YOUNG classical musicians from across Southend took to the stage at the Palace Theatre to showcase their talents.

Groups from schools, as well as choral and string ensembles took part in the first of three nights of the Southend Makes Music event, which gives young people the chance to perform in a professional venue.

The festival has grown larger every year and the council’s head of music services, Ros Pitcher, was pleased with its growth.

She said: “In the past we knew there was some great musical talent in our local schools but little opportunity for them to perform together – primary and secondary under the same roof.

“Now, in its third year, the festival is seeing some exciting developments.”