Music Man Performs at the Big Day Out

Southend Mencap General Manager, Marc, McOwens writes on the Music Man Project’s participation in Royal Mencap’s recent Big Day Out.


Big Day Out 4

Students enjoy visiting the home of the famous Grand National.

On Saturday 17th October 2015 Royal Mencap held their ‘Big Day Out’, which was a new initiative to try and bring together as many local Mencap groups as possible to showcase what is going on across the country for our learning disabled friends.  Held at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, workshops were provided allowing attendees to receive closer information and guidance about some of the country’s top projects and one such project included in the day was our very own Music Man.  David, Jenny, Natalie, Tammy and Sue along with 9 Music Man students not only delivered two hour long workshops but the students were also given the honour of closing the event.

“Wow what an amazing experience we all had at Royal Mencap’s conference at Aintree, Liverpool!!!” David commented afterwards.  “I cannot express how proud I am of all the students who performed today and who represented The Music Man Project so brilliantly. Our workshops were so popular they were ‘standing room only!’ The final performance brought the house down. A massive thank you to the musicians, parents, staff and volunteers.”

Along with the Music Man group, parents of the students taking part also went along with the party and I now hand over to Sue Alderton to provide her take on the day:  “Where do I begin! What a fantastic time was had by one and all.
Student Ambassadors were so well behaved, polite and helpful.  A credit to us all. I really enjoyed meeting other parents and forming new friendships.  And you David, what a turn out! I still cannot believe how you have the ability to make music ‘on the spot’. The workshops you did where extremely popular and to get that many people, to perform ‘blind’ was unbelievable. I was washed up with it all, helping others and was looking round and all I saw was ‘beaming’ faces.  Music is an incredibly powerful tool which links people from all backgrounds and abilities.  The smiles I saw and the enjoyment on people’s faces will stay with me.  You are ‘one in a million’ and I really hope your drive and ambition will rub off on others and will enable people all over the country to do the good you do in our area.  We have been spoilt with your talents but if you have encouraged anyone to do what you do any place, anywhere, they will have a great time.  Thank you again for your continued dedication.  Will look forward to the next date on our UK Tour!”

Big Day Out 2

Music Man students close The Big Day Out, performing highlights from their West End performance.

Sue’s daughter Claire added: “Thank you for taking me to Liverpool.  I had a great time.  I loved spending time with the other Students who are my friends.  I enjoyed singing my solo and also helping other people with special needs playing the triangle.  The lady I gave my triangle to kept smiling at me so I knew she was having fun. I helped her ding at the right time.”

Liz Haverda of Royal Mencap was thrilled with our contribution: “I just wanted to drop you a line to say a huge thanks for coming along to our Big Day Out at Aintree. Every time I popped into your sessions all I saw were smiling faces.  What you do is absolutely fabulous and I feel privileged to have seen you in action first hand. Your students were fantastic and I’m totally impressed by each and every one of them. Your end of day performance is one of my own highlights and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Looking at the initial feedback everyone loved your sessions. I hope you enjoyed the day and got back to Southend ok.  Please do stay in touch and I hope we can work together again soon”

I want to add in my own thank you to David, his team and the students and their parents for the brilliant work at Aintree especially considering the travel they all had to endure just to get to the event.  In addition, my immense thanks to Jan Tregelles, CEO of Royal Mencap, for inviting Music Man to be at the event but also for covering the complete cost of the group’s travel and accommodation.

I am excited at the possible new Music Man groups that could now materialise following this very successful event.