The Bexley Young Musician of the Year Awards is one of a series of projects for young people promoted by Rotary up and down the country. This particular event is organised jointly by the four Rotary Clubs in the London Borough of Bexley and culminates in a biennial Awards Concert. The next concert is to be held in 2020.
Back in 1997 Mike Hopley of Crayford Club took up the Rotary challenge to run a Young Musician of the Year Awards scheme for the Borough of Bexley and asked the Bexley, Erith, Danson and Sidcup clubs to get involved. I am totally without musical talent and tone deaf so I became our club representative. David Dennis, who is musical, accompanied me in the early stages.
Mike did most of the work. He contacted 40 or so secondary schools, organised posters, application forms, judges, supporting acts, sponsors and myriad correspondence; crucially he also enlisted the active support of Mike Purton, CEO of the Bexley College of Music, without whose enthusiasm and inside knowledge the scheme would never have got off the ground.
The first concert was held on the 20th September 1998 at the Rose Theatre, Rose Bruford College, and subsequent events have been staged every two years, switching to the Townley Theatre in 2008.
I rather foolhardily took over the hot seat from Mike in 2002 for the next six years, albeit with a great deal of support from an excellent committee. The reins have now been passed to Sue Dowswell and Peter Allsop, together with a committee of members from all the Bexley Rotary clubs, who seem to be bearing up remarkably well under the strain. The eighth biennial concert was held at Townley on Saturday 3rd March 2012 .
This exciting project offers a brilliant showcase to talented young musicians in the borough. Long may it continue.
Chairman BYMYA Committee 2002/8