Last Tuesday, children, parents and teachers from Osmani Primary School performed songs and poems to explore the world of heroes through singing, story-telling and musical play. The performance was the culmination of a five-week project lead by workshop leader Penny Desbruslais, Abimaro Gunnell, current Trainee Music Leader Ruth Rosales, and other musicians from Spitalfields Music. Here are some of the texts, drawing and creative ideas they came up with – enjoy!
Crimson Class and Fuchsia Class wrote a song about the role of superheroes in school and what it’s like to be one:
If someone took my toy, I’d feel sad and angry.
If someone left me out, I would feel alone.
It’s not gentle to take something.
If someone was rude to me, I would be upset.
His mouth says nice words to people who need help.
His hands bring medicine to make you feel better.
You can’t be a hero with cold feet.
His shoes go super-fast all around the school.
Parents looked at specific ideas such as ‘What does a hero look like?’ and ‘Who are the unsung heroes of Whitechapel?’ to stimulate creative ideas for poems and song lyrics.
You are my Superhero
Don’t hate those who give you trouble
They made you who you are
One person is not enough
Always there when I need you
Every time, right on time
Gives me hope when I despair
You are my superhero,
Super hero, super hero
Also working with the parents at Osmani, we asked them to draw around their hands and write down qualities they would like to ‘hand-down’ to their children.
And the reception classes imagined what a superhero may look like in this colourful selection of drawings.
The parents chose heroes from their local community – including nurses, community leaders, and cleaners – and wrote a series of letters expressing their gratitude.
Dear Playworkers and nurses of the Royal London Hospital,
Thank you for your work – you are always caring, always giving love, care, and nurturing your patients. You are constant. No one could do it like you can. A thank you and a big smile is the least we can give you. Even after a twenty-four hour shift, you are always ready with a smile. Our children get better quicker because you are there. You don’t just give treatment but you make sure that you are always giving.
From Citizens of Whitechapel
Dear Cleaners of Whitechapel,
It is your turn to be appreciated. You are there every day. Thank you for your time and effort. You are doing our job, we need to help you as much as we can. We feel so appreciated that you are cleaning for us. I would be happy to clean your house, you should get the full respect for what you do. You are not invisible, we want to thank you. You should earn more, we do not look down on you. You make such a difference in our community. You work for the money that you earn, you do a rightful job. We are the ones who make it dirty, you are generous to clean up for us. We will think as we use things. You have patience, courage and humility. We don’t judge you, we have a lot of respect for you cleaning our streets.
Citizens of Whitechapel
Dear Imam Abdul Qayum
Sala’am Abdul Quaum, peace be with you. You are a very generous person, always helping people from different backgrounds with spiritual guidance. An easy way to live Islam in peace and comfort. You help us to respect our parents, you guide us on the right path. You provide information and guidance according to Islam to anyone who needs it. Advising parents how to discipline your children how to respect, you are wise in this way. You invite people from other backgrounds and ethnicities, everybody is welcome. You guide us how to respect other backgrounds and religions. Every week there is someone converting to Islam because they appreciate your wisdom.
From Citizens of Whitechapel
After the performance, we caught up with workshop leader Penny Desbruslais as she told us about her experience of the project:
Working with Crimson and Fuchsia class at Osmani School and their lovely teachers was a super experience! With the theme of superheroes, we explored several elements of music, from playing in groups (the djembes as evil villains was particularly effective) to using vocal percussion rhythms based around cartoon superhero sounds from comics, like ‘boom’ and ‘kapow’! I was so proud of the children’s achievement at 4 and 5 years old of writing a beautiful and mature song about how they could be heroes in their school by treating each other well. They sang with such heart that they were only matched by their parents, who under the guidance of Abimaro Gunnell had written some inspirational lyrics about their personal superheroes and the qualities they have. I will really miss the group and hope that they got as much from the project as we did!