After almost two years in planning, our trip to the South West of England was a resounding success. Fitting in six days work into four was always going to be a challenge but the rewards for us, and hopefully everyone we met, far outweighed the effort expended. We estimate that we performed and worked with 450 children of all ages and backgrounds.
First and foremost, the precursor to the trip was an enquiry from Churchill Music! in Somerset. Over the proceeding months with a few tweaks here and there a plan evolved alongside their partners, St Georges Bristol, for two concerts and two workshops. This included us actually getting involved in some classroom teaching at the Churchill Academy, a first for us and definitely a step out of our comfort zone, away from our normal lecture recitals and masterclasses! To say that the charity is an outstanding organisation just doesn’t do it justice. Their enthusiasm for music alongside education is a beacon and an example to many.
Once the these details were all in place we set about organising other work around the locality. We visited Millfield, Hazlegrove, and Bryanston Schools where in each school we performed and worked with the children and then giving recitals in the evening. Visiting the splendid music departments in each and playing in the fantastic concert halls was a real joy. With these venues having public concerts open to all I would urge anyone that can attend concerts there not to hesitate and go along as these facilities are world class. As an aside, with music being scythed from state education across the country it begs the question why do these schools invest heavily in such fabulous facilities. I feel the answer takes up a lot more space than we have but sometimes things aren’t always as simple as just the bottom line.
Thank you to everyone that has made this week possible but extra special thanks has to go to Jan and Ursula from Churchill Music! Their tireless work in making this happen, and bringing the opportunity to as many people as possible should be an inspiration for all of us. We would be honoured to return. Last but not least, the amazing meal we were fed before the concert on Saturday was memorable. The bread and butter pudding with homemade custard still sends us into raptures!