After months of planning it's finally here! My Churchill Fellowship begins at the end of this week, when I fly out to Finland. I'll be stopping at Helsinki, Espoo and Jyvaskyla looking at choirs, schools and instititions that deliver top quality music education. After a short return to the UK on 23rd September, I'll then fly out to America and Canada where I'll be visiting the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir, the Kodaly Centre at Oakland University, Indianapolis Children's Choir, Anima Singers, Chicago Children's Choir, Toronto Children's Chorus and Hamilton Children's Choir.
I can't wait to learn from these various organisations and schools to see the effect high quality music education has on children, be in schools themselves or in the community. What can the UK learn from this? Should we really be cutting one of the most important subjects a child can learn? How do we stop it being for only those who can afford it?
I have mix of emotions right now. Excitement, yes - this is is something of a lifetime opportunity, and one that will extend into the future after my return. I'm also a bit nervous about the whole thing - and also tinged with sadness: my dad's illness is hard to comprehend, so being away for some time will not be easy. I know I have both my parents' suppport and hope that this trip will provide plenty of positive opportunities for them too.
Thank you to everyone who has given to my Just Giving page. So far it's raised £1500 for MND Association!
You can still give here if you're able.