Young people came together amidst a whirl of colour, sounds, pictures and stories.
They launched the Amy Johnson Festival with “Flying to Freedom” a story of Amy Johnson’s flight across the world meeting pioneering women in the countries where she landed.
The orchestra sang and signed Amy’s song as well as playing a variety of instruments; gamelan, percussion for soundscapes, taiko drums, rhythm sticks, violins, keyboards and guitars. We discovered Austria, Istanbul, Baghdad, Karachi, Sourabaya and finally Australia as well as experiencing a violent storm and monsoon (which involved auidience participation!). The soundbeam also created Amy taking off and a film made by young people showed Amy’s journey as an animation.
It was the first time that we had held the orchestra performance outside of school time and with youth groups. It really worked. All the young people committed to the project and we welcomed new audience members who were not family and friends. We benefited from being part of the Amy Johnson Festival event and being included in their marketing.
Young people have worked on their discover Arts Award but have also really enjoyed the experience. They loved performing especially coming together as a larger integrated orchestra. Some young people have been supported to progress their learning and experience; keeping rhythm and leading for the first time, being able to leave their one to one support and enter the world of training, building confidence by taking part in the narration, making the journey to town on a Saturday without school support. Many overcame frustrations of having a disability to perform at a very professional level.
Hull Rhythm Pixies are training as music mentors and supported the two youth groups. We plan to develop this mentoring role and involve other schools as mentors for 2017. Our next performance will be as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations using the season theme of Freedom.
Thanks to Ganton, Northcott, Winifred Holtby, Tweendykes and Frederick Holmes School as well as Hull Rhythm Pixies, Route One and Chaos Youth Centres.
Thanks to film makers My Pockets and musicians Gary Hammond, Humber Taiko, Donna Smith, Daniel Arce, David Barton and Vivian Querido.
Ruth Drake, Arts Development Officer, Hull City Council, July 2014