Recently found this lovely video of the Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows at the Royal Albert Hall. We got to play there as result of winning the Music For Youth World Music Award 2009. Ace. Even acer, Howard Goodall gave me an massively complimentary introduction, then came up to me backstage later and asked if I was happy with my intro. Happy! I asked him why he chose those words, and he said something to the effect that I must be to manage "that lot". But said affectionately about them, not rudely. Yes I was happy, and very happy with their amazing performance.
In 2010 the BBC World Service contacted me. I was rather taken aback. I've been on Radio 4, Radio 5, Radio Aire, Radio Leeds, but speaking to the World! Whoa! Anyway they didn't want me to speak, well not at first. They wanted the Sparrows to play in Cross Green, Leeds at the Flower Market. At 6 a.m! Somehow we got there in tim-ish, and Yi Bai's parents filmed it. What a memory. And one of their guests didn't turn up on time, so they asked me to be a guest speaker - on immigration I think it was. Would I be that guest! Pass me the headphones! Was I any good? Who knows! but they did me to go down to the BBC studio in Leeds a few weeks later and speak again. So probably didn't make a fool of myself. after all! Victoria J
After Annette had ordered us [Foxwood Steel Bandits] to play for her, by popping up in Savile Park the year before, we felt emboldened to repeat the performance, only this time it was raining. but nonetheless here we are, and the official council film-maker seemed to think we part of the official Carnival. I'll take that.
2020- 2021 was Lockdown/NoLockdown in school settings. Here's how Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows got through it. The minute there was no Lockdown we were in and out gardens, in fours [and fives, co-opting parents as we went]. Melita and mother, Anita went back to Croatia during this time, and playing in her back garden enabled us to give the two of them the send-off that we wanted to. This video includes a tribute to StClair Morris who was first pan teacher to many of us, and godmother and father to most Leeds steelbands.
This is a little film, which Alice introduces, of the Sparrows between 2018 and 2020, the last concert being our live performance on March 15 2020, the day before lockdown was shutdown for live gigs! And this film ends with our the last live tune that we played at a concert in 2020! The film then went on to be part of Music For Youth's virtual 50th anniversary event.
Jane Westwood followed us round on tour in 2007 from Leeds to Harewood to Manchester and to Staithes for the Lifeboat Day. As the fireworks went off at the end of the night we played In the Hall of the Mountain King. Ace.
In 2011 Music For Youth recommended to the organiser of the 50th anniversary of the Festival of Britain that I would be good person to bring a band or two to play at the Festival Hall, Southbank London. I took the Sparrows and the Doves and also organised a joint number for the five bands that took part that day. It was awesome. We had three sets. Here are the Sparrows at the front of the Festival Hall.