Feb 7 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
TWO professional musicians have joined a campaign to stop Harrow Council axing a grant to a youth charity.
Jazz trumpeter, composer and broadcaster Guy Barker, and virtuoso accordionist Romano Viazzani are appealing to Harrow Council to keep its £58,000 grant to Harrow Young Musicians.
The charity runs orchestras to help children who are learning instruments and Mr Barker, who started playing in the brass band at Lascelles Secondary Modern School, now Whitmore High School in Porlock Avenue, West Harrow, said: “I have worked with Harrow Young Musicians’ director Mark Gooding and Harrow Young Musicians on a number of occasions and always found it a really rewarding experience.”
The 55-year-old, of Chiswick, has just been appointed associate composer of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He said ‘the remarkably high standard of playing from all the young musicians in all of the age groups’ impressed him immensely.
“On top of that, there was a real feeling of joyous enthusiasm that gave a sense of commitment and purpose to the rehearsals and to the final results at the concerts.
“The sheer variety of what they created is something I have rarely seen in all my years as a professional musician.”
Mr Viazzani said: “It is a travesty that funding for HYM should be withdrawn. What better way to keep young people from being bored on the streets than doing something worthwhile such as this, something that could very well lead them on to a career in music as it has done in the past?
“Shame on you Harrow Council and shame on the councillors who suggested dropping the funding to this and those who agree with dropping it. I cannot believe that this has to be sacrificed.”
More than 2,485 people have signed an online petition set up by some of the concerned children from Harrow Young Musicians’ orchestras.
Harrow Council’s cabinet will consider withdrawing the grant as part of its final budget on Thursday, followed by the council’s budget meeting on Thursday, February 28.