as The Goonies is performed live to screen with a full orchestra across the UK. Tour Dates:

26th April      Manchester Bridgewater Hall 27th April       Edinburgh Usher Hall 28th April      Birmingham Symphony Hall