North Leeds Music Centre

Fabian Hamilton and Alex Sobel, local councillor, visited the North Leeds Music Centre on Saturday 19th January at its operational base in Carr Manor Community School. There is a financial cloud over the centre which for very many years has played an important role in nurturing musical talent in the community, especially that of children.

The Centre, like others that operate elsewhere in Leeds, has been provided and largely funded by Leeds City Council and has formed an important element supporting the celebrated musical traditions of the city. They are now menaced as a consequence of the savage government cuts to the money allocated to local authorities. These are placing services under extreme pressure and causing many difficult, painful and damaging decisions to be made leading to cuts to the fabric of the local community. Managers of the North Leeds Music Centre are not taking this situation lying down and are exploring ways by which its work can be sustained through greater financial autonomy, perhaps through operating as a charitable organisation or trust. Fabian Hamilton, the local MP and Councillor Alex Sobel visited the centre together to understand the situation, discuss ways forward and identify ways in which they might be able to help.

The joy of learning to play a musical instrument was evident when Fabian and Alex met young Isabelle Tse-Harrison, a pupil at Meanwood Church of England Primary School, who attends the North Leeds Music Centre each Saturday morning to improve her skills on the violin.

Shown with young musician Isobelle Tse-Harrison are Centre Director Mervyn Manning, Matthew Tiffany teacher of the String Orchestra, Fabian Hamilton MP and Councillor Alex Sobel.

On visiting the various classes, Fabian was delighted to meet Lois Manning who teaches the saxophone. Fabian confessed to a long-held but unrequited ambition to learn to play this beautiful instrument and wondered if he would ever be able to put in the time and effort that would be required.

To persuade him to take the plunge, Lois demonstrated the instrument's wonderful sound.

Fabian and Alex's visit concluded by dropping in on the rehearsals of the Concert Band in which many aspiring musicians take their first steps in learning to play together as an orchestra.

Fabian and Alex look on as the rehearsal for the themes from Phantom of the Opera is in full swing.

At the end of their visit, Fabian and Alex pledged their support to the work of the centre continuing and offered sources of help and advice for some of the ways forward. Much needs to be done especially if the centre is to cherish the tradition of being able to welcome children and others from all backgrounds and open up for them the joy of musical creativity in affordable ways.

To learn more about the North Leeds Music Centre, please visit the web site. Click here.