Southwark’s Children’s Brass Band is made up of children aged between 7 and 14. They meet every Saturday at the Harris Primary Academy in Peckham Park. They come from Southwark and the surrounding London boroughs and from a range of social backgrounds.
Patty Harper, a Trustee of the band's charity, was delighted to have been awarded the funding: “The students are very excited at the prospect of traveling and playing in Paris,” she said.
“A lot of our students are from less well-off families and have very few opportunities like this. It’s unlikely they would go to Paris otherwise.
“The tour will give them a sense of what is achievable with hard work and practice and develop their performance skills, stamina and their musicality. I think their perception of what they are capable of will also grow as they see themselves playing to bigger audiences.
“They are highly committed to practising and performing and I’m sure this tour will increase their confidence, enjoyment and vision for their musical future.”
All the applicants for the funding were assessed by a panel of specialists with experience of youth music touring:
· Hanh Doan, is Head of Music at Beaumont School in St. Albans and has toured extensively in Europe. She has recently published an e-book on music teaching in conjunction with Rhinegold Music Publishers.
· Jackie Schneider is a music education specialist. She teaches at Poplar and St Teresa's primary schools in Merton, London. She also trains postgraduate teacher trainers at Roehampton University.
· Also on the panel, along with the Club Europe Concert Tours team, was Y11 music student Thomas Fisher from Mill County High School High School in Barnet, who has toured with his school’s band to Venice and Barcelona.
“We were impressed with Southwark’s independence,” commented Jackie Schneider. “They are worthy recipients of this funding. They have managed to sustain themselves as a small charity over many years. They are a young group and I hope this funding is the start of a long legacy of touring for the group and the beginning of a culture change for them, which will raise their overall expectations.
“It’s also good to see that the brass band tradition is alive and well in London!”
“Proud to perform is a fantastic initiative,” commented Hanh Doan. “It’s brilliant to remove the financial barrier to music touring. Music is for all, not just for those who can afford it.
“Touring is about much more than just the music. Students learn so many life skills, just being away for a short time and it helps enormously with their independence and confidence.”
Club Europe will be supporting and mentoring the group over the period leading up to the tour, to Paris in 2015, which will include a performance at Disneyland.
“Normally our tours are paid for by students and parents with some occasional subsidy from schools and music services,” explained Club Europe’s Head of Concert Tours Lucy Szymonski. “We wanted to give an opportunity to a group who had all the drive and ability needed to tour but lacked the financial means to do so.
“The tour will be a great platform for Southwark to showcase their talent to new audiences. It will support their development and growth as a group and will be a wonderful way of motivating and encouraging their young music makers. Who knows where it will lead them!”
Click here for more information on Club Europe and this project.