I hope you and your families are all safe and well as we move back into unsettling times. At a recent meeting of the IOW Music Hub Sounding Board, the long and short term future of Music Centre was discussed.
Kath Page (IOW Music Hub Manager) and myself, want to share with you the thoughts that came out of that meeting.
Sadly, we are at present unable to reopen the Music Centre on a Saturday morning. This isn’t an unusual situation and is in line with many other musical groups for young people on the island, including those in schools. This is due to several number of factors, not least the national lockdown that is now preventing any face to face work. These are as follows:
1. Cowes Enterprise College remains closed to external bookings. Whilst we can look at alternative venues, they are not available to us at the moment.
2. We only have 37 students signed up to Music Centre, with only one ensemble with sufficient numbers to be viable.
A suggestion was made to put Music Centre on hold until September 2021. In light of the current lockdown situation, and numbers this seems to be a very sensible course of action. That said, we do want to continue to offer activities to music centre members should they wish to do them. We have organised two online creative workshop sessions with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra associates Matt Harrison and Patrick Bailey for 21 and 28 November. There will be an hour’s workshop session on both days 10.00 – 11.00, students will then be asked to record and submit their creative responses on the day from 11.00 – 11.30. Matt and Patrick will edit all the videos to combine them in a final performance which will be shared with music centre staff and those that took part. Please look out for the email giving further details of this event. We will continue to invite IOW musicians to Southampton online rehearsals. During the year we will look to boost numbers. When numbers allow and if we remain unable to book Cowes Enterprise College, we will look for a temporary alternative venue.
(You may be aware some Southampton ensembles were looking to move to face to face rehearsals in the next couple of weeks. Where this was going to happen, we were going to live stream the rehearsals for the benefit of the IOW students. Now we are going into a second lockdown, face to face rehearsals can no longer happen and all sessions will revert back to being online.)
In order to grow again, Music Centre will need to look very different when it returns. We would like to use this interim period to consult with parents, carers and the young people of Music Centre about what they would like and what Music Centre should look like in the future. We have already received several very different suggestions, and we would like to collect as many views as possible. We will then collate these, and they will be presented to the Hub Board in February so that decisions can be made as to the way forward. For example, should the centre just be one location or many? Is Saturday morning the best time for the groups to take place? Should there be a SEND ensemble? Should there be a greater focus on parental involvement in projects? What genres of music should there be? What is right for the children on the island?
Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss any ideas and thoughts you may have for the future of Music Centre.
Zoe and Kath