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Such an exciting term! The Academy is developing and expanding in many different areas. We are incredibly proud of all of our students, who have achieved so much success.

Let’s take a look back and review the past few months:-

The term started with good news for one of our former students, James Baxter, (stage name Thackeray) who was cast as Edmund in Birmingham Rep’s production of, “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” running from November to January. We have since learnt that James has been working with puppeteers from War Horse, as well as other actors who have appeared in West End productions. What a marvellous experience to start off his career!

“Settling the Butterfly,” run by Alison Tubbs, gives its members the opportunity to explore the idea of mindfulness in a calm and relaxing atmosphere. The Academy provides the perfect  environment. The group meets on a Thursday morning. These classes are increasing in popularity and Alison has now started another group on a Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm. If you are interested, please call the Academy for more information (01723 330000.)

The first event on our calendar was the Wykeham Arts Festival in October. The Friday evening concert at the church provided the opportunity for the Academy to showcase individual students and the Mini Manhattans. The newly-formed Tuesday Singers were delighted to make their debut. On the Saturday afternoon, our drum teacher, Joe Wilson, led a drum workshop which proved popular with all ages. Manhattan Voices performed in the evening with their usual energy and enthusiasm.

Audiences were treated on both evenings to the music of special guest - the talented, international jazz guitarist, Ged Brockie. £500 was raised in aid of the North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre.

Lesley Hodgson, a massage and Reiki therapist, was invited to the Academy in October. A relaxing massage is the perfect way to prepare singers for their lessons. Lesley’s clients who have had this experience have loved it and been keen to return on a regular basis, including Sue.

The Academy had 23 students taking exams this term, from Grade 1 through to Grade 7. These took place at the home of Dougie and Dagmar Moederle-Lumb, which was a wonderful venue, giving the perfect ambience for exam students - calm and welcoming.  Everyone passed - 6 with distinctions and 7 with merits.  This term the trophy goes to Ruby Hilton, who, out of all the      students taking part, achieved the highest marks with the grand total of 137! Thanks go to Sue for her tremendous support and encouragement.

Another success - Justin Mhaka, (Bongo Man)  has won a place in the next series of the BBC's  hit  programme,   "The Voice". The programme goes out in February.

The next piece of good news was that one of our students, Emmie Beckitt,  is heading  for stardom. She has produced a single for Christmas with pianist, composer and TV presenter,  Rick Wakeman.

One of the biggest successes for the Academy this year is Sue’s newly formed group - the community Tuesday Singers. A few people showed an interest in May when the group was first started.  Word spread fast as to what fun it was, as well as learning new songs and singing techniques. Now it has grown to 26 members who squeeze into Studio 1 for rehearsals. We had to put a post on the Academy website saying that the group was full, as there is no room at the inn! They continue to go from strength to strength. These initial “non-singers,”  have not only taken part in concerts, but some have performed solos and duets. What an achievement. Well done to all!!!  They gave the patients at Orchard House a real Christmas treat when they went  to sing Christmas songs and carols.there last week.

Manhattan Voices have had a bust term performing in a variety of venues:- at a wedding and for the Christian Faith week (both at Raven Hall,) a dinner at the Grainery, at the Wykeham Arts Festival, and for the Scalby Tories at St. Laurence’s.  They were delighted to perform locally at Brompton at the Poppy Concert, while in September they travelled as far afield as Brotton in Cleveland.

This term’s “Jewel in the Crown” was the “Taste of India” event on 21st November. Everything snowballed to make this event the success that it was. It started off with Sue thinking that with Indian students attending the Academy they may like to share their culture with others. It wasn’t long before a professional Indian singer and a Bollywood  dancer (friend of one of our students) were booked.  Parents and friends of the Academy rallied round to create an Indian atmosphere, using colourful drapes and authentic artefacts. Visitors were greeted by the traditional welcome of a bindi on the forehead, the warmth and aromas of the oil and incense burners and the Rangoli pattern on the floor lit by night lights. Delicious food was on offer and everyone had an experience that was truly memorable.

There was more excitement in December when one of our students, 11 year old George Schmuck, was offered an audition for the West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The latest news is that three of our students have been cast in lead roles in York College's production of Les Miserables in May 2016:-                                                                       Josh Eldridge-Smith - Jean Valjean                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hannah Walker - Cossette                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Jake Cooke - Marius

The Academy would like to thank everyone for their continued support and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a  Happy New Year!

Watch this space for next term's big event..................