Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tropical World, Beetroot and Brie

Dear Debs, I’m in trouble for breaking into the Christmas Brie! It went so nicely with the beetroot from the Organic Man that I had been boiling up all day [beetroot not man that is]. Nobody else in the house likes beetroot, organic or not, so the lingering smell of saucepan full of soil and in seemingly imminent danger of burning dry, plus the incident with the Christmas Brie, well it’s the doghouse for me.

I’ve been on tour in Tropical World, Roundhay Park, Leeds, hanging out with the meerkats and the crocodiles, as, of course, you were, Debs. It wasn’t Carriacou, but it was warmer on our little patch of sand inside the tropical house than it was out there on Street Lane.

We, Foxwood Steel Bandits, had a run of five evenings, from Saturday 18th December to Wednesday 22 December. As this was our third year running, and as each evening ran from 5 till 8pm, I was trying to vary things, if only only for the Tropical World staff! By way of a change I invited some other bands to do guest spots. Plus we tried to vary the non-Christmassy stuff, even arranging Telstar for one of the staff, who had asked me if it could be done on pans when we were here 8 or so years ago.
First off on Monday evening was South Steel, ex-pupils from Merlyn Rees and from South Leeds Schools, leader: Charlotte Emery. [Charlotte does all the illustrstions for my songbooks]. They were Charlotte [herself], Debs [yourself], Andy, Caroline, Neil, Sarah, Holly and Kerry.

On Tuesday, advanced music centre steel band, Steel Rising, trod the beach boards. These are four people who have been playing in main music centre band, East Steel, for a decade or so now. Three of them [Alli, Karen, Ruth] started off at East Leeds Music centre [hence the name] and one [Vicky] began at West Leeds Music Centre. These were hosted at Parklands High School and at Pudsey Grangefield Schools, respectively. Now West Leeds Music Centre operates as a satellite at City of Leeds School [Thursday evenings, beginners welcome if you're interested].

Alli, Karen and Ruth work in the health service, and in education; Vicky is a teacher, who is just adding steel pans to her list of subjects taught!

Wednesday, it was six of my newer Silver Sparrows.
This was Claudia, Jenner, Kurt, Millie, Maisie and Nina, coming from Allerton Grange School, City of Leeds School, Abbey Grange School and home schooling. They were taking on pans they'd not seen before and were sight-reading songs we, for obvious reasons, only play for two weeks in the year. This little group had previously done a couple of similar concerts in Little London, so they are getting used to being thrown in the deep end.
One visitor patted me on the arm and said well done for all the good work. Another was overheard asking his companion if some of us were beginners. Well there were indeed some dodgy notes as we tried to extend our repertoire beyond its normal boundaries.
Whatever. Seasonal Greetings to you all.

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