Fight to save music school

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A COUNCILLOR has vowed to fight a ‘scandalous’ decision to close a Cleckheaton music school.

Coun Kath Pinnock said the Kirklees Music Centre’s decision to close its Cleckheaton class and move places to Mirfield was ‘terrible’ – and is appealing to parents to try to help reverse it.

She said: “The music school has been the centre of young musical development in the whole of Spen Valley. I’m totally dismayed.

“I have spoken to the school to try to find out why they made this decision and money is the top and bottom of it. They know there will be a significant drop off. It’s scandalous.”

Coun Pinnock said both her daughters had gone to the school and were now accomplished musicians.

She said: “One of my daughters plays the oboe in an orchestra in Peterborough and my other daughter is becoming quite a well known composer in Berlin and had her music played in the Queen’s festival hall. It’s all thanks to the music centre.”

Huddersfield-based Kirklees Music School provides lessons for adults and children and runs music groups, orchestras and ensembles. It is closing Cleckheaton and two other centres after a dip in funding from Kirklees Council and central government.

Principal Thom Meredith said Batley and Cleckheaton wouldclose, and classes move to Mirfield Music Centre, renamed KMS North.

To help cope with demand, he said ‘satellite’ groups would be set up, allowing smaller groups to practice for concerts in a convenient location.

He said the changes would strengthen the music school, and ensure ensemble provision was financially viable for the future.

But Coun Pinnock said: “The music centre encouraged children to come together and perform and that’s what music is about. Now many won’t have an incentive to learn. It’s a tragedy.”

She is putting a petition on her website and encouraging people to fight the decision through the Lib Dem Focus newsletter.

Spen MP Mike Wood has said he will support a fight to save the music centre.

l HAVE your children been affected by the closure?

Contact reporter Lauren Ballinger on 01274 874635 or at lauren.ballinger@ywng.co.uk.