Welcome to the final CYM newsletter of 2021. It has certainly been a year in which we have had to adapt to a changing situation that none of us would have foreseen as we approached Christmas 2019. After the challenges of online learning, and then perhaps even greater ones of blended learning, it was great to return to pretty much normal Saturday Centre activity for this Autumn term just ended. And what a tremendous ending it was! I would have liked to have been able to split myself into halves, at least, in order to attend everything that went on during the final day.
Despite being present every Saturday, and being aware of the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone, I am still taken aback at times by the quality of the work we hear at the informal performances at the end of each term. It was particularly rewarding to hear what everyone had achieved after such a long period of not being able to play together on a regular basis. My thanks to all concerned in the process – students, staff (teaching and non-teaching), Morley colleagues and, last but not least, parents and carers.
It has been good to have welcomed visitors back on Saturdays – starting off with Richard Sisson on Induction and Activities Day. Horn player Ben Goldscheider gave a short recital followed by a masterclass on our first teaching week. Ben is an ECHO Rising Star and we will have other artists from the scheme during the rest of the year. On the same day we were privileged to be joined by composer and conductor Sir George Benjamin, who spent almost two hours talking to our CYM composition students before speaking to wider audience at lunchtime. I am grateful to Chrissy Kinsella, CEO of the London Fund for Music, and former member of the CYM admin team, for connecting us up with Sir George, who generously gave his time and considerable wisdom for free. Later in the term Archie Churchill-Moss joined us for some fantastic folk music workshops, supported by the Brooke Trust. The Percussion Department also benefitted from a quartet of percussionists from the Guildhall School who worked with our students, and performed to them too. There will be more Guildhall School student visits later in the year too.
As I write today a number of students are taking in-person ABRSM grade exams at Morley, and I am thinking positive thoughts for them all! After that we will be returning to working from home during the week so please use email as your primary means of communication. We all very much hope that any further government reaction to the Omicron variant situation won’t prevent us continuing with a full in-person programme in January – so I will wish you an enjoyable Christmas and New Year period, and let us all keep safe and keep fingers crossed.
Head of CYM (London)