Sunday, 11 November 2012

Four Months On ...

Gemma was with me bravely until 8 August, when i had to let her go before she suffered too much ... many of you will know I've hardly spent a year of my life without a dog or two around, and I have no doubt Gemma will be keeping an eye out, from the great seaside in the sky, and when the time's right, a new friend will find me ... meanwhile ...

Phil Riley and Julie Wright

To help distract from my sadness, Phil and I have been recording our first cd together, which will be released after christmas ... it was our plan to have it ready for our support gig at The Musician in Leicester on 16 October, our warm up before headlining at Banbury Folk Club on 24 October, but unfortunately John Montague, who's recording for us, had another heart attack and is currently recuperating!  Thankfully, with a couple more stents in place, he's gradually getting back into gigging and recording, and we're all pleased to have him back in more or less one piece.

The Sileby Slappers

Following a summer dotted with gigs at community events (where luckily we mainly managed to avoid rain and mud!) we're now working on our performance programme, and have welcomed one or two newcomers to the group ... watch this space!


I'd been invited to drum with the musicians who play for the annual Circle Dance picnic at Swithland Woods, which was put back to a date in September due to waterlogged fields!  We had a beautiful, sunny day, and a band of about 14 musicians!  So lovely to play music and songs and rhythms from around the world.


We had a couple of great gigs at The Boathouse, Barrow Upon Soar, on sunny summer days by the canal, and our next is on Saturday 8 December at The George and Dragon in Broughton Astley, if you're looking for a pre-christmas nite out listening to some of your favourite tunes!


As we all know, with the recession and funding cuts across all the areas in which artists can make a great and positive difference to people's lives, school and community workshops have taken a great battering, many of us are struggling to keep working and doing what we do best.

I'm pleased to say I now have four schools where I have pupils taking weekly lessons, it's quite a new experience for me to see this progression, and very rewarding that some have continued with lessons in high school.  I also have projects at Corby Glen and Buckminster Primary Schools.  Corby Glen had me in for a teacher inset, and I'm now visiting once a week to spend an afternoon with the year 5/6 class - they have their own djembes, which is always a bonus!  At Buckminster I spent a day working with all classes (reception to year 6) and then we had an end of day assembly, singing and clapping and drumming with teachers and parents.  I'm now running an after school drum club for KS2 children, and Buckminster are using the djembes that their family of schools bought with Extended Services funds a couple of years ago, another project I was involved in.

I've also had some great "one-offs" this term - a re-visit to Wilds Lodge School music festival in Rutland; a day at Bishop Stopford School in Kettering with Year 7 - two groups of 50, culminating in a performance at the end of the day; a day at St Denys Infant School in Ibstock (where one of the young staff members told me she'd never seen such a well-structured drumming workshop); three days in Solihull at Widney Junior School with year 4/5 classes (and an invitation to return next term) and two days at Robert Smyth Upper School in Market Harborough, where I had the sheer joy of working with GCSE and A Level music students, as well as children from 4 feeder primary/high schools, all of whom took my leaflets and said they'd be in touch ...

So - I'm still here, I'm still working well, and I'm happy to discuss any project that you think we could put together to make a difference ... you know where I am ...

Meanwhile, in case I don't blog again until 2013, may I wish you a very Happy Christmas!