Michael Copley, a professional musician and Papworth Trust volunteer, writes about running music sessions at Papworth Trust:
My name is Michael Copley and I am a professional musician specialising in wind instruments, a career that takes me all over the world. Of much more interest to the readers of this blog is that I have been organising music sessions at Papworth Trust for nearly 15 years. We used to meet on Wednesdays in one of the rooms at Papworth Hall and systematically disrupted the work of the office which was based there, until, probably out of desperation, a new centre was built to move us out of earshot.
Anything up to 15 people turn up to the Wednesday afternoon sessions. Most have a connection with Papworth Trust, but increasingly others have started to attend and more would be welcome. We have a large collection of percussion instruments in various states of decrepitude, a splendid keyboard bought after a fundraising concert in memory of one of the group, and a wondrously enthusiastic and friendly group of people. We sing anything from jazz standards to Balkan folk songs (in Balkan!), play inventive versions of the classics (Handel's Fireworks, Carmina Burana and Warlock's Capriol Suite last time, for example) and improvise furiously. It's all great fun and cheers everyone up enormously.
This summer will be the eleventh year of the Papworth Summer School of Music and Drama and there will be two courses; one in Huntingdon at the end of July and the other in Cambridge at the end of August. (More details will be published soon.) These courses differ from the Wednesday sessions in that each one leads to a performance, often of a very high standard. Giving our disabled performers the chance to shine in front of their families and friends, frequently performing music that they have created themselves, can lead to immensely moving moments and forms the highlight of the year for many of them, and for me.
That's the end of my first blog. Next time I'll introduce the other musicians involved with the Summer Schools and write something about the Mostar Special School in Bosnia and - if all other inspiration fails - the Chuckerbutty Ocarina Quartet!
By Michael Copley