Review: Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Educational Needs (Yamsen) summer concert in association with WFPA, King’s Hall, Ilkley: July 2nd, 2019

THE road outside the King’s Hall in Ilkley was temporarily blocked on Tuesday morning by a fleet of minibuses transporting our stars to their concert.

The 150 children and young adults with special or additional needs arrived around 10.30am, from their centres all over the area. The morning was then spent practising in their choirs before a picnic lunch in the Winter Garden.

We were delighted to have as our guest the Deputy Mayor of Ilkley, Ros Brown, at this stage who talked to the performers and showed the impressive chain of office. When the concert started, she was joined by our Ilkley Mayoress, Amy Stidworthy, who was another very welcome support from the Town Council. Other guests included the WFPA President Blanche Woollin and Vice President Sir James Hill who is a constant supporter of our events for those with special needs. The main guest, however, was Mr Douglas Gilliam who had come to listen to a concert dedicated to the memory of his wife Ann: Ann Gilliam as many in the area will know, was a volunteer for many years with Yamsen and wrote many of the songs still performed by the choirs.

The performances started with ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ from the senior choir called ‘Off by Heart’ to be followed by ‘Sing a Cha Cha’ from the teenagers and then ‘We’re Detectives’ from the Young Accord choir. The audience was given plenty of opportunity to join in and took full advantage of it, to such an extent that at the end of the repertoire we had songs repeated so that we could have another go- ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite ‘was especially popular as was the finale ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’.

We must also not neglect to mention The Broomfield Band who performed a traditional African melody ‘Funga Alafia’ and the song ‘Horse with No Name’ to rousing applause.

This was a lovely, happy event, much enjoyed by all who were there and a credit to the performers and the staff who both supported them and helped them rehearse through the year. Douglas Gilliam, who had brought along a couple of local friends, said how much he had enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy in the performances: he thought more local people would have benefitted from listening and he intended to spread the word.

The day finished with a vote of thanks from Deputy Mayor Ros Brown who singled out each group for detailed comment in a wonderfully sympathetic way. Thank you to everyone involved.

by Pat Dibb

General Secretary, WFPA