It’s been a busy second week for the GCF Summer School Participants! They’ve been putting together the content for the sharing event on Friday 28 August. Associate artist, Simon Howarth is a musician and producer. He’s written a bit about his experience over the last two weeks…
“Wow, I can’t believe you have only been working with these students for a week!” These were the words of Claudio Kron, a guest teacher who is a seasoned artist who specialises in the Brazilian arts. His words I feel sum up the hard work and talent that this group has brought to the project. Our first session feels like an eternity ago due to the massive progress each individual has made during their time with us.
As you can imagine the first day was an icebreaker; an opportunity for the tutors and students to get to know about each other’s talents and experiences. The diversity of the experience was impressive to see ranging from Harrogate Youth theatre to Leeds Steel Pan Orchestra. By the second day you could already see the creative juices flowing. Rowan, one of our young pianists had started taking song requests from one of our young singers, Donatella and during the lunch break you could hear the two of them belting out hits from the drama studio!
Our mission statement is ‘We are an arts organisation with a varied project programme, we collaborate with artists and partners to produce engaging work for a wide range of audiences.’ and this is perfectly captured by this group’s diversity. Our students have experiences in African, Caribbean and European artistic traditions and this has help to carve our performance we are creating into a unique cultural creation.
Geraldine Connor, who this organisation was created in memory of, would be proud. She created the musical masterpiece Carnival Messiah, a fusion of Handel’s classic Messiah and traditional African and Caribbean musical styles. She was a big believer in fostering the artistic talents of her students and I feel our mentors Christella, Khadijah and David perfectly continue this tradition. Not only this, but they have helped our students realise talents they didn’t know they had. Jordan, one of our musicians was shocked to find that he had an amazing singing voice, but as the days went by you could see his confidence in his own abilities increase to the point where he requested to do a duet for the performance! This is what the GCF is all about.
Another element of the GCF is the family environment we like to promote. We take ourselves seriously but try to incorporate as much fun as possible, so don’t be surprised to see our Director Amy cutting shapes in a dance warmup, or our Producer Lladel ‘trying’ to sing hits in our music workshop!
What Simon doesn’t mention is that he was in Carnival Messiah – we’ve seen the video evidence!