Too few children book for second year in a row

The summer school in 2011

The summer school in 2011

First published in News

The organisers of the music summer school held in Devizes for primary school pupils have spoken of their disappointment at cancelling the event for the second consecutive year due to a lack of youngsters signing up.

Tim and Gill Hutchings reluctantly pulled the plug on this year’s event, which was due to be held next week, but just 16 children had applied.

Mr Hutchings said: “We needed at least 36 children – less than that and we can’t run individual groups. We emailed 27 schools in the Devizes and Chippenham area to promote the music summer school and emailed the families of children who have been before but we didn’t have the takers. We are very disappointed that the course won’t take place.”

Last year Mr and Mrs Hutchings, from All Cannings, cancelled the event when just 24 children signed up. They have run the music summer school since 2008 and in their first year it attracted 86 youngsters.

The event consists of children, with or without musical experience, aged six to 11, playing and singing different pieces of music, and culminating in a concert.

Mr Hutchings said: “We reduced the cost a little bit this year but we had a third fewer applications than last year.”

Mr and Mrs Hutchings will make a decision in the autumn about the future of the event.

The music summer school was started by Michael Oliver in 1978. At the time he was a music teacher at Wansdyke School in Devizes and had worked on music summer schools in other areas which were successful. In its heyday the Devizes music summer school attracted 125 youngsters.

Mr Oliver, still a tutor with the music summer school, said: “Perhaps people don’t have the money or maybe it’s run its course. When Devizes School started Camp Xtra, the week-long activity programme during the summer holidays, we started to see the numbers dropping then.”

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