Band Members from the Abraham Darby Specialist School for the Performing Arts, Madeley, Telford will be bidding a sad farewell to Simon Platford at the End of Academic Year Concert this coming Thursday 19th July 2007, after over 12 years dedicated service at the School. This recent period of time has witnessed tremendous sustained and consistent success at the School across the wide ranging Bands and Ensembles at the School at a number of National and International Events and Festivals, which have resulted in the School bands achieving a very high profile. Simon Platford has been the Musical Director principally of the Showband (sponsored by Newport Chiropractics) and the Jazz Band (sponsored by Chris Jones, Builders). During his tenure of the Showband it has become one of the best wind band of its type within the country – having won many prestigious prizes in recent years. The most notable achievement of the Showband was the Outstanding Performance Award which was presented to the Showband at the 2006 National Festival of Music for Youth which represented the fifth consecutive occasion (and their sixth award in seven years) that the School had won this coveted prize. This being an unprecedented achievement as no other single school within the School's National Wind Band Section in the Music for Youth Festival has achieved the same degree of success. The Showband have also been awarded the Highly Commended Award on three separate occasions and have also been invited to perform on three occasions at the Music for Youth – Schools Prom Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The Showband have also participated in the National Concert Band Festival – National Festival, where the Showband have achieved National Gold Awards for seven consecutive years from 2000 until 2006, and also winning two Consistent Outstanding Achievement Awards in 2002 and 2005. In 2007, the Showband achieved a Gold Award at the New York Wind Band Festival in March 2007, which saw them perform on the stage of the World famous Carnegie Hall. They have also performed at World Music Contest in Kerkrade, Holland, where they have also received two successive Gold Medals. The School’s Jazz Band has also enjoyed successes at various National Festivals with two Outstanding Performance Awards at the National Festival of Music for Youth in 2002 and 2003, and a Highly Commended Award in 2000. The Jazz Band has also performed at the Schools Prom Concert in 2002. The Jazz Band has also participated in the National Concert Band Festival where the band has also achieved National Gold awards in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, with a further Consistent Outstanding Achievement award in 2004 with Silver awards being attained in 2001 and 2006. During his time at the School Simon has also ensured that the school bands remain active within its local community staging concerts and other performances at many charitable and community events, which has assisted in raising in excess of £10,000 for many charities, principally the Severn Hospice and Hope House. Simon Platford, said that he was very sorry to be leaving the school but that he has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the School. He paid tribute to all the Band members that have progressed through the School and that as a result of their long hours of commitment and dedication that they have achieved unparalleled success. I have also been keen to ensure that all the band members work for the benefit of the community and those that are less fortunate than themselves and that this is an integral part of their time at the school. The School will be saying a formal goodbye to Simon at the End of Academic Year Concert to be held at the School on Thursday 19th July commencing at 7.30 pm (although the Concert is now sold out).