Margaret Beaufort Middle School

In July 2008 I taught an African drumming workshop at Margaret Beaufort Middle School in the Bedfordshire village of Riseley, to a group of fourteen children aged between 9 and 13 as a summer holiday activity.

Since I'd just acquired some lovely new kenkeni drums, I decided to teach the traditional Guinean rhythm and song of Moribayassa. I was really pleased that they managed to pick up this exuberant music, aided by memorable rhymes and call-and-response games.

We were blessed with hot African weather, so decided to set up outdoors on the school field, playing all afternoon under the shade of a large sycamore tree taking the place of a mango tree in Senegal. This added great atmosphere to the occasion and made it a really memorable day for the kids.

I didn't return until 2012, when the Academy Federation Of North Beds Schools Arts Week was expanded to include Margaret Beaufort along with neighbouring Lincroft and Harrold Priory Middle Schools. This time my colleagues Justine, Barry and I delivered drum+dance workshops and performances which thrilled pupils and teachers alike. We returned in 2013 and hope to continue into the future.

In 2014, Chrissie and I educated and entertained pupils at these same three schools to celebrate Black History Month. It was nice that many children remembered me from when I'd taught them in Year 1/2/3 four or five years ago!