PHOTOS: Sussex By The Sea blasted on Eastbourne seafront in protest against music service cuts

Alan Thomas and many other musicians at Eastbourne Bandstand protesting about the cuts to East Sussex Music Service (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Alan Thomas and many other musicians at Eastbourne Bandstand protesting about the cuts to East Sussex Music Service (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Music lovers from across the county and beyond joined forces for a spirited protest on the seafront at the weekend.

Alan Thomas, principal trumpet at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led the charge against proposed cuts to the East Sussex Music Service in the demonstration at the Bandstand on Saturday (April 28), where the spirited group blasted out Sussex By The Sea from 4pm.

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

Alan said, “I thought: something’s got to be done, we need to get people out and about rather than just angry on social media.

“I’m a product of the East Sussex Music Service. I’m totally appalled at the thought the music service could be cut by East Sussex County Council.”

Alan, who is used to performing at the Royal Albert Hall, started out playing for the wind and youth orchestras in East Sussex between 1990 and 1996 and studied at the music academy in Lewes.

When asked if he thought he would be where he is today without the service he said, “No, I don’t think any musicians stand a chance without that help.

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

“At the end of the day it’s not just about being professional. It’s about children getting a chance to learn an instrument. If they are disadvantaged they just won’t get that chance.

“It’s the skill set and release that children get from playing music, the team work and skills you get are incredible.

“But it seems to be shoved aside all the time in the expense of English and Maths. Having affordable music lessons in schools is essential.”

This comes after the county council announced it is looking at closing the instrumental service, which delivers music lessons to around 7,000 children in schools across the county, by 2019.

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

ESCC’s Lead Member for Education Councillor Bob Standley is making a decision whether to consult on the proposals today (Monday) and protesters have gathered outside County Hall.

Meanwhile a petition against the proposal has surpassed 10,000 signatures and is available here.

A spokesperson for the county council said, “As the petition has over 5,000 signatures it has triggered a full council debate.

“If the lead member agrees the recommendations in the report on Monday then the lead petitioner can submit the report at any time to trigger the Council debate.”

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

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Jack Humberstone and many other musicians at Eastbourne Bandstand protesting about the cuts to East Sussex Music Service (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Jack Humberstone and many other musicians at Eastbourne Bandstand protesting about the cuts to East Sussex Music Service (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby