Last weekend it was an honour to return to Saffron Hall to celebrate our amazing musicians. For most, they had never performed at this iconic venue and returning once more was a very nervous time. Months of planning, over 230 musicians, around 500 in the audience. Our musical community at Simon Balle was once again coming back together.

Saffron Hall matters, as it is the only venue locally that is big enough to accommodate all our music. Some might say it is not ‘local’, but the journey is worth it for the quality of the sound that the hall has. Indeed, I am proud to describe Saffron Hall as a ‘partner’ in our concerts. Showing the progression from our youngest to our most advanced musicians is crucial, so that everyone can see and hear what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. Performers are also the audience for others. As someone said to me - ‘everyone applauds you, you should applaud everyone else!’. For the musicians, they can support everyone else. For the audience, they can appreciate the bigger picture of what is being achieved and celebrated. They can also hear the quality.

Saffron Hall is about inspiring our musicians in all year groups, allowing them to appreciate their musical pathway, route of progression and allowing them to come together as a team and a community. We have spent so long apart. Here, we had the opportunity to come together in spectacular style. At this concert, we tried to allow as many musicians as possible to have their ‘moment’, especially those who are about to leave us, taking their musical journey to pastures new. We brought in new ideas, such as the primary orchestra (all 80 of them) performing with senior musicians. We reminded everyone how amazing the 60 piece Concert Band is, along with our Guitar ensemble, brass, Junior Wind and others. Saffron Hall was alive with singing from our youngest to our adult community choir. Alumni, many of whom had missed out in recent years, came back to support us and show how connected to Simon Balle Music they still are. What a community.

We talk a lot at the moment about the well-being of everyone. What better way to show how connected students are to school and what they can achieve than an event like this. What an amazing way to see the smiles, the sense of achievement and the team work than this concert. What an amazing way to teach team working skills. What an amazing way to celebrate the power of coming together again. The quality of the performances was beyond anything I could have hoped for. We are all so busy at the moment, but we must take time to pause and reflect on exactly what has been achieved. Wow!

Our Saffron Hall concert is a monumental team effort. However, it is worth it. Why? It demonstrates the power of music. The power of music as a force for good. Simon Balle is alive with music. Thank you to everyone in our community (including our partners) who are part of Team Music. Together, we create amazing music and experiences. The concert at Saffron Hall is testament to that.

Mark Taylor, Director of Music