This week, Musical Arc stepped away from the excitement and spontaneity of The Mango Tree for one minute and went back to the roots of these last few years in two special deliveries of Equal Sound. On Monday we gathered under the astonishing sunlight at Stanningley Primary School, a place with familiar grounds and familiar faces. We were returning to meet a new generation of year three pupils here. To play music to them, to send messages that everybody could understand, until we were all just jamming away without a care in the world about what we looked like or how we talked.
“I learned that even if you have a disability, you can do good things”, stated one year three pupil in the sharing assembly that day. This was heard moments before a girl (without being told to by her teacher) came and shook hands with us all, in sheer appreciation and respect for what we had exposed her developing young mind to in the day’s events. We can’t wait to go back in future and see Jackie (the head teacher) for more Equal Sounds amongst year groups to come.
After just one sleep, Musical Arc hit the road again. Once more we were at the start of what would be a fulfilling and moving experience at St Philips Primary. Regardless of how many moments pass in my life, I may never clear my memory of such a wonderful sight and sound from one of the music sessions we had in this school. Despite being year 6 (and perhaps more conscious about being cool and trendy?), a group of boys completely lost themselves in the groove at one point. As they sung ‘Mango’ (taught by Musical Arc during the day), they did it with pride, laughter and rhythm. Either the vitamin D from the sun has had a short-term positive effect on the world, or we’d simply been lucky to meet fantastic school communities in one week.
“The kids are loving it; they were stood in a long line in the playground at break time singing the ‘Mango’ song that Musical Arc taught them this morning!” – Miss Taylor, Year 6 teacher.
After coming out of two workshops on a high, it was time to get back into the work mode surrounding other mango-related issues. Wednesday saw Lorraine and Mel attend a rehearsal at the Cardigan Centre, with all of our June show’s collaborating dancers and artists. Words were exchanged, handfuls of seeds were nibbled on anxiously, and the music was stopped and started over and over in pursuit of absolute perfection. Hours passed before we had overcome this process, and we knew that at the origin of our mutual exhaustion was a feeling of exhilaration. The prototype of this performance was suddenly becoming real, and frankly, was becoming something really worth a reserve in your calendar.
by Melissa Thompson