UFO invited to play at No 10 Downing Street for Windrush Reception!!
This month were thrilled to be invited to put together an ensemble steelband to play at the garden party of No.10 Downing Street on Windrush Day!
We squeezed in as many players as we could within a small staging footprint in No.10’s beautiful garden – we aimed to create a compact band with good sound quality, and at the same time share the experience with as many players as we could.
Everyone loved receiving their invite from the PM and entering through the front door of an historic building.
Security checks and set-up went seamlessly. The weather was beautiful and we loved playing to a knowing and dignified audience, breaking our set only for The Kingdom Choir to perform their’s – which was such a thrill to hear! It felt special to be there and hear ‘live’ Theresa May’s speech apologising for what has gone wrong and making promises to put things right – we witnessed a piece of history. And we felt honoured remembering that UFO Steelband is part of the Windrush legacy… it was the elders from the Caribbean community who brought steelpan to this country – which UFO players would agree has brought endless joy and nourishment to our lives. In fact both our lead tenor player Michael Toussaint and our Musical Director Jason Constantine came to UK from Trinidad in their twenties, bringing their passion for steelpan, which ultimately led UFO Steelband to No.10.
It was a special privilege to be able to include one of our visually impaired senior citizen UFO player and ‘child of the Windrush’ – Blondell Prescod – who played tenor pan and percussion and later shared “I’ve just come back down to earth… I’ve been gloating all week!!”
And we must have sounded good because we’ve just been invited back to play another event at No. 10 next week… onwards and upwards UFO!!