Bristol Reggae Orchestra development project

20 November 2015

“The orchestra has turned my life around, it’s got me on a good level footing and it’s got me back into music. The orchestra has helped a lot of people, not just me. It’s wonderful.”

Members of the Bristol Reggae orchestra

“St Paul’s is an inner city area of Bristol that lots of communities call home. There is a particularly strong Caribbean community. In fact, the idea for the reggae orchestra was actually from this community, from a Jamaican man who used to come along to St Paul’s Learning  & Family Centre,  where I worked at the time. When he suggested the orchestra, there was nothing else like it. We didn’t know what it would look like, but it stuck in my mind.

"Funding from People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthTogether through The Health  Lottery, has made a huge difference. We set up the orchestra so that we could bring together the diverse residents of St Paul’s and Easton and celebrate this rich Caribbean culture. We are a strong tight-knit group of local people, who come together to perform, learn, connect and grow in confidence and most importantly make friends. What we offer is unique; we are the only orchestra playing reggae music.

Member of the Bristol Reggae orchestra

"People who come along don’t need to be great musicians - they just need to enjoy music and want to get involved. We support people with developing their musical skills through workshops and we team people up with a buddy if they’re unable to read music.

"We are all local people. Through the orchestra, people from all different social backgrounds make new friends with people they might not otherwise meet.

member of the Bristol Reggae Orchestra

"The orchestra increases members’ confidence. We have some singers who joined  the orchestra having never performed on a public stage before. They were terrified. Now the quality of their performance and the way they move on stage is completely different. But the most  important thing to come from the orchestra is a really strong sense of community among the members. People really look out for each other and support each other, not just musically, but through some of the serious challenges that members have faced.”

Stella Quinlivan

To see more pictures from the project, click here.

To read about more great ideas funded by the Trust, click here. 

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