I have trumpeted the talents of the young people of this area many times before and make no apology for doing so again. I continue to be convinced that if opportunities are offered then our children will seize them and blossom.
The half term youth production at Wycombe Swan was no exception. Sondheim’s ‘Into The Woods’ is (pun intended) no walk in the park, even for professional companies. A complex piece, both musically and dramatically, and yet once again the team at the Swan managed to help and inspire the large cast to produce an evening of magic in the old Town Hall last week, as anyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket for the sell-out production would surely confirm.
I was also part of the audience for the Duke of Kent’s visit to Wycombe High School on Wednesday to open their new Music Centre, before negotiating the Handy Cross roundabout (good luck there) to perform the same service for the new Sports Centre. The young singers who have just returned from their successful trip to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall treated us to a sublime twenty minutes of choral music which can only have helped to ease the Duke’s progress through yet another series of palm pressing with local dignitaries and plaque unveiling. It’s Wednesday, so it must be High Wycombe. But the music, I would venture to suggest, he will remember.
Last weekend I went a little further afield to hear the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra giving a Big Band Concert in Corpus Christi College. The majority of the musicians were between eighteen and twenty-one and channelled Count Basie, Thelonius Monk and Cab Calloway to the manner born and with great élan. I should stop being surprised, I suppose, when on a cold winter night I trudge reluctantly out into the cold, dark streets only to discover much, much more than I could have hoped for. No surprise, of course, that the MD/drummer was from Stokenchurch and the vocalist from Marlow. There must be something in the water.
I fervently hope that as the budgets for our schools get squeezed ever tighter the arts continue to be given a fair chance. In a hundred years from now, it will be the music, the art, drama and literature that we have created that will be remembered and celebrated, not all the other stuff.