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ST VINCENT COLLEGE TEACHER HONOURED BY GOSPORT MAYOR FOR CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC

Music teacher Chris Harris has been honoured by Gosport Mayor, Jamie Hutchison, with a Gosport 100 Award for his contribution to music in the area.

The award was presented to the Head of Music as part of the borough’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Mr Harris and his partner Megan were invited to the council chamber to receive the award.

“It was fantastic and such a surprise, I have no idea who nominated me,” he said. “I was told I’d been nominated by our Principal Andy Grant and then I got an email to say I’d been given the award while I was with my parents back home in Sunderland, which was nice because they were buzzing for me.”

Mr Harris, who has been at St Vincent for nine years, works with music venues and gig promoters across the area to find venues for students to perform. He runs six courses that encompass music performance and music technology at Level 2 and 3.

He also runs community workshops involving secondary school pupils from across the area. “They are great because we get the pupils in to learn instruments and then help them put together sets and we also get them performing out at gigs,” he said.

Chris Harris receiving his Gosport 100 Award from Gosport Mayor Jamie Hutchison

Student bands have performed at venues all over the area as well as at festivals including Victorious in Portsmouth and the Wickham Festival in the summer.

Working alongside Councillor Peter Chegwin, our students got to perform on the same stage as iconic bands like Levellers, The Waterboys, and 10cc at Wickham Festival,” said Mr Harris. We’ve played many times at Wickham and always have a blast. But to play on both main stages across the full weekend was something really special and a highlight of my teaching career.”

Later this month on Friday 16 December, more than 40 students will perform at a gig at Quay West Studios – but their involvement will be more than just performing.

“The venue owner Louis Crowe gave the students a talk about what is involved in running a venue and putting on a show,” said Mr Harris.

“He has involved them in the gig by giving six of them individual roles. He’s given them insights on how he runs events so they have been able to see how to run a venue, set up the stage, liaise with artists and so on, so that is really quite special for them.”

St Vincent Principal Andy Grant said the award is well deserved. “Chris embodies the ethos of St Vincent because he puts so much effort into creating a brilliant learning experience for his students. Not only does he nurture and encourage their talent, he also makes sure they understand the realities of the business they have set their sights on and that really prepares them for their next step.

“We are all absolutely delighted for Chris and very proud of what he has achieved for himself and the college.”

Mr Harris said the award was just as much a testament to the college and its approach to learning as it was for him. “It’s a boost for me but also the students were really quite happy about it too,” he said.

“It’s also lovely to be able to tell prospective parents and students at open evenings that we’ve been recognised for what we do by the mayor. It’s just very exciting.”

Student enrolment for 2022/23 almost doubled over the previous year and open days for next year have been extremely busy. “It feels like we are really moving in the right direction and have really got some momentum now,” said Mr Harris.