A steel band is transforming the sound of Mozart and Tchaikovsky by giving it a calypso twist.
St Michael and All Angels Steel Band, made up of about 50 youngsters from around the borough, is learning to play classical music on steel drums.
The summer holiday workshops take place at St Michael and All Angels Church in Hillside, Stonebridge, and aims to encourage young people to learn about discipline and respect through music.
Band master, arranger and tuner, Alfred Toussaint, who is also known as Freddie, founded the band in 1996 and is delighted so many of the borough's youth are attending the lessons.
He said: "I have been playing since I was a little boy and even played in front Princess Margaret when she visited the West Indies after she got married.
"Over the years I have worked with many famous people. I met John Lennon and worked with Fleetwood
Mac, Errol Brown, Leo Sayer and George Michael. If only I could have become rich and famous.
"Living in Brent I realised children need something to do to keep them off the streets. I knew a lot of them listen to reggae music and hip hop but my aim is to turn them into classical musicians."
St Michael and All Angels Steel Band was awarded a Lottery grant which has enabled the band to grow in strength and at the moment is learning to play Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty.
Mr Toussaint, who is married and has five children, said: "The steel band aims to keep kids focused. If you listen to them play it sounds like a miracle. To play classical music on steel drums the drums have to be well tuned. But if they are it sounds magical. Hopefully the project will raise the youngsters' self-esteem, develop them as people, educate them and teach them how to work with others. It may sound a little odd but some people say Tchaikovsky was mad, and listen to the beautiful music he created."
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