Teachers Rock started just over five years ago and I only went along to the first rehearsal due to an evening meeting being cancelled. I had already emailed about the excellent choice of songs they were going to do and I found myself being ‘encouraged’ to do a solo in Reef’s ‘Place Your Hands’ as a result!
Devon’s Music Advisor, Debbie Kent, is the driving force behind Teachers Rock and she soon expanded the North Devon choir to cover the whole of Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Somerset and is also now starting to branch out into Bristol and even Leeds!
The aim of Teachers Rock is to inspire and empower school staff in their singing experiences and to provide children with opportunities to interact, sing and share with their school staff. About four years after its inception, Teachers Rock Youth Choir was set up so that instead of bringing the songs back to the children, we started to bring children in to the choir!
We had a brilliant gospel workshop with London Community Gospel Choir‘s Founder Rev. Bazil Meade (MBE), and he showed an immediate interest in our work; soon supporting us further by becoming our patron – a first for him! Coincidentally for our school, Bazil used to do some of their LCGC recordings in the Recording Studio where our Rev. Mike Newbon was the manager! …and so it came to be that we soon recorded the TRY album, ‘This Is What We Started,’ last summer!
Fast forward to Monday evening – Teachers Rock Youth putting on a show to a sell-out 750 seats in Exeter Cathedral. Bazil and John on ‘the keys,’ and a couple of North Devon soloists too – including my son! (excuse me for my proud Dad moment!) After several weeks of practices at Kingsacre School, ten of our Juniors spent a very long day in Exeter, rehearsing and singing with Bazil and Debbie, culminating in a stunning performance and raising money for a charity very close to our heart, Teenage Cancer Trust.
That day, our school values of being Kind, Confident, Curious, Community, Adventurous and Ambitious were very real and were absolutely experienced by our children. They loved it: “Best day ever!” etc.
It’s odd, that I still find people embarrassed by singing – even by ME singing – like it’s an unnatural thing to do, to be so exposed and open! True, I’m nervous of singing in front of people, but the sound created in a choir where every individual plays their part in a beautiful harmonious team is amazing. I find our team to be one of fun… and of learning… where we are all equal, no matter of our ‘position’ in school. We Rock… and we bring the children in our schools along for the ride!
I just hope a little, that the grown-up ’embarrassment’ of singing doesn’t grow from within, or rub off on our children, and that they continue to believe they can do what they set their mind on. No limits… ‘cos you Rock.
Photos: Tom Hurley