“Let’s go back to our feet. Now hand clapping. Have we worked hard enough yet?”
“Today what we thought we’d do is play lots of music.” This was award-winning composer Stephen Deazley’s opening gambit aimed at our group of young musicians at their first workshop and signalling the start of our exciting new music initiative PUNKIT!.
The group of youngsters, aged between 11 and 14, turned up rather quietly (bar the odd reassuringly confident cheeky chappy), and seemed a little too self aware in the opening minutes of the rehearsal, a few nervous glances and giggles were exchanged amongst them as they gauged the mood of the room and checked each other out. But this was pretty swiftly replaced with some enthusiastic noise and red-cheeked enthusiasm as Stephen and internationally renowned percussionist Joby Burgess got them right into the thick of a rousing percussive performance.
We had feet stamping, hand clapping, body slapping, claves were struck together, cowbells ringing, frame drums walloped and an impressive battering of a plastic box, which unfortunately – or rather fortunately, it’s all about the Punk Attitude here – didn’t survive the session.
As the two and a half hour rehearsal went on, it became abundantly clear that we were watching something in equal parts exciting and impressive. If their first shot at it is anything to go by, we’re looking at a spectacular performance come July. We made up a small audience, but we were a captivated audience and found it impossible to keep still.
Despite their youth and inexperience, this is going to be less an end of term concert, and more an experimental rock show, with all the energy and raw talent that goes with it.