Kirklees Council has announced who is on the board for the Year of Music 2023.

Linking into Yorkshire’s plans for a Year of Culture in 2023, the aim is for Kirklees to shine a spotlight on the richness and diversity of music today, bringing in all communities, formats and genres.

In the post-pandemic world organisers want to welcome in visitors from near and far for a year-long celebration of music where everyone is encouraged to experiment, learn, listen and enjoy.

The recruitment of the board which took place earlier this year will consist of eight members who collectively bring a wide range of knowledge and skills from across different sectors including education, the NHS, entertainment and local independent businesses.

The board will lead and support the delivery of the Year of Music’s vision, aims and objectives, as well as actively participating in the development of the programme.

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Members also represent different interests from health and wellbeing, to education, industry, tourism, community and the arts and will advise and make recommendations on activities which could form part of the programme.

The council also welcomes American singer songwriter, Michael Blair. Based in Stockholm, and active in the music world, Michael has previously sat on the advisory board of SXSW Festival (South by South West) in Austin, Texas. Although he won’t sit on the place-based board, Michael will bring a wealth of skills and expertise and will take on the role of international advisor.

Additionally, as part of the council’s commitment to young people, Sophie Simpson, through her work with Conscious Youth and as part of her role on the board, will be supporting a young person to take a leadership role on the board itself.

New Board from top left – Clr Paul Davies, Sophie Simpson, Nic Clear, Steven Roberts, David Birkenhead, Qaisar Mahmood, Matt Bell, Michael Blair and Hilary Thompson

Colin Parr, strategic director responsible for culture and events, said: “I am pleased to announce the board for the exciting Year of Music 2023.

“Kirklees is a district of world class music that stands proud on its rich and diverse musical heritage. With so much to offer in terms of music and fantastic home grown talent, the Year of Music will create a vibrant soundtrack played in the hearts and homes in all our towns and villages throughout 2023.

“I look forward to seeing the board work collaboratively with our communities in shaping the programme and supporting the delivery, in the lead up to and throughout 2023, and putting Kirklees, as music destination, firmly on the map.”

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Year of Music board member David Birkenhead, medical director at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is important to recognise the role music plays on our health and wellbeing, across all ages, in all communities. Music has always been an important part of my life and I have personal experience of this.

“As the board member and advocate for this agenda, I am excited to see what we can do together for Year of Music and beyond.”

Year of Music board member Sophie Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Conscious Youth, said: “Music provides the soundtrack to our lives, and it is vital that young people are at the heart of this project. This is why I am looking forward to supporting a young person to take a leadership role within Year of Music.”

The board will be operational from autumn 2021 until 2024 ensuring a sustainable legacy for the programme.