The Winter Concert at Lionsgate: Aftermath

Hi Everyone!

Sunday 25th July 2010 at Lionsgate Farm was a very special day in the KZN Midlands. This was the day that the Songworks Music School held its 1st Winter Concert. 12 months of hard work, determination and perseverance culminated in an afternoon of live music that rocked the Midlands.

For nearly all the students it was the first time they had performed outside of the privacy and sanctuary of our music school. The first time they had stood behind a microphone and had an audience standing in front of them.

To those people who have never experienced this you have no idea of the adrenalin that rushes through your system. Performing live is nerve-wracking and scary but it is also exhilarating, thrilling and intense. For some of us it is an addictive experience that makes one hunger for more. The achievements of these young people cannot be over-stated. I hope that the self-belief and confidence they derived from conquering some very real fears will stand them all in good stead in other aspects of their lives be it at school, and in the longer term as they make the transition into adulthood as young men and women. Whether they choose to make a career in the performing arts or whether it is just a part of their young lives that they look back on with happiness and pride, they will be better for the experience…

In all there were over 30 separate musical acts from performers some as young as 7 yrs of age ranging upwards to early 20s The full programme is reproduced at the end of this article…

Congratulations to all who took part. Without exception everybody who performed really upped their game on the day and I am intensely proud of you all.

Perhaps an unforeseen foundation for why this happened was laid down at the dress rehearsal the day before the concert. Most of the students met each other for the first time that day and as one performer followed another you could sense a very special atmosphere was being created. There was no sense of rivalry or competition in evidence. Instead these young people all bonded to support and give encouragement and praise to each other.

By the end of the day they had all been through a shared experience, many battling through extreme nervousness and insecurity. For the first time they saw themselves not as individuals but as members of a group who shared similar dreams and aspirations. These were people of like minds, kindred spirits in music.

When I founded this School this was exactly what I had in mind and hoped for and so this weekend has been a very special experience for me. What we are hopefully creating is a mini Fame Academy where artists appreciate the talent of their peers and colleagues, where they push and encourage themselves and each other to push themselves to better performances, where they can form lasting friendships, teaming up to do duets together, try new things out and inspire one other to achieve greater things.

The appreciation from the audience of 150 was clear to see on the day and the comments and emails I have received from people who were there on the day have been full of praise and almost wonderment. Many parents who considered their child or children to be quite shy and perhaps introverted were genuinely overwhelmed not just by the quality of their performances but by the enormity of the huge step they had taken by putting themselves out there and sharing what they have to offer.

Our School has very little in common with the Idols formula which promotes the myth of instant discovery, fame and individual celebrity. Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not in the slightest bit against the idea of competition in sport, business or in other walks of life but I have no interest in or see no value in judging one voice over another That is not at all what our School is about – we are about celebrating the diversity and range of each other’s individual talents. After all, who is to say whether Michael Buble sings better than Robbie Williams or Whitney Houston is better than Madonna! Some days we choose rock other days we choose soul.

This, our 1st concert, will certainly not be our last! We fully intend to make The Winter Concert an annual event and everybody agreed that the venue was absolutely perfect. Trayci and Stuart Tompkins who very kindly invited us to host this event at their home, the magnificent Lionsgate Farm, have already confirmed that they are keen to see us return again next year and I firmly hope that The Winter Concert will become an annual event and a fixture in Midlands life which will give a performance platform to many other young people in the years to come. One parent remarked that it felt like a young people’s Splashy Fen and if that is the general feeling, I’m cool with that!

However a year is a long time to wait and now that the performance bug has well and truly bitten we are already exploring the possibility of putting on a Summer/Christmas Concert. We will be looking to find a suitable indoor venue to create something like the Barnyard experience (the notoriously unpredictable Midlands weather makes this inevitable)… I will keep you posted…

Until then, we are reliving the experience through all the photos, videos and recordings that were made on the day. If you have any that you can share with us please pop them onto a disc and drop them off at the studio. From there they will make it onto the website, our studio wall, or maybe onto You Tube! Watch this space…

And thank you, all of you who worked to make this event such a great success. All the members of Songworks, their parents and friends, especially Shannon Rushworth and Sabello Zuma, the St Charles School Band and their team of roadies and Vincent Khumalo for managing the venue. Above all, our thanks to Stuart and Trayci Tompkins for their generosity in donating such a wonderful array of beautiful prizes, and for hosting our Winter Concert.

Tracy and Steve

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