The long awaited and highly anticipated evening with ‘Safe Ambition’ at Sacred Heart, was a fantastic success!
Steve Burrowes is writing about an evening of entertainment and inspiration from ‘Safe Ambition’, on behalf of the CAT East CAFOD group to help raise funds for their ‘Turn on the taps’, Lenten Appeal.
On Friday, 7th June an audience of 150 CAFOD friends and supporters were entertained and inspired by 8 members of Safe Ambition. Some of the youngsters were performing, live, for the 1st time! The ensemble were supported by their own sound technician, photographer, parents and mentors!
The whole evening raised over £1500!
‘Safe Ambition’ is just one part of a project, based in the parish of The Sacred Heart. It was established in February 2011 for the benefit of all members of the community. The project’s mission is to provide a safe, friendly, inspirational place that encourages, affirms and challenges – their strap-lines being ‘Social Action Rooted in Faith’ and ‘Ambition, More than Music’. The project is driven by the parishes’ Christian beliefs, which give them a passion for outreach. In common with CAFOD, they work with and for youngsters of “all faiths and none”.
I first came across the group soon after I started working for CAFOD in Salford. Back in March I met up with Fr Andrew Stringfellow, the former Parish Priest, who suggested visiting the project during a rehearsal. I was thoroughly inspired! The project is an outstanding example of what our church can and should do for the youth. By the end of the evening I left them with a promise – that CAFOD-Salford would give them a platform to share their incredible project across the Diocese of Salford, whilst raising funds for CAFOD at the same time.
The CAFOD group were, initially, a little nervous about ‘booking’ such an unknown, youthful ‘act’ !
“Would the audience ‘get them’ ?”
“Would they sing anything the audience knew ?”
“What if they play that ‘drum and bass’ stuff ?”
After some discussion the group decided to go ahead, trusting in ‘the God of small surprises’.
Doors opened at 7.00 pm – a trickle at first but before long the hall began to fill. As people began to take their seats some anxiety remained. Would all the people who’d bought tickets show ? Could ‘Safe Ambition’ win over the ‘doubting Thomas’ and compete with the opening games of Euro 2016 ? The CAFOD East team fluttered about, selling raffle tickets, answering question and queries, sharing what they knew of ‘Safe Ambition’. Just behind the gentle chatter and clinking of glasses a few songs from ‘Safe Ambition’ played. This song – ‘Little Girl’ – as an ex-teacher of, sometimes, tortured and vulnerable secondary school students, caught my ear. It augured well !
Appreciative eyebrows were raised and a sense of hopeful anticipation began to well.
“What surprise did CAFOD East have in store?”
“This was worth coming out for!”
By 7.30 the hall was full, to capacity and the show was set to begin, introduced by Barry, a long-standing and faithful CAFOD volunteer from Sacred Heart.
Expectations were surpassed and exceeded! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s entertainment. The play-list featured solos, duets and group renditions of well-known classics and modern covers, including a fine rendition of Ben Ezra’s ‘Listen to the Man’, by Brendan, one of the founder members of ‘Safe Ambition’.
The audience buzzed with appreciation and admiration. A Chinese-whispered request for more of the ‘back story’ was relayed to the compere. The whole evening was compered by Rob, a primary school teacher. Rob introduced each of the artists and, in between songs, shared with the audience some of the history of the project, it’s mission, values and objectives – raising self-esteem, aspirations and resilience, when faced with all the challenges they face.
We enjoyed just a flavour of some of their own songs, inspired by their own life experiences and challenges set before them!
We were amazed! You’ll want to book them!
Rob’s in-put enriched the whole evening and allowed the audience to look behind what we saw on stage. This made the evening even more special and inspirational. You could sense his pride in introducing the younger performers.
The first set of songs flowed, seamlessly! The youngsters sang with confidence, joy and passion. During the interval the bar re-opened, drinks were re-plenished, the audience tucked into a welcome plate of sandwiches and nibbles provided by members of Sacred Heart’s CAFOD volunteer team and Barry orchestrated a well-stocked raffle! The second set was a good as the first and before long the audience were demanding an encore!!
Left to right :Rachel, Rebecca, Kirsty, Melisha, Amber, Clare Jordan – and off camera, on guitar, Matt.
It was a fantastic evening – an overwhelming success. The unanimous reaction of the organisers was that they need not have worried about booking ‘Safe Ambition’ and that they would have no hesitation in recommending ‘Safe Ambition’ to any other CAFOD group or parish.
‘Safe Ambition’ singers, supporters and mentors, with Steve Burrowes (CAFOD Salford) at the end of their fantastic, inaugural event for CAFOD, at Sacred Heart.
Melisha and Amber, who had performed live for the 1st time, are holding the Diocese’s ‘Lampedusa Cross’, as we remembered our brother and sister refugees during the night and wrote messages of support and hope to them.
True their commitment, ‘Safe Ambition’ would be delighted to perform at an event you may be organising. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you would like ‘Safe Ambition’ to perform for you!
Tel : 0161 705 0605