At 10:15 Andrew, Shehnaaz and I stood awaiting a taxi, huddled against the rain, talking excitedly about the day to come, in high spirits despite the discouraging weather. As we arrived at Leeds Federated Housing we received an enthusiastic welcome at reception, with much attempted nosing in our bags to see what goodies we had brought along. Arthington Hall was our venue for the day and I was personally delighted to spot plates piled with pastries and jugs of juice waiting for us in the corner.
We kicked off with “Indigo” a poignantly beautiful creation written by and performed by all musical arc members. This was the first time I had heard this piece in its entirety and was blown away by the beauty of the interlinking melodies and the confidence shown by our performers.
We moved onto an excerpt of “The Mango Tree” and I was utterly captivated by the enthralling story told by Anita. Anita’s lyrical intonation brought to the story to life complemented by Dil’s fluid, interpretive movements.
During a celebratory moment of the piece we invited workshop participants to join us to learn a jig. Several audience members hesitantly got up, accompanied by much nervous giggling, but relaxed as the steps became familiar. After much bumping into each other and tripping over we eventually found our feet and I saw my wide grin mirrored on the faces across from me. The fiddle and drums joined in and the dance drove onwards, full of joy and exuberance.
The last section was, for me, the highlight of the day. Musical ARC Members and audience alike sat in a circle and formed an impromptu musical jam. Each person created their own melody which interweaved and developed. This was an excellent example of the inclusiveness of Musical ARC as all participants felt comfortable enough to put forth their own ideas and melodies. This was an uplifting and inspiring start to musical arc’s autumn workshops.