Group A is an initiative for young people living in challenging circumstances. Participants come from two Suffolk towns, Ipswich and Lowestoft, to form a vocal performance group. This summer, Group A came together to create an all-singing, all-dancing performance for the Aldeburgh Carnival Parade, with an audience of 8000 people descending on the town on Monday 20th August to watch.
The project was about celebrating community and identity. Its challenge was uniting young people aged between 8-18 from across two very different communities (Ipswich and Lowestoft) to come together as one cohesive group.
The project was led by Sarah Jewell, a world music vocalist, accompanied by a team of awe-inspiring and talented musicians. She created uplifting and funky music, with simple tunes to grasp hold of and complex harmonies to challenge older members of the group. These were taught over a series of taster sessions and 3 intensive days in the lead up to the performance. She was supported by 4 talented young leaders who helped their peers to develop musically and socially. Our amazing volunteer team made beautiful costumes in rainbow colours for all the performers and an expert choreographer added movement and dance.
A dedicated team of pastoral staff supported Group A throughout the project, on the coach, during the rehearsals, leading meditation activities and team-building games at lunch. Their role was an essential part of developing a positive community, giving many participants the extra encouragement they needed to engage.
The outcome of the project, shown in this video that captures the true energy and spirit of the weekend, was hugely positive. Group A had had a performance experience that lifted them above their everyday lives, made some great friends and developed a new found confidence and sense of group identity. Young people from both towns will continue to meet on a regular basis throughout the year, exploring new music and taking part in further performances.
We cannot wait to share our progress as the group continues to meet throughout the year.