PUPILS at Redditch RSA Academies have a bad case of the Blues – after appearing live on stage in front of more than a 1,000 fans at the Upton Blues Festival last weekend.
And the youngsters, 15 from Arrow Vale Academy and 12 from Ipsley Middle School Academy, went down a storm in front of an appreciative audience.
“Everyone really got it, that here were students up on stage with big speakers and sound engineers, a big audience and you could literally see those youngsters grow and when they got a response from the fans they were thinking ‘wow – this is fantastic’ “ said festival organiser Oliver Carpenter.
In fact students from all six RSA Academies, from as far afield as Coventry, Birmingham, Upton and of course Redditch all took part on the opening night of the festival last Friday evening, the first acts on the main Riverside stage.
The involvement of the schools started last year through festival compere Stephen Steinhaus, vide principal at Whitley Academy in Coventry who set up a series of workshops across all the RSA academies.
“Blues is the bedrock of what popular band and instrumental music is today, it’s in the DNA of everyone who listens to music or plays it,” said Mr Steinhaus, who’s originally from Chicago and is a Blues singer.
“I know getting up on that stage would have scared the bejasus out of me at their age but they were far from flustered, unlike most of the adults.”
And he added that ‘doing something creative’ was like a shot in the arm for the teachers as well as the students.
“Schools and teachers are so under the gun at the moment that they find the idea of getting involved really refreshing.”