CultureMix's annual review summarises all the exciting developments in 2010 for the company, the team and RASPO Steel Orchestra.
Professional Development - New CultureMix Projects for 2010
In 2010 The CultureMix Music Centre focussed on quality, excellence, professionalism and style nurturing young musicians and artists in preparation for performances at venues and events in the UK and abroad.
The Notting Hill Carnival project launched in May creating a summer programme for pan players from the region to join RASPO for the National Steelband Championships (Panorama). RASPO took thirty-five players to the competition on Carnival Saturday and performed to many thousands in the procession on Carnival Sunday.
Project outline. Read review.
May - Luton Carnival
RASPO Mas was set up in partnership with Reading Borough Council providing workshops in carnival head dress making, flags, banners and costumes to Reading's community.
See press cuttings.
RASPO musicians Kisha, Aynsley and Darryl launched a new band Exception performed live for the first time at CultureMix's Black History Month event 'Pan on Fire' at The Hexagon theatre.
In October reggae producer and musician Don Chandler set up a new Reggae School for young talent aged 12-18yrs, preparing the next generation of live reggae musicians for performance and recording.
Find out more
Education and Workshops
Several more schools signed up to CultureMix's music education service bringing the total to twenty-five schools attending weekly workshops. Tutors deliver Wider Opportunities, Gifted and Talented groups, curriculum based music classes and after school clubs in Slough, Newbury, Theale, Basingstoke, Farnborough, Lambourne and Reading.
Find out more
2010 in pictures
CultureMix tutors delivered forty-three days of one off carnival music and art workshops ('Specials') at thirty-five venues and schools. Seven tutors provided steel pan music, carnival costume, dance, drama and art at special schools, for carnival projects, birthday parties, team building events and conferences in Chichester, Southall, Dublin, the Isle of Wight and other places across the UK.
RASPO Steel Orchestra
Zash stepped down as RASPO's captain with Kisha taking his place. After ten years with RASPO Victoria left to study at Stirling University in Scotland. Annie from Croydon Steel Orchestra joins RASPO whilst studying at Reading University.
RASPO's function ensemble performed at twenty-two private events. The orchestra performed at fifteen events including Reading Half Marathon, Luton Carnival, Woodley Carnival the DLR Festival of World Cultures in Dublin, the Royal Berkshire Agricultural Show, Notting Hill Carnival and The Hexagon. More
During the festive season RASPO players busked for over twelve hours in Reading Town Centre successfully raising funds for summer projects by collecting donations and selling 'RASPO Live!' CD's.
July - At the DLR Festival of World Cultures In Dublin the orchestra joined with Samba group La Banda Del Surdo creating a vibrant atmosphere for the carnival procession finale in The People's Park.
RASPO received the Randolph Baptiste Inspiration Award presented at the BAS Awards Dinner Dance by Stardust's Tara Baptiste. More...
CultureMix director Mary Genis attended the Liverpool Biennial as part of the Arts Council England's Outdoor Leadership Programme bringing producers together to explore new ways of working together in
CultureMix Music Centre
CultureMix and RASPO moved out of the Abbey Gateway due to it becoming unsafe relocating to nearby Watlington House following an appeal on BBC Berkshire. RASPO uses Watlington Hall for rehearsals and workshops with an office set up in Watlington House.
Forty-five steel pan music workshops for beginners took place at Watlington Hall. Participants are aged from six up to adults, with an average of twelve to fifteen people of all ages attending.
RASPO Steel Orchestra rehearsed twice per week for forty-five weeks of the year with fifteen rehearsals in three weeks at the Hexagon Theatre to prepare for Panorama and London Notting Hill Carnival.
August - RASPO Steel Orchestra took part in the UK National Steelband Championship
CultureMix Pans UK
CultureMix continues to be one of the UK's leading suppliers of authentic steel pan instruments from Trinidad. The company provides sets of instruments, stands, cases, sticks, tuning and maintenance services highly recommended by satisfied customers including local authorities, schools, music services and carnival centres.
Demand has grown for good quality steel pan instruments supported by a professional service. CultureMix now offers its own brand of steel pan stands and pan sticks along with cases, advice, after sales support and mobile storage solutions.
Buy pans. Tuning and maintenance. Set up a Steel Band.
Steel pan music tutors Paul Watson and Dani Richardson joined CultureMix in 2006. Dani's work concentrates on developing the orchestra repertoire and leading the beginners workshops with senior ensemble members and interns assisting.
Paul delivers school music lessons in steel pan and djembe in West Berkshire, Hampshire, Reading and Slough. He continues developing his skills as a pan maker and tuner.
Jamah Lynam attended two weeks of work experience with CultureMix from Henley College. He assisted with school workshops, learned about the company structure and helped with events. Jamah then joined the trainee tutor team, and with Kisha Lowe, Zash Brazell and Emma Macedo delivered a series of music, costume and dance workshops throughout the summer. Nathifa Jordan of Surrey University returned to CultureMix during the summer to assist the director with bookings and organising the Notting Hill Carnival project.
December - Busking Calypso and Carols in Reading Town Centre
Artistic Director Mary Genis continues her role as panel guest for BBC Berkshire's Anne Diamond show with fourteen appearances over the year Mary is able to promote CultureMix and RASPO to a wider audience. Mary also appeared on ITV Thames Valley Tonight's Black History Month news feature with Fred Dinenage and Sangeeta Bhabra.
New band Exception's first performance wth RASPO at the Hexagon
"Reggae School will nurture young talent creating a new generation of professional live reggae musicians for the UK"
Reggae musician and producer
RASPO took part in the National Steelband Championships (Panorama).
The thirty-five piece orchestra played Bubbles' arrangement of 'Pan on Fire' by Winston Scarborough.
Tenor player Emma designed the banners and logo for the t-shirts (above).
RASPO received the Randolph Baptiste Award from the British Association of Steelband (BAS) in recognition of their attendance at Panorama 2010
With a focus on quality, excellence and professionalism CultureMix hosts showcase events to launch and raise awareness of new artists.
The events take place in August for the London Notting Hill Carnival and during October for Black History Month.
The showcase season kicks off in the spring allowing artists to introduce their talents to a wider audience.