Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Lovely Teacher Trainees of Huddersfield in Halifax

In the all the excitement that was the London Underground I forgot the blog for Huddersfield and Halifax. So here it is, irritatingly for me, one blog out of sequence and making absolutely no difference to the reader. [Reader, I live in hope!]

In what is optimistically called the spring term half term holiday, I woke up before I normally go to bed, and was in Halifax before I normally get up. Ralph picked me up from the station, and took me up to Trinity.

After the shock of getting up at 5am the workshop was ace. Hazel let me loose on all her pans; the students were to a woman and a man, lovely [thanks to Lucy for dancing], and the biscuits - Garibaldi [say no more!]

I love teaching music graduates, especially those thinking of teaching. They have all the talents and all the skills while still being happy to go back to the beginning: chord, and an other chords, change chords, share out chords with a partner, songs with two chords in, with three, with two chords in one bar [now that's advanced] tunes for a bar, for two bars, what you want to the whole eight bars! A sixteen bar song?

And I met Kevin, who was Head of Service, who looked at me and said, "Music For Youth 2005?". And then he recalled seeing the Sparrows walking on stage at the Birmingham Conservatoire; he was sitting behind the judges; he said you walked with I can only describe an interesting set of teenagers, and you started to play. Words to the effect that the hairs on his arms stood up; the judges in front of him stopped writing and slowly rose their heads. At the end they just said "Wow".
Confidence jumped off the stage and decided to conduct

Thinking back, that was our first year, and was 2006; I think we started, as ever, with something slow and haunting, and it was probably Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet. I asked Kevin if he had any more stories like that. So good for the self-esteem. [Have now looked back through records and that we played Clocks and Swan Lake calypso].

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play M4Y and Joanne takes a stand

Well, it's the time I always dreaded: university and other distractions claim half the Sparrows in one go. The others are all in the sixth form and/or have jobs, and can't do every week. Only Milly S is a regular safe hand. Two Year 8s [Kirsten and  Lucy] have joined from Wanda's wonderful Oulton School

Band, and Caitlin from Natalie's City of Leeds class. Sometimes there's only four of them. Then, here's Alice from Allerton Grange; Ashley has a burst of really regular attendance; in November Deangelo newly arrived from Turks and Kakos joins us, and late January Owen appears [still at Oulton Primary but good and bold enough for us]. So, if you count Claudia and Georgia as one player, that's a regular attendance of seven or eight. Then sometimes Millie C pays a flying visit, and we have Yi Bai, me and Bex who can play, and really, it's another fine ensemble. Good enough for Music For Youth.

Bex has arranged Jess Glynne's Hold My Hand; Coldplay's Fix You has been podding along nicely for a while; we add Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head [David/Bacharach] for contrast. Suddenly this half new, half older band is a contender. We are now totally proud and confident to be taking them out.

Then in February racing driver Tube train-driver takes me out [not on the tracks you understand, was thrown across the carriage]! I'm in St Thomas's Hospital, big operation, back up to Leeds in an ambulance, and I had only gone to London for an MU Teachers' Section Meeting!

Next two weeks Bex does the honours on her own, polishes up all those songs, and now we are Harrogate bound. Alice introduces the songs. I handle not setting up or leading the band on stage quite well. But glad to take a bow at the end, not feeling quite so much a guest at my own party.

There was a sour note, which was a bit sad really. We were due to play at about 12.45 as the last act of the morning session. We were determined that the Sparrows should see and support as many of the other ensembles as possible and aim to be there from 11. Georgia even borrows the car so she can bring her three children to watch all the acts. But now I can't drive at the moment and Wanda can't pick me, Deangelo and parent, Sandy up until 11a.m. and we will miss some of them. Turns out four bands don't turn up and everyone else has played by the time Dee and me arrive. Oh well.

Mark announces, "Leeds is here, hope you wait to hear them". Joanne [Sparrows parent] hears an adult from band behind her say, "Why should we, they weren't here to hear us?" Joanne took a stand, and declared that that wasn't a fair comment. I am proud of a feisty Sparrows parent; she was still upset when she told us. I think she would have been more upset if she hadn't put the other person straight.

Then, of course the tuck shop, without which no gig is complete. Mark P at St Aidan's has, as usual, made as feel welcome, and although it a trek to either Harrogate [or Garforth] it's always nice.

The music? Oh yeah, Fix You made me and Gig cry. So proud. Millie S held the melody on her own for two tunes, and the rest of the band kept the mix down in order to accommodate. Yo. New Sparrows - worthy successors.

Owen receives award

Pads watches it over again on ipad