Summer wins from Saffron Centre for Young Musicians

We caught up with Kate Llewellyn, Head of our partner organisation Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, about their eventful summer.

About 20 children in white tshirts sing on a purple-lit television set with overlaid 'BBC' and 'Newsnight' graphics

We caught up with Kate Llewellyn, Head of our partner organisation Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, about their eventful summer and what's coming up for them before the autumn.

The big news from our summer term was that SCYM’s jazz band for female and non-binary musicians J Steps, along with their tutor Hannah Horton, won a 2023 Parliamentary Jazz Award for best Jazz Education project this year. Hannah also nominated for best newcomer as a solo artist. J Steps is a band created to encourage and empower women and non-binary musicians under 18 to develop their artistry and jazz improvisation skills, and as part of a wider effort to address underrepresentation in jazz in the UK.

In another high-profile appearance, a small group of SCYM singers enjoyed an evening as special guests on a BBC Newsnight broadcast from Addenbrookes hospital. The show celebrated NHS's 75th birthday, as well as a new children’s hospital planned for Cambridge. SCYM sang ‘Happy Birthday’ live on camera and also had a great time experiencing the production and meeting the presenters of the show, Kirsty Wark and Doctor Xand van Tulleken.

SCYM’s orchestra has started to rehearse a piece entitled Blooming Heather This is a traditional Scottish song that has been orchestrated for SCYM and Saffron Hall by SCYM alumna Anna Middleton. Anna will be starting an undergraduate degree in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire in the autumn term and Blooming Heather will be performed by the orchestra with 60 mixed voices in the new academic year. The Centre’s youngest students enjoyed trying out a range of brass instruments and several have already started to have lessons in the Centre this term. Our new ensemble for tuned percussionists is flourishing, with plans to include marimbas next term.

All students have the opportunity to perform weekly in Saffron Hall’s foyer and we have enjoyed a wide variety of music from all instrumentalists and singers, accompanied by Alastair Chilvers and Matthew Ryan. At the end of term, soloists played in an informal concert at St Mary’s Church, showcasing organist Jack Morton, one of SCYMs guitar ensembles, Ariana Wilson (trumpet), Soshin Yoshitake-Thatcher (viola) and Ivy Perkins (viola). Plans are in place to repeat this concert as a regular fixture in our performance calendar. With thanks to St Mary’s Church for sharing their beautiful building and it’s acoustics with us.

And finally… SCYM’s jazz summer holiday course is 29 to 30 August and we are really excited about it! Gareth Lumbers, Charlie Bates and Andi Hopgood have planned a really full three days of great music, and there will be the opportunity to join in a masterclass, learn how to sing scat, and hone those improvisation skills. If you’d like to join us, please drop me an email on

Graphic with the text: Saffron Centre for Young Musicians £150 for three days, ages 12–19 Means tested bursaries are available To reserve a place, please email Sophie Stafford on or Kate Llewellyn on

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Saffron Centre for Young Musicians

SCYM provides emerging musicians aged 5-18 in the East of England with unique opportunities for music tuition