VIDEO: Musicians from JDT in action in New York
Musicians from the Dereham-based JDT Music has returned from a trip of a lifetime to New York.
Nia Howe recalls memories from the great trip.
After arriving in New York, we settled into our wonderful hotel, Room Mate Grace, just off Times Square, and took in the incredible atmosphere of our new surroundings.
Our first scheduled gig, on Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, was cancelled due to bad weather, so we hit the shops on Fifth Avenue and also managed to fit in a midnight visit to the top of the Empire State Building, after which we were picked up by a Hummer limo and driven round the city before being dropped back at our hotel.
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On the following day, despite being overcast and rather chilly, No Grey Areas had their first taste of performing to a live crowd in NYC. It was a fab gig, with all nine of our students stepping up to the mark and performing incredibly well.
The gig was cut short by about 15 minutes when the rain started again, but we were all really happy with their achievements.
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Later that evening, we took the group to see the world-renowned Blue Man Group show and finished the night off with a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square and a prayer that the non-stop, torrential rain would subside for our coming gigs
The next day, we awoke to beautiful sunshine and everyone was excited to get going, as we had two performances scheduled during the day. The first was in front of the picturesque fountain in the heart of Lincoln Square – recently used as the backdrop to The Black Swan, as the site includes theatres for the New York Ballet and New York Symphony Orchestra.
This was an idyllic location, and the change in the weather meant that we were greeted with many more spectators, who sat and listened: one audience member even tweeted about how much they'd enjoyed it.
A quick turnaround and we were soon set to go in Washington Square Park. The band attracted a huge crowd, who clearly enjoyed their wide mix of music, which included hits such as They Don't Care About Us (Michael Jackson), Perfect (Pink), a Beatles medley, The Man Who Can't Be Moved (The Script) and We Built This City (Starship).
We had just enough time to fit one final performance in at the stunning Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park (the very first to be built within the park) before we transferred to JFK airport for our return flight.
And what a venue it was, with more than 700 people joining us to watch the band's final performance. Some of the spectators had watched at other venues and had come along to show their support and appreciation.
The tour didn't go without its fair share of difficulties, the weather, illness and transport issues in particular, but these problems are inevitable when bands take to the road. And, as well as enjoying the highs that the gigs had to offer, it gave our students the opportunity to learn that solutions are always achievable.
We'd like to give a special mention to Kenny Wilson and Wilson's Showtime for his incredible support during the trip. We can't wait to go back and work with him again. On behalf of all the performers, we'd also like to offer our sincere thanks to the Friends of JDT Music Academy and all those who contributed to their fundraising efforts. The trip would not have been possible without them. Janel and I are incredibly proud of every single one of the band members, not just for their talents but their impeccable behaviour and outstanding showmanship throughout the tour. Dereham should be very proud of what our youngsters can do.