AFTER more than 50 years as a council department, the West Sussex Music Service has now become an independent charitable company called West Sussex Music, with its headquarters in Petworth.
An entertaining event marked the symbolic handover from West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to the trustees of the dedicated new charitable company.
Adam Barker, assistant head at West Sussex Music, said: “Of course we couldn’t help but mark the occasion with some fabulous performances.
“These came from the children of Petworth Primary who composed their own song, and the West Sussex County Youth Big Band who, having shared the stage with some of the world’s most famous jazz musicians at their recent Petworth Festival concert, were keen to help us celebrate in style.”
“Our independence from the county council will mean we will now be able to apply for charitable funding and add gift-aid to future donations we receive.
“This change brings the opportunity for a fresh look at how we do business, and you will see our intent for a bright future from our new branding and website.”
Held at the new base, the Herbert Shiner School in Petworth, young musicians performed around the building with a string chamber ensemble, a brass ensemble and a jazz band made up of talented students from the West Sussex County Music Centre.
Music teacher Emily Barden has been working with children and teachers at Petworth Primary School in a project to write their own school song, which they premiered at the event.
There were speeches on the evening from James Underwood, chief executive of West Sussex Music Trust, and a handing-over of the organisation from county councillor Peter Evans to Terence Chapman, chairman of the trust.
Guests included David Tupper, former High Sheriff of West Sussex, and the current High Sheriff, Patrick Burges.
Also in attendance were MP Tim Loughton, Chichester District councillor for Petworth Eileen Lintill, arts patron Sir Sebastian Anstruther and Petworth county councillor Janet Duncton.
For more information about the service, visit www.westsussexmusic.co.uk