For the second year running pupils from Malmesbury schools brightened up a soggy opening night of the WOMAD music festival.

Despite grey clouds and drizzle the performing students, beside world music stars Pee Wee Ellis, Justin Adams and Mim Suleiman, created a warm and lively atmosphere.

African drumming, brass and break dancing were all on show as the pupils’ hard work over the past six weeks paid off.

Malmesbury Secondary School music teacher Bill Badley was delighted his students had opened the 28th WOMAD in style.

He said: “It was absolutely magnificent; it really did exceed all expectations.

“It came together on the night. The music that they played lends itself to collaboration.

“The students were very focussed and really locked into it tonight.”

Mr Badley said that the WOMAD experience provided more than just singing practice for his pupils.

He said: “It provides them with a breadth of cultural experience which students in a rural area like ours may not otherwise get.

“It also raises the bar for them and shows them the possibilities that are out there beyond Malmesbury.”

He added: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for older students to work with younger ones.

“It is especially good for those moving up from primary school to secondary.

“It gives them some familiar faces and shows them that there is a place for them at school.”

Mr Badley said the school helped choose the artists they would be working with.

He said: “Justin Adams is a natural born leader but he does it in a gentle way.

“He brought everything together and is a bridge into other musical genres.”

Performing on drums were Asha Cork and Caitlin Morgan, both 11. Asha said it was a relief to hear the performance sound so good.

She said: “It was quite scary being up on stage but I have done it before which helped.

“It was really good how it came together.”

Caitlin said: “I was playing African hand drums. We have been practicing after school for six weeks.

“It was really cool seeing all the people there to watch us.”

Saxophonist Dan Booth, 11, said: “At first I was pretty nervous, there were so many people there and I was a bit uncertain about one of the songs. But when we got going I became more relaxed and really enjoyed it.”

He said that working with James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis had been fun.

“He’s a nice guy, but it’s sometimes hard to understand what he said because he speaks quietly.”

Cornet player Kieran Parker added: “He was quite strict during the rehearsals but it was amazing to be on stage.”

For eight-year-old Ben Oakley it was his third time on the WOMAD stage. He said: “I played guitar and learned a lot from Justin and the sixth formers from Malmesbury School.”

Pictures by Paul Morris