Last week, over 500 students aged 9 to 16 took part in two regional music and arts showcases as part of United Learning’s national 2017 cultural celebration – IDeas Festival.
The two events – one at AKS School in Blackpool and the second at Ashford School in Kent – brought together children and teachers from both the state and independent sectors. Hosted by former Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson, the events gave students a chance to showcase their talents as performers and share and explore ideas about their local, regional and national identities.
The IDeas Festival will see pupils across United Learning explore their identities and celebrate their culture and heritage through a series of arts and music events. Over the course of the next month, students will use music, art, drama and food to look at their cultural identities and the heritage of their local area.
This week, the music and performing arts showcases have seen 13 United Learning schools perform individual pieces on the theme of identity – using drama, music and visual arts to show off the range of skills and techniques of their students. These included a jazz band from Ashford School, a Cuban band from William Hulme’s Grammar School, a drums performance from Kettering Buccleuch Academy and a musical theatre piece from ‘Hairspray’ by Richard Rose Central Academy.
Local primary school pupils were also treated to workshops led by older students where they taught them music and choreography. A Stockport Academy student who led one of the workshops said:
“You learn to show them you’re confident so they will be confident and less awkward.”
One student from William Hulme’s Grammar School particularly enjoyed the improvisation workshop:
“We learnt to improvise so we could just carry on if something happens that you’re not expecting.”
The events then ended with an ensemble performance of ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.
Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said:
“This week’s showcase performances have been an excellent demonstration of students’ talents right across United Learning. I have been very impressed not only with schools’ individual performances but the shared ideas and enthusiasm shown by everyone involved. Students and staff alike have put in a tremendous amount of effort and preparation to make the events a success and this was clear to see by the quality of performances and workshops during the festival.
“The success of these events bodes well for the rest of our IDeas Festival which promises to be a fantastic celebration of our students’ identities and cultures. Our schools have some incredibly exciting events planned and I look forward to seeing all the ideas that emerge out of the festival.”
One pupil from Abbey Hey Primary Academy said of the experience:
“I learnt to be confident and that you should just have a go.”
A pupil from AKS School’s primary phase said:
“I really liked it because we did some modern music.”
Find out more about the IDeas Festival 2017