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The Power of Partnerships (and Elvis)

Greetings lovely peeps! I hope this post finds you hale and hearty, braving the changing of the seasons, enjoying the rustle of... "the falling leeeeeaves.." As Autumn has finally shuffled lazily around in Folkestone, the jumpers have come out of storage and I find myself once again pleasingly ruminatory. If that is a word?

As per, much has occurred since the last post - quelle surprise - but all tremendously positive. I have decided to focus on one particular strand of excellent development for this blog; that being the projects I have been welcomed into working with a great company called Found In Music.

Dr Julia Jones - aka Dr Rock - CEO of Found In Music and all round idea-grenade, and I have been intermittently having coffee for over a year, bandying about exciting ideas, largely with a remit to improve social inclusion in Folkestone and further afield. Earlier this year they started up the Rooftop Disco on the top of the Leas Cliff Hall, and Surround Sounds - both cross-gerenational and music-centric.

At the end of the summer Julia and the awesome Rachel Meir (Operations Director for FIM) invited me to collaborate with them on several upcoming projects. The first of these is Folkestone Music Town, a case study on how music can socialise a town.

This is an extension of their Music Cities model which Found In Music run in, among other places, Nashville and London. The idea at the heart of this is unifying the many talented folk in Folkestone to facilitate fantastic musical events and foster community cohesion. Julia will then take the case study and present it at the United Nations' World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018.

The Folkestone Music Town project launched this week to a rousing response from a great group of Folkestonians (see above), but has been in the works for many weeks. To make sure the case study was representative of the care sector, we have involved the excellent people at Hawkinge House to partner with us and demonstrate how the provision of excellent care is inextricably linked with what musical provisions you can offer your residents.

Kicking off this enthusiastic partnership were two big events - Julia installing her 9ft Baldwin grand piano in Hawkinge's reception, followed by the world's first care home live-link-up with GRACELAND! I'll let the pictures tell the full story, but basically it involved Julia and Rachel Skyping on a big screen in the lounge, not one but TWO Elvises performing hits (the amazing King Elvises) and residents and staff dressed as Hawaiian-era Elvis in leis and grass skirts!

The evening could not have been more of a hoot, and jibes well with all of my experiences minstrelling on the Musical Walkabout; there is no more frequently requested artist than the King. And thank the lordy for that!

There will be more exhillerating tales to tell by the next post, but for now, it's nice to be reminded of the power and energy created when people join forces to do great things. And I've never felt a town or company more suited to that ideal than Folkestone and Found In Music.

Speak soon, and keep singing!



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