Kids Aloud brings message of unity

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A brand new musical based on a Nepalese folk tale rocked Harrogate’s Royal Hall last weekend.

Monkey Boy was performed by pupils from 14 local schools and two others from Nepal, who also came up with the ideas for the words and music.

The show was part of Kids Aloud, a concert project organised by members of Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club, which saw 40 Nepalese children and their teachers spend two weeks in Harrogate rehearsing and sight seeing.

Rotary spokesman Graham Chilvers said the spectacular was part of a scheme to improve IT in Nepal and added: “It was full of magic and dreams.

“The first song, A Million Dreams from the film The Greatest Showman, set the tone.

“There were others from imaginary worlds including Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas, Almost There from The Princess and the Frog and Hallelujah from Shrek, the hall filled with children’s voices from Harrogate and Nepal.

“In and amongst there were a traditional British dance by Harrogate girls and four enchanting songs and dances from the Nepalese children in their colourful national costume and accompanied on traditional instruments. That in itself was magical.”

He added: “Then came Monkey Boy.

“It’s a story about someone in a family who is different and about how he comes to save the family by being the cleverest of them all.

“It’s full of witchcraft, haunted woods and a horrible meal. The ideas for the words and music came from the children.”

Rotarian Guy Wilson and renowned Indian composer Shri Sriram put the finishing touches to the story.

Most of the songs were in English though they included a haunting Nepalese Lullaby.

Graham added: “Their tone, however was Nepalese, from Namaste, the traditional greeting, to Mango (“Pick it off the tree and eat it for your tea/A mango is the key to a good chutney”).

“There was the scary Lost and Hungry, the nasty So Juicy So Sweet and the final triumphant We Killed the Witch all sung with gusto and delight – and actions.”

The show, conducted at various points by Ben Coulson, Carmel Wake and Sumit Pokhrel, was ended with the theme of families.

“In a world in which people seem to spend a lot of time falling out with each other, it was inspiring to be reminded that we are one family,” added Graham.

“The evidence, if we needed it, was there in front of us as children from opposite sides of the world sang each other’s songs.

“It was all about magic. It was all about making dreams come true.”