Cherry Trees School and Spitalfields Music have been working in partnership for over 10 years, of which for the last four I have been lucky enough to be part of the team of workshop leaders and apprentices delivering the project. My colleague Zoe Palmer commented to me that “…Cherry Trees reminded me why I love this work and want to keep doing it”, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the pupils and all the staff at the school and Spitalfields Music’s annual two-week music project.
This year we took Folk music and telling ‘tall’ tales as our theme. With a team of Zoe, myself, and our two brilliant apprentice artists Ed and Amelia, we let the boys take us on a musical journey covering many different styles – from the Mingulay Boat Song to Process Man (that tells the story of the dangers faced by chemical miners) to newly penned songs about school days away to Southend, Killer Fish Chillers and tiny magic trolls living in the school playground. We had a simply great time with a fantastic final concert that really captured the best of the work done over the previous two weeks.
Cherry Trees is a wonderful warm community, full of fun and creativity. Music feels increasingly part of that community, as it should be in all schools. It is rare that I ever feel invincible but as we sang the boys’ own composition with the chorus “You’re invincible…when you’re standing under Cherry Trees”, I for one felt just that – at least for a brief moment!
Cherry Trees Forest (written by the boys from Cherry Trees)
The trees are nearly as tall as the sky
Their roots go into chocolate ground
It smells of wild animals
And sweet vanilla leaves.
And we shine like the stars in the midnight sky
We breathe fire like a dragon, flying high
We are invincible
When we’re standing under Cherry Trees
There’s a tiny magic troll
With wings as big as the forest
The tigers are vicious and hungry
And the fire’s burning bright
Have a listen to a playlist of interview clips taken with the participants of this fantastic project: