Amazing success for project's showcase at Theatre Severn - The Hive

The Hive, an arts charity and venue in Shrewsbury working with young people and children across the county, has been working in partnership with the Armed Forces Covenant and others since February 2015 to bring more than 80 inspirational music workshops for toddlers, children, young people and their families in the Connect-Create music project.

On Tuesday March 1st, the final performance of the Connect-Create project took place at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn featuring many performances by the children involved in the project, including original songs composed by the children, covers of chart songs and more. The event was attended by a number of local and regional dignitaries, including the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy and high level representation from the Armed Forces. The evening was hosted by BBC Radio Shropshire’s Vicki Archer.

Salla Virman, The Director of the Hive said: "This was a very special evening for everyone involved and it has been fantastic to see the change in the young people taking part during the project. Involvement in creative activity can help anyone to develop their self-confidence, which will then help then the person to take the next steps into education, volunteering or employment.”

The aim of the Connect-Create programme was to connect Armed Forces families with their local communities through shared interests, experiences and to help raise awareness of the challenges faced by Armed Forces families. The project also focused on bringing the children into a creative environment, as many of them had never previously experienced this.

The majority of children in the project had taken part in intensive workshop weeks for this project during holiday times since Easter 2015 and all of them have learnt new instruments, new songs and also how to compose their own songs and form bands in this amount of time.

Lord Lieutenant, Sir Algernon Heber-Percy said: "Everyone worked so hard to create a memorable evening, and it was really great to see so many young people working together with real confidence."

David Fairclough, Co-ordinator for Shropshire Armed Forces Covenant said: ‘‘The Shropshire Armed Forces Covenant partnership are absolutely delighted with how the Hive have managed the Connect-Create project. The general aim to strengthen integration between military and civilian families has been met and the project has given the young people and families so much more than we could have ever imagined’’.

He added: ‘‘The final showcase performance of Connect-Create was special. From the first moment to the last the audience at Theatre Severn were up dancing, clapping and cheering. To see the young people from the band-building workshops performing alongside professional musicians, the Shawbury Military Wives Choir and 1 Royal Irish Regiment Band was spectacular and something that will stay with me forever. Congratulations to the Hive & everyone associated with the project’’.

Overall it was a fantastic and emotional evening for everyone involved in the project, and the audiences were impressed by the quality of the music the children had produced in such a considerably short amount of time. The evening also included performances from the Shawbury Military Wives Choir and the 1Royal Irish Regiment Band.