What an immense project to be part of! The sheer scale of what for-Wards has been and become is phenomenal and it’s a huge privilege and honour to have made my personal mark on this amazing project. It’s been awesome working with my amazing community collaborators including the Deaf Cultural Centre, James Watt Primary School, Via Nova Choir and the South Aston URC! I came into the project thinking I knew a fair bit about Birminghams History, Culture and Community but I’ve learnt so much from all the individuals in the community groups, who really shaped the project for me and further shaped my perspective of my home city!
I’ve never been so conscious of Birminghams layout in terms of where communities are situated and of it geography and size. I often catch myself googling which district and ward I’m in and really coming to internalise a soundmap of my own including all my rehearsal spaces, performance venues and friends in the industry. It was a huge undertaking to compose for the Ladywood District, working and collaborating with my community groups then creating, arranging and showcasing ‘Moving Ladywood’ and to think that that a tenth of the creative output of the project is unbelievable and really brings into perspective the scale of the project, that’s setting aside all the amazing benefits that the project has had for its participants, collaborators and viewers all of whom are part of one huge family Brummies and honorary Brummies!
Being the youngest composer out of the ten of us, it’s been quite a daunting prospect at times especially when you look at the calibre of people working on this project. I personally have learnt so much through the project through means of trial, error and improvement in a vast range of areas. Possibly most importantly, I learnt just how much I love creating, writing and playing music. That first day we had the band together in the studio rehearsing I couldn’t stop smiling! All the hard work over the months immediately fuelled and propelled the music to real heights, with the help of my fellow musicians. It was amazing to hear all the voices of the many individuals I’d spent a lot of time with in the collaboration session through the music and their spirit joined us for the amazing performance at South Aston URC.
I can’t put into words how grateful, humbled and honour I feel to have been part of the project and I can’t thank enough all the individuals, groups and supporters that helped to make this amazing idea a reality. Birmingham is going through a turbulent time at the moment with lots of developments and changes. I know the Birmingham we will be seeing in five, ten, twenty years will have moved on from the Birmingham that I grew up in and I can’t thank Bobbie enough for firstly, through the beautiful medium of music, documenting this historic time in Birminghams rich history and secondly for giving me the platform to be one of the people helping to document this. for-Wards and ‘Moving Ladywood’ will always have a place in my heart!