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The ‘Play Up Project’, which initially partnered with The Youth West Partnership in Summer 2019, was successfully bringing together 33 young musicians before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also supported by Norfolk Music Hub, the project provided an important social space for the young musicians involved, who were invited to improve on their musical skills and confidence through regular sessions and live public performances. 

With the beginning of the pandemic and the country entering into lockdown in March this year, John Kramarchuk, the project’s leader, was determined to continue to provide opportunities for the group, many of whom were left feeling socially isolated as a result of the missed sessions. 

John’s solution was the ‘Play Up Remote Recording Project’, an idea for bands to remotely record their own concept albums based on their lives as teenagers during the pandemic. After approaching the charity with the idea that would allow John to continue supporting these young people and ensuring their group sessions could continue, YMCA Norfolk, together with other partners including PEACH West Norfolk, were able to support the project by providing funding towards home recording equipment for 10 musicians. 

Charlie Wall, Senior Youth Engagement Worker for YMCA Norfolk said,

“John contacted me and the Youth West Partnership Coordinator with this great idea that would allow the young people of West Norfolk to continue their musical projects and receive the vital support they needed during such a challenging time.

“We were delighted to support John through purchasing equipment that would enable his vision to go ahead.”

Through online zoom sessions, the young people engaged and learned the skills required to record at home and use the new equipment. As a result of the project so far, participants have recorded 9 songs, with two of them being played on KLFM and Future Radio. 

John continues to search for further support that will allow his important work to continue, after the initial success it has seen so far. He said,

“These young people have found their passion. They found a place to exercise it and then it was snatched away. They have remained engaged through the lockdown, learned new skills and produced some stunning work. Their joy in this project is there for all to see.”

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