I was lucky enough to be let out of the office a couple of weeks ago for a trip to see Cherry Trees, one of our Learning & Participation team’s partner schools, end of term performance.
The Cherry Trees School is a primary school for boys with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties. The Learning & Participation Programme has a very successful relationship with the school and has worked there for the last ten years.
Walking in to the school we were presented with a Welcome to the Show poster made by the boys (which now resides on the wall in the office), and were ushered into the main hall where we all sat on tiny chairs. As the boys filed in for the performance there was a bit of fidgeting, but they all appeared to be on their best behaviour for their mums, dads and families.
The performance began with a medley of East London past songs and a version of the Drunken Sailor sung in a round, all of which were brilliantly sung and great fun to watch as they included actions as well! The programme became slightly more contemporary with two original rock n roll songs sung by two separate groups, with a couple of lucky boys getting to play the guitar and percussion!
There was a short interlude where one of the boys played a solo keyboard piece (Intro of the Papa Roach song Last Resort ) followed by River is Flowing, a lullaby showing the full range of styles that the boys were capable of.
The highlight of the performance for me, and I am sure some of the boys would agree, would have to be the beat-boxing. The children had made up their own raps about themselves or the area & community they lived in which were performed over the top of a beat-box backdrop. Some of the boys were very shy but others came out of their shells and gave such a good performance they left the teachers in the shadows! The final piece Ain’t No Giving Up was a chance for the audience to participate and sing along, which we all thoroughly enjoyed yet we were slightly overshadowed by the powerful and brilliant singing of the boys!
Throughout the performance the children were all on their best behaviour, and really looked as if they were enjoying the singing. It was an absolutely brilliant concert from all that were involved. Our learning & participation work with schools like Cherry Trees gets the students working together and communicating through music, whilst bringing a sense of shared community. This continues through to the parents who support their children and allow it all to be possible along with the excellent help of the teachers and workshop leaders.
Rebecca Steel, Box Office & Marketing Assistant