So, this week is Independent Venue Week. A week long celebration of the smaller, independent music venues that are so integral to keeping the music scene alive across the country. These places give new bands the chance to hone their skills and give us music fans a place to go that we can call our own. The people that own, run and work in these venues work tirelessly to keep these wonderful places afloat.
It would seem appropriate that I would go to one of these small venues this week. There are several in the vicinity of Southampton and there were several special events on the calendar. However, my calendar was also busy and so it turned out that I couldn’t make it to one of these venues this week.
I was sad not to be a part of such an important celebration and show of solidarity, but in a way, I went to an independent venue that’s doing its best to nurture the musicians of tomorrow in its actions every day: Cantell School.
The students and staff had been working hard for five months and this was show week. We were finally going to see the finished production of ‘Bugsy Malone’. I might be slightly biased as Cantell is my school and I will always be Cantell and proud – as the hash-tag goes – but it was a fantastic show brought to life by some very talented students.
You can see some of the photos from the show here: http://www.cantell.co.uk/bugsy-malone-2016/21847.html
All of the cast sang and put their best effort in. One student in particular sung like a West End star, with no microphone, words filled with emotion and brought the school hall to a standstill. It was magical.
I was also proud to see six students from the whole range of year groups providing the musical accompaniment. There were strings, woodwind, brass and drums. These guys worked so hard and had such a good time; it’s these early experiences of musical success that will drive them to continue, and who knows what they’ll achieve in the future. I asked one of my tutees how the show went on Wednesday, the second night, and she replied, “Good, and better than yesterday.”
We talk a lot about growth mindset, and what we can achieve with effort, and I was so proud to hear her say that. Her confidence was growing with every performance.
One of my favourite moments was at the start of the second half. The orchestra was starting up, but the young lad who played the drums wasn’t at his stool. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him hare it through the crowds, plonk himself on the seat and within about five seconds, begin the beat needed for the song. He looked a little flustered and his tie was askew, but he made it just in the nick of time and did it with that offhand yet poised aplomb that I see every week at The Joiners. These students are the future rock stars.
I don’t need a specific week to spur me on to visit an independent music venue. I go regularly to support my local (and not so local) independent music venues. But this week I had to forgo taking part in IVW to see some very special stars. I can’t remember the last time my chest swelled with pride when I went to see an Indie band or a blues singer. But that’s exactly what happened this week as I sat in my school hall surrounded by students who worked so earnestly and wholeheartedly to put on a great show.
I also can’t remember the last time I got splurged by a custard-pie gun at a gig. Maybe that’s what’s missing from live music venues. A bit of silly-string enhances any experience surely?