2011 CultureMix Review

Mary Genis FRSA and Dame Kelly Holmes

For 2011 CultureMix continued to thrive with international collaborations,  support for the School for Steel Pan Music and resident steel band Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra.

CultureMix’s annual review is a summary of the year’s activities. Despite changes to the economic climate the schools education programme continues to grow with increasing demand for instruments and special event workshops.

However permanent storage space is needed for 2012 so that CultureMix can continue to deliver the outreach programme to schools across the UK.

CultureMix Music Centre
Our steel band continues to thrive thanks to rehearsal space at Watlington Hall and support from Jelly who provided space in the Art Pad for the RASPO Panorama Orchestra and use of shop window space for the TASPO to RASPO exhibition.

CultureMix tutors led free taster workshops as part of Reading Borough Council’s Children’s Festival. The workshops were well attended by twenty young people trying steel pans for the first time. Three signed up for RASPO beginners and continue to attend weekly workshops.

RASPO Steel Orchestra
For RASPO’s second outing at the 2011 National Panorama Steelband Championship CultureMix coordinated a three way collaboration with RASPO, Aberdeen’s Pandemic Steel Band and New York arranger Iman Pascall.

RASPO’s second National UK Panorama Steelband Championships

Iman arranged Destra’s ‘Calling Meh’ with support from her drill director Khuent Rose and drummer KJ Marcelle who helped RASPO to maintain their position in the top six UK steel bands. The forty-seven piece orchestra celebrated on both Sunday and Monday in the London Notting Hill Carnival procession.
About Iman Pascall

RASPO performed as guest artists at the Rock Academy’s Battle of the School Bands final at the Hexagon Theatre. Other performances included Reading Half Marathon, the Lashings World XI cricket event, the Carnival Network South East Cowley Road Carnival and a Royal Wedding street party in Fulham. Altogether RASPO’s orchestra and ensemble fulfilled thirty-three bookings.

Waitrose chose RASPO for its Community Matters support raising three hundred pounds in funds through shoppers donations. The orchestra braved the inclement winter weather conditions during the run up to Christmas to perform two very successful fund raising Calypso and Carols concerts in Broad Street, Reading.

RASPO play Quando Quando

Education and Workshops
CultureMix continues to be the leading cultural music education service in the area delivering weekly curriculum lessons for all key stages in steel pan music and djembe at schools in Basingstoke, Farnborough, Slough, Reading and across West Berkshire.

Two of the four county steel bands set up by CultureMix tutors perform at the Berkshire Maestros West Berkshire Junior Music Festival at the Anvil in Basingstoke.

Special event one off carnival projects took place in Ealing, Chobham, Worthing, Woodley, Reading and Newbury with seven tutors delivering workshops in steel pan music, dance, visual art and carnival costume making, culminating in whole school performances and carnival processions.

For the fourth consecutive year CultureMix provided music workshops for the Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) conference organised by Reading Borough Council.

Beginner workshops take place weekly along with RASPO rehearsals at Watlington Hall. New beginners and musicians are always welcome to join up.

Professional Development
Jamah Lynam of Henley College took up a second opportunity for work experience with CultureMix in early 2011.

Congratulations go to young RASPO musicians Henry Morley and Rosie Rostron who both won music scholarships at St Josephs and and St Gabriel’s respectively with the steel pan featured as one of their key musical skills.

Nathifa Jordan is taking a year out from her psychology course at Surrey University to undertake further work experience with CultureMix.

View RASPO’s year in pictures, music and video.

Awards and Memberships
CultureMix director Mary Genis becomes a member of Reading’s 2012 Partnership Board set up to inspire engagement in the 2012 Games activities in Reading.

Through the partnership Mary attends the DKH Legacy Trust Awards and meets Dame Kelly Holmes who talks about her charity work.

Mary receives a Refocus Award for Best Contribution to Music locally winning jointly with Don Chandler.

RASPO representatives Zash Brazell and Nathifa Jordan attend the British Association of Steelbands (BAS) 13th Annual Awards Dinner and Dance to celebrate Mangrove’s new status as Champions of Steel following their first Panorama win in six years

TASPO to RASPO Exhibition
To celebrate sixty years of steel pan in the UK since Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) performed for the first time at the 1951 Festival of Britain CultureMix curated an exhibition of paintings as part of Jelly’s Open for Art, a project offering artists space to show their work in empty shop windows.

Marian and Paul Walker at Notting Hill Carnival 2011RIP Marian (Maz) Walker
Our dear friend and RASPO supporter Marian Walker, passed away on 27 October 2011. Our thoughts are with her daughter Tanisha, her husband Paul and the family.

Since Tanisha joined RASPO in 2006, Marian and her family offered unwavering and much appreciated support.

Marian you are, and always will part of the RASPO family.