A highlight for our vocal group for 8–18-year-olds, Group A, is taking part in the Aldeburgh Carnival procession each summer. Each year, young people from across Suffolk come together for a weekend of workshops, rehearsals, singing, dancing, movement, costume-making, and float-decorating, before performing in the parade along Aldeburgh High Street to thousands in the crowd. The project is open to all young people aged 8–18, with free transport provided from Ipswich, Lowestoft and Leiston.

Last year, young people from Group A worked with multi-instrumentalist Hannabiell Sanders and an ensemble of musicians to create their performance for the Carnival. Across the weekend, participants learnt new songs and material and practised processing and singing around Snape Maltings. The theme of the parade this year was ‘Tropical Paradise’ and the young people spent Sunday afternoon creating tropical costumes and decorations with Faye Gosling, including giant tropical flowers, bucket hats and wings to wear in the parade.

Ten wonderful young people from Aldeburgh Young Musicians joined Group A on the day of the parade, having taken part in a week-long residential course with Hannabiell in July. After rehearsing together for a few hours at the Pumphouse in Aldeburgh the group headed down to Moot Hall for the parade and before setting off, performed for the Aldeburgh Carnival judges, where they received second prize in the Large Vehicle category!

A group of Aldeburgh Young Musicians dressed in colourful outfits walking in a parade.

Two of the young people who took part tell us about their experience:

Having the opportunity to play in the Aldeburgh Carnival was a great way to wrap up this year of AYM. As AYM had started working on this project a few weeks prior to the performances, I enjoyed coming back to the music after a few weeks away and catching up with Hannabiell and her band, as they had made our residential week so fun.

Making music with my peers is always entertaining, but I appreciated the chance to join with Group A on this occasion — getting to know a few of the younger musicians was great fun as many of them had some interesting insights into the music.

After our performance, many of the AYMs grabbed an ice cream and sat, snacking on the beach. A wonderful day, and, personally, a fabulous end to my AYM experience.

Theo, former Aldeburgh Young Musician

I started Group A earlier this year and so far it’s been great! All the staff members are really kind and welcoming. I feel like I am really part of the group. Of all the events I have attended so far my favourite event would probably be the Aldeburgh Carnival, it was so fun making costumes and bucket hats and I met so many people it definitely helped my social skills.

I really loved working with the musician Hannabiell she created such a good atmosphere as well as music. Even though performing at the Aldeburgh Carnival can seem scary, it’s actually really fun! Group A isn’t an ordinary singing group, it’s a unique one with many kind and friendly staff and kids to meet.

Esmé, Group A member