Making Music holds first ever awards ceremony

The inaugural Making Music Awards took place on Tuesday 8 September 2020, following the 85th Annual General Meeting of the National Federation of Music Societies

The awards celebrated leisure-time music groups and their activity across the UK, alongside the often-unrecognised talent that helps the sector flourish. Although the ceremony was held online, it was wonderful to see so many people dressed up for the occasion! Making Music President Debbie Wiseman OBE presented all of the awards, and highlights from the evening are now available to watch on our YouTube channel.

More information on all of our award-winners can be found below:

Best music creator for leisure-time music group

  • Aleksandar Kostić, Eclectic Voices

Eclectic Voices are a North London choir who sing a broad mix of music. The judges were very taken by Aleksandar’s outstanding original voice as he engaged closely with the choir, adapting to their needs and technical abilities. The choir themselves clearly enjoyed the process and performing the resulting piece, Hymns of the Night.

Aleksandar Kostić and Eclectic Voices perform 'Hymns of the Night'

Best arranger for leisure-time music group

  • George Morton, Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1945 and performs music from the classical, romantic and modern periods. The judges were thrilled with this arrangement of Clara Schumann’s Quatre Pièces Caractéristiques, which they felt recreated a romantic piece without becoming pastiche, producing a valid new work for orchestral repertoire. They highly commended George’s skilful orchestrations for all classes of instrument as challenging and successful in engaging all musicians.

'4 Pièces caractéristiques – II. Caprice à la Boléro', performed by Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and arranged by George Morton

Best project with a focus on new music

  • Schools composition project, Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society with Dunfermline High School and The Waid Academy

Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society was founded in 1875 to offer musicians from Fife, and beyond, the chance to explore different styles of music. The society has been working with schools for a number of years, but last year’s composition project was a little different. Musician John Gourlay mentored students in composing over the course of a term. Kirkcaldy then played some of the students’ compositions at their next concert, demonstrating the benefits of community music on local education.

Four pieces from Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society's schools composition project

Best photo of a leisure-time music group

  • Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera is a performing arts charity for people affected by homelessness, which runs singing and creative workshops in homeless centres and arts venues across England. The group, who organised a 12-hour Singathon last October, submitted a photo full of energy and passion, encapsulating their spirit. Judges felt the hands entering from the sides added to the drama!

streetwise opera Streetwise Opera, winner of Best photo of a leisure-time music group

Best virtual concert award

  • Blackpool Symphony Orchestra

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1921, working to promote music through local schools, arts organisations and educational outreach projects. The public voted for the orchestra’s lockdown rendition of ‘Over the Rainbow’ as their favourite performance from our Virtual Concert Series. Composer in Residence Edward Rugman arranged the music for the group, who will be performing the piece live in one of their centenary concerts next year.

'Over the Rainbow', performed by Blackpool Symphony Orchestra and arranged by Edward Rugman

President’s Award

  • Elaine Fox

As one of Making Music’s longest-serving volunteers, Elaine received this award for exceptional commitment to the organisation. She has worked with us since 2006, serving as a Member Contact Volunteer and forming part of the Listening Panel, who help choose musicians for our Selected Artists Guide.

Lady Hilary Groves Prize

  • Vilma Weaver, Ashira Singers

Having taught and conducted in Coventry for over 50 years, Vilma received this prize for her outstanding contribution to community music. Throughout her career, she has raised over £40,000 for local charities.

The evening also featured performances from our Philip & Dorothy Green Young Artists, which are now available to watchThe winners represent the best of the UK’s young musical talent, as well as providing Making Music member groups with an affordable way of booking top-flight soloists for performances.

Find out more about all of the awards Making Music presents.