Our Music Performance degree students recently worked with social enterprise, Pulp Friction CIC, to create an anthem for 2023. The project provided the students with ‘work-like experience’ that will be assessed as part of their course. Pulp Friction works with people who have learning disabilities and/or Autism to develop their social independence and work-readiness skills.
Students were divided into eight groups and asked to write a catchy song that would be easy for Pulp Friction’s Atmosphere Choir – which includes those with a range of disabilities – to pick up and get involved.
The task fit perfectly into students’ term 2 scheme of work – the brief and information provided by Pulp Friction was detailed enough without being restrictive, allowing students to really get creative. Having to work to briefs like this in the industry is common and getting to know a client in a short amount of time and then understanding the assignment, whilst meeting the client’s needs, is a critical part of working in the music industry. The students had to utilise key listening skills to be able to understand the feedback given and respond effectively in a way that worked for the choir and Pulp Friction Artist in Residence, Angela Warren. We spoke to Angela to learn more about the process and what the experience has been like for her, she said:
“It’s been absolutely delightful right from the very start. I came in and gave two lessons to the students involved. They were wonderful and just so up for it – I gave a singing lesson and got them to sing the kind of things we do in the choir and absolutely every single one of them joined in and they were so professional and it was really nice working with Ajay Henry (Confetti Degree Lecturer).”
Pulp Friction – a riff off the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film – runs a day support centre Monday to Friday for their members and work to create meaningful connections within the community. Examples include; their garden projects, supporting their members to become independent, whilst offering sustainability; dance classes, to help members to build confidence and support them to work as a team; and not forgetting, their choir, which offers people an opportunity to grow with music.
We spoke to Pulp Friction Founder, Jill Carter, to find out how the collaboration came about, she said:
“The opportunity to get involved came through Angela, with the support of Confetti Work Placement Manager, Lucy Greaves. It’s also been inspired by one of our choir members, Tom Bosanquet, who is a student here at Confetti. Tom’s had some great feedback about his course and the way he’s been included and involved in college has really impressed us as an organisation.”
At Confetti, we have a fantastic Additional Learning Support Team who are committed to working with students in a person-centred way. Person-centred means that we listen to what is important to you (now and in the future). We will look at what works and does not work for you. Our aim is to help students develop the skills they need to progress and make the most of their potential as an independent learner. We caught up with Tom and his Mum, Claire Bosanquet, to learn more about Tom’s course and involvement in the choir, Tom said:
“We’ve been doing some photography and music which I really enjoy and I’m excited to start the gaming part soon. There’s been some maths as well and I’ve just passed my reading test. In the future I really want to be a DJ.
“The [Atmopshere] choir is for people with learning difficulties, and people who have disabilities, I have duchenne muscular dystrophy.”
Tom’s mum added:
“Tom’s currently doing a day release introduction to Confetti focusing on music and media. In September 2023, he’s going onto Level 1.
“We as a family have found Confetti to be incredibly supportive, we’ve been very impressed with the staff and they have a great rapport with Tom – we call him Tom tonic as he always makes you smile.”
In March 2023, Pulp Friction members and Confetti students came together in our Metronome music facilities for an X Factor-style show. Eight student groups performed their songs one after the other to great applause, with feedback provided by judges, including Angela, Jill and Tom. The setlist included ‘Sometimes’, ‘Stronger Together’, ‘Atmosphere’, ‘From You To Me’, ‘With Me’, ‘Rise and Sing’, ‘Shine Together’ and ‘Rise Up’. The winning song will be sang by Pulp Friction’s Atmosphere Choir at their upcoming festival of choirs, Jill Carter gave us some background on the festival and the motivations behind the anthem, she said:
“We’re calling it the Caroline Festival after one of our members who sadly passed away last year. Before she passed, we had the talk about what she wanted her legacy to be – she was a really good friend of Tom and family, and a big part of our choir, in fact, he wears Caroline’s scarf in tribute to her.
“Together with Caroline, we came up with the idea to run a choir festival each year where we’d invite a whole range of different types of people and sing different types of music, and we’d hold it to celebrate Caroline, celebrate music and celebrate inclusion.
“Caroline’s legacy of £10,000 has helped to get this project off the ground, it’ll be the very first one this year and the Anthem for 2023 will be sung at the festival.”
Speaking on the process of creating the songs, shortlisting, and deciding the winner, Angela continued:
“We talked about our favourite songs, and suggested songs we wanted students to listen to in order to get our vibe. We came up with a few elements like a repeated chorus, perhaps a part with vocal sounds but not lyrics, maybe some spaces where we could clap and so members fed this back to me and I passed this onto Ajay.
“Students then made a recording each, which we then listened back to at Pulp Friction HQ and we talked about what we liked about them, how we thought it would work with our members and we all quickly developed our own favourites. It was just a really lovely process.
“Today we’ve got some people in the room who’ve heard the songs and others judging that are listening with fresh ears.”
After a tough time deciding (the songs were all very good), judges chose “Stronger Together” as their Pulp Friction Anthem 2023. The winning group (pictured above) included students Connor Walter, Oz Yeo, Josh Cresswell, Usman Chaudhary, Meena Thomas-Peto, Daniel Mbetewa. We spoke to Connor Walter to learn what the experience meant to him, Connor said:
“I really enjoyed working on the Pulp Friction project – having someone external to Confetti come in and give us a client brief, like you’d get working in the industry, was a very good experience.
“As a group we made sure that whenever we made any decisions, we considered the brief as a whole and how our decision would impact on whether we would fulfil it. Performing to Pulp Friction members at the end of all the effort we put in was very enjoyable and rounded off a great overall experience.”
Confetti Degree Lecturer, Ajay Henry, has been supporting the students and closely managed the project, asked for his feedback, he said:
“I am very proud of the time and effort that all of the students poured into their songs. They took on board all of the feedback given and worked well to provide catchy and uplifting songs that were appropriate for the client and the choir. I witnessed first-hand how difficult it was for Angela and the choir to choose but I am glad they plan on using all of the songs at some point in their performances.”
We’re delighted to have been able to offer these Do It For Real opportunities to students whilst also contributing to Caroline’s’ legacy. Speaking on how well the collaboration’s worked out and next steps, Angela said:
“The communication between us all has been brilliant, with emails keeping everyone in the loop making sure we knew what was happening. It’s probably one of the best project’s I’ve worked on.”
“What we’re hoping is that Confetti has enjoyed working with us and maybe this time next year we can do the same thing and refresh the anthem. Perhaps we’ll expand it to 4 or 5 songs and produce an EP – the anthem will be sung by our choir, it’ll be played at our events, it’ll go on our website and social media channels, it’ll be part of everything we do, it will become part of us”.