Barnsley Youth Choir Africa Concerts

Thousands of miles can’t stop love, nor music… this weekend’s concerts proved that.

All week there had been Facebook statuses full of tangible love for a chap called Dr Michael Barrett, who had flown over from South Africa to spend a week with the BYC.

As soon as I saw him with the choirs I understood why. Such a warm, gracious soul full of love and integrity for his fellow human beings, I could see why BYC had fallen in love with him.

His passionate conducting reached like a physical connection to the choir, who were visibly lifted to whole new levels. Levels which also reached the band and spread through the audience like waves of passion and empathy. It’s a good job I was holding onto my cheese sandwich (a technique Victoria told me about to help stop me blubbering like a baby like I did in Edinburgh)

I think we all loved seeing Keith let loose on the drums, and his face was a picture playing his djembe (and a personal thanks to Keith for writing out the Mozambique notation for me.)

Michael’s hilarious sense of humour had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, and they visibly swelled with pride at his obvious love for Barnsley. The standing ovations came thick and fast and the roof was lifted off when he was presented with his flat cap, which he immediately donned.

Michael explained that when he met Mat, he fell in love with his soul. I think we can all agree to this affect he has on the people lucky enough to meet him. He doesn’t know his own power to create, inspire, love and lift people. A more humble, hard-working man you’re unlikely to come across, and this humility and work ethic he has bestowed upon the choir – as illustrated by Hannah’s begrudging acknowledgment of the standing ovation at her perfect vocals.

The BYC family never cease to fill me with joy, and I am forever grateful.

Here are some more memories: