Wow! Week 1 of the Musical Futures' teacher portrait assignment went very smoothly indeed. The warm reception and hands-on approach from all the teachers so far has been supa-damn-dupa.
I refuse to start Week 2 without some big shout-outs to the first 7 teachers. In chronological order of visit:
1) Ian Dickinson / @Ianfatbudgie at Holly Lodge Science College in Smethwick, West Midlands. With the snarl of John Lydon and awesome purple hair to match, Ian's 'Pan Alley' and passion for Ska is something to behold.
2) Sharon Jagdev Powell / @SJagdevPowell at Nottingham Girls Academy. You want to know about how to play a Taiko Drum, then look no further than Sharon's secret weapons in the music classroom. An original Musical Futures pathfinder too!
3) Emily Segal at Harrogate Grammar School. A ballsy set-up involving the world's tallest decorating ladders, 4 pupils mad bent on stage lighting and Emily's patience of a saint. With piano in position, Emily's previous career came to light.
4) Ally Brown / @allybrown1 and Ursula Massingham / aka Sister Act at Sunnydale School. What an infectiously happy pair! Think a modern take on a 'O Brother Where Art Though' recording session with a heap of serious audio tech and Wednesday afternoon's resulting portrait session proved very fruitful. Queens of banter.
5) Jenny Black / @yojpro at Boclair Academy. Seriously, how many pupils in the UK can boost that their Head of Music moonlighting as a club DJ and producer? not many I bet. A cool, glamorous customer.
6) Mairéad Duffy / @mduffymus at St Patrick's Academy. Ulster's most passionate singing teacher, this is a FACT. A heavenly time had with Mairéad, kicking off a brilliant day near the shore of Lough Neagh. A Spinal Tap fan.
7) Plunkett McGartland / @pm_gartland at Holy Trinity College. Come on, Plunkett's first name alone qualifies a place in this portrait series. Along with his Head of Music, Roisin McCurry / @roisinrenshaw (my adhoc assistant for the afternoon) my whistle stop visit to Cookstown was filled with laughter. This lethal duo would laugh if there arse's were on fire!
Week 1 logistics: 659 miles driven along the yellow line above, with a average of 49.8 MPG and 48.5 MPH and 218 miles in the air. Fayre & Square pub meals (found next to any Premier Inn) are not nice in any way.