RNCM Young Artists


Here’s a great opportunity to contribute to the future of music making by supporting an exciting project announced by the Royal Northern College of Music and The River Reeves Foundation.  At the heart of the RNCM Young Artists programme is a passion for offering young people musical opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them.  It speaks to the issues of EDI, music education and making music accessible to all that are central to the MIA and businesses across our membership, and has been born out of tragedy.

 A proportion of proceeds from the sale of Viola Beach’s re-released album will support a new initiative for young pop musicians across the Northwest.

The self-title debut recording has been posthumously released on vinyl to mark the sixy-year anniversary of the tragic death of the Warrington band (Kris Leonard, Jack Dakin, River Reeves and Tomas Lowe) and their manager (Craig Tarry), with some proceeds going towards an exciting new programme for young people in the region.

The River Reeves Foundation, established by River’s dad and step-mum Ben and Sharon Dunne, will donate River’s portion of sales to the RNCM Young Artists programme, designed to give 11-18-year-olds life changing opportunities to learn from the very best and reach their potential.

Delivered by the College’s world-renowned Popular Music Department, RNCM Young Artists will launch in September and offer year-round weekly sessions focused on composition, production and performance.

With full access to fully equipped, state-of-the-art recording and producing studios, participants will work in bands, creating, recording and distributin original music and sharing their work in informal, friendly gigs and showcases.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘This is a hugely exciting new programme which will support and inspire brilliant musicians, song writers and producers – the next generation of the region’s music creators.  We cannot wait to work with these young people and help them to take the next steps on their musical journey.  We know there is incredible talent right on our doorstep and RNCM Young Artists will provide the very best training, mentorship and music-making opportunities to help them achieve their dreams.’

 The River Reeves Foundation is looking to support the RNCM’s ambition of offering full-fee bursaries for up to 50% of the young people on the Young Artists programme.  These will be aimed at those whose financial circumstances have prevented them from accessing music training.

Travel and tech bursaries will be available to ensure the costs of transport and equipment don’t prevent participation, and we plan to work closely with the young people’s schools and networks to create a supportive framework for their music-making.

Alongside transformational music training and experiences, the project will increase the young people’s confidence and open pathways for education and development that would otherwise be out of reach.

Ben and Sharon said: ‘River Reeves’ family both in Penzance and Warrington would like to thank all at SJM and Communion Records who have made this special re-release possible.  Our most precious memories are of River making music and performing.  We want the world to know that through the music, River along with his bandmates and manager will continue to live on in all our lives.  Let’s get it back up the charts where it belongs!’

To learn more about RNCM Young Artists please click here or email popularmusic@rncm.ac.uk. If you’d like to order the album, please visit Vintage Viola.

If you’re an MIA member interested in building a relationship with this exciting scheme, or in setting a similar scheme up in a different part of the country, please get in touch with Matt.


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