Queen Alexandra College (QAC) is a national residential College and charity that supports a diverse range of student abilities and needs based in Birmingham, the QAC Collective is their music group comprised of students who perform a range of musical genres on vocals and instruments.
QAC Collective first came to the attention of B:Music when they were invited by Midland Mencap to perform as part of Midland Mencap’s 70th
anniversary celebrations at Town Hall in 2018/19. Since then, B:Music has worked with the members of the band to provide performance opportunities across both venues (being only one of a handful of artists to have played all three B:Music stages: Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space, Town Hall and Symphony Hall). In early 2022, they were invited to perform as part of a monthly lunchtime series for unpaid carers called Musical Meet-Ups, and having then applied for funding to produce a new song for the late Queen’s Jubilee in May 2022, B:Music partnered them with singer/songwriter Tim Prottey-Jones from the band First Time Flyers. On the recommendation of B:Music, the band then accepted an invitation to be part of Primary Live at Symphony Hall, during the Music for Youth National Festival in July 2023, and as a consequence, performed at the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall last week!
Keith Donovan: Music teacher at Queen Alexandra College, and leader of QAC collective said 'B:Music has created fantastic opportunities for our students over the last few years. Playing at Birmingham Town Hall was the first time that QA Collective had played outside of the safe environment of the college and what a venue to start with! This ever changing and evolving collective of musicians has grown in confidence as they played outside of college more and more. They have played several gigs at an inclusive club night, at the Night Owl in Digbeth and thanks to B:Music have played in the Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space and the main room of the Birmingham Symphony Hall.
A few weeks ago, I took great delight in telling the band that we had been invited to play at the Royal Albert Hall. We all know what a prestigious venue this is and consider it an honour to be asked. If you would have told me five years ago, that this would be happening, I wouldn't have believed you. Although I've always had great faith in the amazing talents of our students.
Playing these amazing venues allows the band to drop their mask for a little while, or at least put on a different one. While they can find the world a difficult place to navigate socially, they are completely at home when they are performing.'
'Having been a part of the QAC Collective journey since 2018/19, it has been a real pleasure to be able to support the amazing musicians and performers in the band over the years. At B:Music, we try to find opportunities for performances across all of our spaces, and I’m delighted that the collective are now going on to represent the Midlands region on a national level at the Music for Youth Proms. I was lucky enough to have participated in the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall during my early music career, and still reflect on it from time to time today – so I know how special this opportunity will be for QAC Collective, their leader, Keith, and the entire Queen Alexandra College family too!' Chris Proctor: Head of Programme at B:Music