Cadogan Hall London Saturday 27th February 2010
have been a member of HemiHelp for many years now, and have participated
in lots of different workshops and fun days. In 2007, I took part in the
Children Helping Children concert, which was held in February 2007 at
the Cadogan Hall in London, and have been along to watch every concert
since. This year, I took part in the 6th annual fundraising concert again, and was part of the
Creative Movement dance group, performing a dance routine with other
children with hemiplegia, but I also introduced the concert too and
spoke about my disability and about HemiHelp.
There were two rehearsals held in London, one at the Unicorn Theatre and one at a community church. The children taking part were all hemiplegic, and were aged between 5 and 19. The workshops were in preparation for the concert, where we were to perform a routine based around the movements of birds, called “Off the Wire”.
We had four ladies called Vicki, Ella, Hayley and Lynne from London based dance groups who choreographed the routine, and some of the HemiHelp girls took part too.
In the first rehearsal at the Unicorn Theatre, we got the base of our performance. We looked at the movements that we could do individually and in groups and pairs. We decided to follow the movements of different types of birds for inspiration, and although at this stage the idea was not very developed, we knew that soon enough, and with enough preparation and rehearsals, we would put together a good piece for the concert.
At the second rehearsal, we developed the idea and put together a routine to perform at the concert. We would be copying the movements of swans, eagles and robins in our piece, and would dance individually and in groups. All we had to do now was set our dance routine to some music, and we had a great piece for the concert. We practiced it a few times through and all decided that it looked good, and would make the concert very special.
For my speech that I was also going to do at the concert, I had to write a script about my disability. It was a good opportunity for me to talk about my condition, as it would give everyone an idea about what it is and how it affects someone. Hemiplegia affects around one in a thousand children, so it is not very common, but it can alter someone’s life a lot and some families find it hard to come to terms with. HemiHelp gives support to families who have children and young people with hemiplegia, and so it was good that not only my speech but the whole concert would raise a lot more awareness of HemiHelp.
I had to learn my speech almost off by heart as I wanted to make it as word – perfect as possible. In the concert, I was to be the first person on stage, and would be introducing Sean Rafferty, the BBC Radio 3 broadcaster who was presiding over the concert.
On the day of the concert, our HemiHelp group did rehearsing in the morning. For most of the children participating in “Off the Wire”, it was their first time performing in front of anyone, and as there were going to be a lot of people attending the concert, this was going to be a special night for them. We rehearsed our dance routine three times to make sure it was as perfect as we could get it, and the people who watched us all said how fantastic it looked. We were all looking forward to the concert greatly by this time.
When we had finished rehearsing, Dad let me watch the other performers rehearsing what they would do for the concert. There were musicians, dancers, and singers, and they all were putting in a lot of effort to help make the concert one of the best yet.
We met the artistic director, Josephine Fitzalan Howard as we were watching, and she agreed with us that all the rehearsals were coming along brilliantly and that we were going to all make a massive difference for HemiHelp that night.
The time passed sooner than we expected it to, and before we knew it, it was time to prepare for the concert itself! Hayley, Lynne, Vicki and Ella played some games with us to help us relax before we went on stage. Because I was the first person on, I had to wait backstage for a bit before the concert began. When I was backstage I bumped into Sean Rafferty, who was very nice. I chatted to him for a while, then as the lights dimmed, I went on stage and began my speech. When it was over, I handed over to Sean Rafferty, I had to quickly dash over to the stage door with the HemiHelp group as Sean did some talking, then back on stage again to perform “Off the Wire”.
At the interval, I got the chance to go around with a donations bucket, and I even met Liz Johnson, a Paralympic gold medallist with hemiplegia. Overall, the concert was brilliant and great fun. We all were really happy at the end, knowing that we had not only performed in front of lots of people, but also been involved in doing something great for HemiHelp
20th Anniversary special
“Children helping Children” concert
Saturday 19th February 2011
Cadogan Hall, Sloan Square, London
The HemiHelp Creative Dance and Movement Group