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05 octobre 2008

Festival promps new music academy

By Tina Robins, Thursday 2nd October 2008

A new Fame Academy has opened its doors in Malmesbury.

Triggered by a huge surge of interest in music and dance caused by the arrival of WOMAD last year, the Saturday morning sessions already have a waiting list of youngsters keen to make it in the music industry. Choirs, a dance group, a samba band and tuition in everything from drums and guitar to violin are on the programme for up to 100 children every Saturday morning at Malmesbury Primary School’s new building. There are even vocal coaching sessions for potential X-Factor 2018 contestants.

Founders, teacher Angelique Martin and music tutor Steph Kenny have won backing from the WOMAD Foundation and attracted a commercial sponsor for the project. Angelique explained: "We aim to inspire children to explore their creativity by providing musical opportunities that suit their specific wants and needs. Both Steph and I come from a musical background. Both of us attended music summer schools and the memories of musical groups we attended have stayed with us over the years.

The women both play in various groups and choirs. "The idea of the academy came from that and also as a result of the huge amount of enthusiasm and talent in the children – we could not fit any more music in the school week, so it has burst out on Saturdays." Much of the enthusiasm has come from participation in the last two WOMAD festivals at Charlton Park.

Annie Menter from the foundation said: "It was a fantastic sight to see 140 children from the north Wiltshire area on stage, opening the festival with Siyaya. We are delighted to have been able to strengthen our links with the local community and are already starting to plan our next project with the schools for 2009," she added. "And we hope very much to be able to assist in contributing to a global music programme throughout the year."

Malmesbury Music Academy is for children aged between seven and 13 who live in the town or surrounding villages.

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