For 2022 the CultureMix Arts & Music Centre established a programme of activity hosting RASPO’s 25th anniversary celebration, and the popular monthly Reggae Friday Open Mic events.
The year launched with Reading Reggae Collective Monday community sessions led by Don Chandler for aspiring reggae musicians and singers to improve their craft at weekly rehearsal workshops that ran until September.
Reggae singer songwriter Jnr Watson performed a semi-acoustic set of Bob Marley songs for The One Love Experience – a ten week exhibition at London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery.
Communications coordinator Alex Hinds and admin assistant Rosie Rostron temporarily joined the office team to manage the increasing workload and the summer programme. A pavement and premises licence is granted to the new Centre with the first public licensed bar event launched in May.
Reggae Fridays Open Mic nights features a range of talent alongside established artists backed by a live reggae band.
Broad Street Mall offers the Poundland windows for a CultureMix Arts display installed in September which showcases RASPO, Carnival of the World, and the Reading Reggae Collective.
Two new tutors Oli and Ruel start as trainees following Lea’s resignation to work full time as a teacher. The Summer Carnival Club welcomes five children to the week long event.
Carnival of the World returns to Reading city centre and features four metre tall Sea Giant Puppet Eko along with a live music stage and the Broad Street Parade.
Mary contributes to ABRSM Teacher Development programme with a short film on how music inspired a teaching career. She also guests on BBC Radio 4 PM programme and a speaks at the virtual Women in Carnival Global Conference. She attends the BBC Berkshire Make a Difference award ceremony at the Concert Hall and receives a Windrush Alliance Community Award at the Thanks and Praise Service at Tynedale Church in Reading.
Mary Genis receives a Windrush Alliance Community Award for her significant contribution to the Windrush generations.
Following an invitation from BBC Children’s Steel Band RASPO Juniors – made up of the most gifted and talented 8-15 year old players from local school steel bands – is set up to perform for long running children’s show Blue Peter on CBBC. Resident arranger and tuner Paul Watson explains to presenter Richie how pans are made. More
RASPO celebrates 25 years since setting up at Central Club in 1997 with a performance, talks and stories from veteran RASPO players at a well attended event at the Centre. More
Finn (14) volunteers with CultureMix Arts as an event assistant as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award.
Arts Council England offers CultureMix Arts three further years of investment as a National Portfolio Organisation. Readipop and the Museum Partnership Reading also continue with local creative arts champion Jelly joining for the first time.
Special thanks goes to the CultureMix Arts Board members Ailsa Harris (chair), Matthew Phillip (vice chair), Steve Connolly, Michelle Genis and Louie Genis; to Michele Gibson and Andy for the helpful donation; and to colleagues, participants, audiences and all those who support our vision to positively promote Black music, art and culture from the CultureMix Arts & Music Centre in Reading.