Musician helps brings cheer to street with live performances

A SPRINGHEAD musician has every right to blow his own trumpet – or sometimes his cornet – after putting on lockdown performances to bring community cheer and support.

James Atkins picked up his instruments and joined his family, friends and neighbours to show appreciation for the NHS and frontline workers with ‘Clap For Carers’ celebrations.

After those weekly tributes ended, James continued playing his trumpet or cornet at the same time each Thursday to help keep up the street’s morale during the pandemic.

James, 22, explained: “I initially chose to play after experiencing the sense of community spirit and togetherness in the first couple of Clap For Carers celebrations and simply felt I wanted to add to that in some way.

“For my first outing, I chose a song which was also a favourite of hundreds of other musicians and performers across the country – Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

“It had also become associated with the nation’s tribute to the NHS frontline workers and the video of my performance received an incredible response on social media.

“I selected a different song or melody each week to perform which aimed to lift people’s spirits, including tributes to national heroes such as Dame Vera Lynn and the inspirational Captain Sir Thomas Moore.

“I played for eight weeks, accompanied by a superb effort from Ashes Lane on each occasion.

“I almost became more of an opportunity for me to bring some positivity to the current situation for my neighbours, friends and family.

“I was encouraged to keep playing at the same time each week since the official Clap For Carers celebrations finished. I continued to do so and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see most of Ashes Lane do the same.

“I played on Sunday (July 5) for the anniversary, which provided a fitting end to a tribute I’m proud to have continued.

“As a musician, I’ve experienced first-hand how the arts have been significantly impacted during lockdown but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this series of tributes, even for just a couple of minutes.

“I’ve been humbled by the support and kind messages I have received from neighbours and on social media.”

Watch James, who is Musical Director of the Stalybridge Old Band and Principal Cornet of Strata Brass in Sheffield, play Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’:

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