Higher Ground (Autumn 2021)
25 november 2021
From 26 October to 2 November 2021, the autumn tour of Jong Metropole took place, which led to a live stream on 30 October (with approximately 300 audience members present) and two concerts on 31 October in Zutphen and 2 November in Tilburg. The tour was titled Higher Ground, after a hit song by soul singer Michelle David (originally by Stevie Wonder). Together with Jong Metropole and four backing vocalists ('Michelle's angels'), she attracted two full houses and thousands of viewers on YouTube and Facebook.
Stream of Higher Ground on 30 October 2021 in Hilversum
The autumn tour would originally have taken place in the spring of 2021, but had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 measures in force at the time. As a result, Higher Ground was not only a super swinging programme with ditto musicians this autumn, but also a huge energy boost for all the musicians who had been looking forward to this tour for so long. Soul, funk and R&B were on the program and Jong Metropole had no trouble getting the audience off their seats. View the full programme booklet (in Dutch) for all songs.
With more than 50 orchestra members, Jong Metropole was conducted by the German conductor, arranger and band leader Ansgar Striepens, assisted by conductor Vera Keijsers. This student of conducting at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Tilburg came forward to assist and stole the hearts of the audience and the musicians conducting Chaka Khan's I feel for you (written by Prince) and Ain't nobody.
During this tour, a special collaboration took place with the Gelderland Heritage Festival ("Erfgoedfestival"). October was History month and the Heritage Festival linked ten musicians from Jong Metropole to Erfgoedcentrum Zutphen. As a result of this collaboration, the musicians composed a new work that was inspired by the stories behind the workers' houses in Zutphen. Guide Ben showed the musicians around and touched them with his story about poverty and wealth in Zutphen. The piece was therefore titled Ben's story. This work was performed during the opening of the Heritage Festival on 3 October 2021 in Nijmegen and during the closing of the festival on 31 October in the Hanzehof in Zutphen, as the opening of the Jong Metropole concert in this hall. Heritage Center Zutphen made the video below (left) about the creation of the composition. On the right the registration of the complete work.
Several members of Jong Metropole were involved in interesting side programming during the tour. We already mentioned the Heritage Festival above, but also during the rehearsals in the week prior to the concerts in the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (MCO) in Hilversum there was additional programming for approximately 200 MBO students from the area. Art and Culture Center Globe, which is also located in the MCO, organized a workshop programme for these students, in which the rehearsal visit was a highlight. Not only were the students able to follow the rehearsals, but they could also ask questions and even conduct! During the breaks, Q&As were organized for all individual classes, each with two members of Jong Metropole.
In collaboration with Tilburg University, as a Studium Generale activity a lecture was given on the origins of Gospel, soul and R&B. The four backing vocalists delved into this subject especially for the occasion and prepared an entertaining lecture about it: The Power of Gospel. They showed examples from history, took the audience into the different styles and they also sang with the audience, consisting of more than 50 students from the university and interested parties. In Tilburg, the concert was part of the Better Get Hit festival.
The Keep an Eye Outstanding Talent Award 2021 was awarded during the last of the three concerts on Tuesday 2 November in Tilburg. Flutist Ketija Ringa-Karahona (23) received this award from Eva Scholten of the Keep an Eye Foundation. The Keep an Eye Foundation's special Outstanding Talent Award is presented annually to the musician within the Jong Metropole orchestra with the most exceptional talent. That can be the best soloist, but the winner can also be 'outstanding' in another area. Ketija Ringa-Karahona received the award because of her beautiful laid-back timing and spot-on choice of notes, according to the jury. In addition, she has shown connecting qualities in a jazz world that is still dominated by men, making her a role model for female younger flutists who are taking their first steps in improvisation. Ketija is therefore a fantastic example of what Jong Metropole stands for: bridging the gap between classical and jazz, from interpretation to improvisation and the development of a professional musician into a person in a social environment.
Ketija Ringa-Karahona receives the Keep an Eye Outstanding Talent Award 2021 (photo Pieter Kunnen)
Jong Metropole is made possible thanks to a unique partnership between the Keep an Eye Foundation and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. In addition, Jong Metropole was supported in 2021 by a contribution from the J.C.P. Stichting.