The Skills Hub celebrated the opening of their new music studio in style with special guests from the music industry including former lead singer with M People, Heather Small and DJ, producer and musician, Russ Jay. But the creation of the music studio wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of Kevin Reynolds, CEO of KRMB Management Ltd.
It all started with Deputy Headteacher, Paul Chambers wanting to provide more opportunities for students showing great musical promise without the resources to fulfil their potential. So he reached out to contacts from his days in the music business and Kevin Reynolds, CEO of KRBM Artist Management, responded with a huge donation of high spec sound and music equipment.
Kevin was fortunate enough to get into music and learn to play an instrument at a very young age. He was classically trained on clarinet to grade 8 standard and after leaving school played with various big bands and global artists. However, he is all too aware that such opportunities are rare for children to access these days. When he heard about The Skills Hub, he saw it as a chance to help and inspire students and give something back, saying: “It is important that these young people are motivated and realise that their future can be whatever they want it to be.”
Kevin was joined by singer Heather Small to cut the red ribbon and declare the new facility open! Heather then joined student Oscar to perform one of his self-penned compositions, a really poignant moment for all in attendance. She went on to spend time with another student, Daisy, who aspires to become a singer herself but suffers with nerves. Heather gave her some coaching on how overcome her fears until Daisy was confident enough to perform two songs to staff and her peers.
Heather was keen to get involved and support the students as their stories were close to her heart; she herself was raised on a council estate in London and said “I understand what it’s like to be different, but being different is not a bad thing – it is to be celebrated”. She was put down at school and told she wouldn’t make it in music and ironically didn’t make it into the school choir. She went on to prove them all wrong, becoming a best-selling artist as the lead singer with M People in the 90s, and is now enjoying a successful solo career. Heather wanted to share her story with students and empower with the message “Don’t let other people put barriers in your way, stay focused, keep believing and follow your dreams.”
Acclaimed DJ Russ Jay was also quick to help with the project, volunteering his time to mentor students and ensure they get the most out of their amazing new equipment.
Headteacher Laurie Cornwell said: “Today our students have had a chance to spend time with three key players in the music industry who see our students for who they are, not what they have done, but who they can be. I am incredibly grateful to them for their generosity, time and most importantly for inspiring and believing in our young people.”