Thursday, 9 February 2012

Wild Horses, Otley Chevin and Music For Youth in Bradford

Dear Debs, So, you're in Abu Dabi, where I guess it's hot and we're here in Yorkshire, where it definitely is the coldest night this winter.

Setting the scene. On behalf of my local high school, City of Leeds, I teach at several local primaries. You won't be surprised to learn that I teach music to them all, whole classes of percussion: steelpans, glocks, xylophones, djembes, tambourines and anything else you can shake, rattle or hit.

Not a primary school teacher by training or inclination, I first entered the Schools for Smalls with some trepidation back in 1996 when I joined the Leeds Music Service as a peri. And once I got the hang of it, and got over the fact they kept bursting into tears, well, I guess I did quite like them - well Years 5 and 6 anyway. So when Tracey emailed me just after Christmas and asked if I was coming in on the first week back, I replied: Wild Horses . . . . and so the 3-5 school Hyde Park Percussion Orchestra was renamed. And, Debs, on the right here is Shire Oak, Blenheim and Quarry Mount at their first joint rehearsal in the City of Leeds Drama studio. Along with Rosebank and Springbank we're all entering theMusic For Youth Regional Festival at St Aidan's Harrogate on March 10th. If they all come it'll be nearly 100 children all in one band. But I am not counting my little chickens until they all get to Burley Park Station.

I was hyper all Thursday evening with how well they'd played. I needed a walk on the Chevin. That's Sunday me, Diz, Lola, Joe, Ben. Me and Ben only had thin socks in our wellies, and after jumping in a few ice pools, Ben retired frozen feet; as a responsible adult I kept out of the puddles after that, and the photo is the little leader again with her mum.

Back to the working week, and now it's the Leeds Silver Doves at the Music For Youth primary Prom in Bradford St George's Hall. We had to meet at 7.30 am at Leeds Station. Me, Joe M and some teenagers, and a couple of 20 pluses. None of us with a track record of early rising!

Varshika was at the station for the 8 o'clock train to Liverpool for her Uni interview. She texted Amy that she assumed we'd all made it as there was none of us left on the platform. Well actually one of us was still in bed! No problem, Joe M1 stood in for the soundcheck and Joe M2 got the bus over plenty of time for first set. Teachers were me and Joe; players were Amy, Joe, Sophie, Nina, Ashley, Maisie, Danielle, Georgia. Played Your Song, Swan Lake and Is Heat. Ashley did pan de neck into the audience. The audience clapped along with gusto from the start. [You may not be surprised to know that I advised them not to.]

The compere was Barney from Children's TV; Danielle and Ashley were in heaven, and Ashley even kidnapped said compere so they could have pics taken with him.

I laughed but actually 30 years ago, I saw the Undertones at this very same venue and waited outside afterwards to get Feargal Sharkey's autograph - which I still have. Also saw the Cure here, but was seated to watch them, so did not really get into it. The photos above are from the soundcheck.

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