My names Aarshiya, I'm 15 years old, and I'm volunteering to run the blog for today's Afrocats activity session.
In the beginning, everyone was shy and just trying to break their bubbles. Mags established what we were doing today, and everyone followed Mags while she followed protocol and showed them around. Everyone came back and sat back down. Mags then spoke to us about the available food, and she made the environment as enjoyable as possible, considering that no one had seen anyone other than their household.
For the singing part of the exercise, everyone was already starting to get a bit more comfortable. Tosin introduced herself and explained what we were going to do today. We started with the vocal exercises and talked about the need to prep our voices and their effects.
Everyone was mixing and talking to each other and getting ready for enjoying their vocal class. During every different exercise, Tosin explained why the activity was used. Therefore, everyone was getting ready to sing their best; they also learned why this enhanced their voices. Tosin made sure to stay in coronavirus guidelines during the exercise, and she also created a friendly environment for everyone involved. We then performed our 'vocal range sirens'.
Everyone was getting along, and the atmosphere was enjoyable. We then started singing a song and getting used to everyone else's vocal ranges and voices. We all bounced off Tosin's lead and created a beautiful melody. She made sure that everyone knew that there wasn't any pressure on anyone to take the information and made this very comfortable for everyone involved.
Tosin then asked a few girls to share the lead with her, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was a very uplifting and upbeat experience for everyone, including the volunteers. By bouncing off and sharing the lead, everyone's voices finally opened up and created a beautiful melody.
Once everyone was motivated and more comfortable, we paused and got to know everyone and their music preferences. We started with Anola and went around the circle. As we went around the circle, there was a definite range in taste. It was interesting to listen to the different ways people viewed music, from Ed Sheeran to Afrobeats, and everyone seemed very passionate about their favourites.
Tosin then introduced the piece that we were doing today - 'Stand up' by Cynthia Erivo. We then all listened to the song and got a feel of how it went. We then sung the song with Tosin and the backing track and altered any bits we needed to. From the first try, we could already hear it coming together. Tosin explained the use of emotion in the song and showed us how to use it to our best ability. We went through every line together and bounced off Tosin. We did half of the chorus and performed the song with the backing track. Everyone was getting a feel of the music and starting to get comfortable with the theme. Once we got a sense of the chorus, everyone performed the acapella and then again with the backing track. Everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves. Before committing for one last time, Tosin made sure to encourage us to be confident and reminded us about the need for emotions in our voices.
After getting a confidence boost, we performed the chorus one last time.
For the dancing session, everyone pushed the chairs out of the way and took their shoes off, ready to dance. While maintaining social distancing, we all stood in a circle and starting warming up. we began by playing the game 'Pass the Clap.'
It was a fun and uplifting activity that geared everyone up for what lay ahead. After the workout, we went around the circle and introduced our names and included it in the game. It broke the tension between everyone, and everyone got familiar with each other. Through a few more fun activities, we got to know everyone a bit more while having fun. After doing those exercises, Maya played a song and got everyone moving a bit more.
Everyone started to move a bit more and warm up. Maya then went around the circle and asked everyone for their favourite moves and made a fun dance to include them in. Including all the fun activities from the beginning and the fun dances that ever made, everyone was performing and having an enjoyable time. Lloyd was feeling 'energised, entertained and motivated' after doing the dance routine. Lastly, Maya did a few stretches to came everyone down after the fun dance routine. Everyone was getting along much better, and everyone felt comfortable during the experience.
After everyone calmed down, mags sat down with everyone in a circle and asked them what they liked about the session, and almost everyone said that they enjoyed meeting new people. Everyone loved both the activities and said that they could express themselves and have fun. And to finish off, we listened to some music and ate some food. Overall, it was a fun and exciting experience, and we did everything within the social distance protocols.
Thank you to Children in Need, Arts Council England, volunteers, artists and last but not least the children and parents for making this day possible. We had lots of fun.