More Music director to retire after 25 years
Peter Moser, founder of More Music in Morecambe, is stepping down after 25 years.
Here he reflects on his highlights of his long career with the musical education charity.
Thank you Morecambe for a great 25 years of music, fun and friendship.
From the early days of Baybeat Streetband to Sigh of the Sea at Light Up Lancaster this has been a journey of hard work, connection, determination, ambition and creation.
I love every aspect of my job here from producing, fundraising, planning, inventing, playing and running workshops.
We have grown from an office in my home to a great facility at the Hothouse in the West End and our work is recognised worldwide.
That does make me very proud and none of it could happen without the brilliant team of administrators, trustees, project managers, musicians and technicians.
In the early 90s it was Tom Flanagan as the head of arts and events who helped me get started and Lancaster City Council support continued with Jon Harris, Alec Bell and their team.
Meanwhile in the early days, More Music in Morecambe grew with songwriter/performer Geoff Dixon, percussionist and improviser Steve Lewis, lyricist and poet Boris Howarth and with Kathryn MacDonald, whose belief in and understanding of social change has shaped everything that we do.
There are so many projects and so many highlights:
*Morecambe Streets – a parish map of 450 songs and poems written by individuals and inspired by where they live.
*Flights of Passage – a choral song cycle about the birds of the bay.
*Baybeat Streetband – at times 145 people strong and now doing over 35 gigs a year.
*Catch the Wind – our annual celebrated Kite Festival Live events at More Music that present world class performers like Soweto Kynch, The Moulettes, Lemn Sissay and This is the Kit.
*Light up Lancaster commissions in all the major squares and the castle that have been highlights of this annual Northern Lights event.
*The One Man Band Shebang and Streetband festivals.
In a world that is so challenged politically, socially and economically it is the powerful social change projects that I am particularly proud of.
At the moment there are more than 50 young people in our building every Thursday and Friday night – not only playing music but also finding friends and connecting in a positive way with others.
We work in more than 25 schools, including 12 specialist schools, delivering creative projects that also have huge personal outcomes for young people.
Targeted projects in disadvantaged communities continue to be funded by our strategic partner Youth Music and our work in the West End of Morecambe is stronger than ever.
I also do believe that our work is politically important and allows us to raise issues; whether it is about how social media affects the mental health of our young people or about how our Human Rights are abused.
In this context the Long Walk, our 10 year international programme that responded to the 2004 cockling tragedy in the bay, has been hugely important to me.
Starting from conversations that created the Long Walk shows in Morecambe, Gateshead and Liverpool, I have developed a series of community music projects in Southern China and Hong Kong that I see as a positive resonance from the tragedy.
We have welcomed numerous Chinese artists to work with us over here and our Chinese cultural programme works in schools and has also created the lovely Long Walk Chinese Ensemble.
That has surely been a journey!
Now I am hoping to get back to my roots and to spend more time as a musician and composer and I leave with a great sense of achievement.
More Music has provided a huge programme of high quality events and shows, employment for many people and opportunities for hundreds of young people to learn and progress.
I believe we also provide a constant sense of hope in a difficult social, economic and political climate.
The work will go on without me and I’m sure you will still hear our songs echoing round the town.
If you would like to support More Music and its charitable aims please become a Friend and make a regular donation.
Go to www.moremusic.org.uk/friends