"THE DRESDEN EXPERIENCE" LAUNCHES GLOBAL ROCK CHALLENGE IN MAINLAND EUROPE
It was Easter 2003 ... a holiday for many, but not for the members of three UK Rock Challenge teams (nor for Juno, Zoie and Dave either :) who willingly gave of their time and energy to launch Global Rock Challenge in Germany on Easter Monday.
The teams - Ryde High, Wavell and Wildern schools, all from the southern UK series - travelled variously by coach and plane and were joined in the packed Staatschauspiel, Dresden by teams from four German schools: Mittelschule 38, Mittelschule 56, Mittelschule Boxdorf and the Werner-von-Siemens Gymnasium.
The event was described by UK Producer Juno Hollyhock as "Fantastic!" She added "All of the distinguished guests were very impressed with the standard of the performances. The day went extremely well with everyone working very hard to ensure that a good time was had by all. It was also great to see all the students making a real effort with their language skills."
Helen Sjoquist (of Global Rock Challenge in Sydney, Australia) added "What a wonderful event you planned, organised and ran in Dresden on Monday night. Congratulations to you all."
Taking Global Rock Challenge to mainland Europe was conceived as a cultural and language experience as well as a Rock Challenge experience - team members stayed with host families (which limited most teams to 40 or 50 members only), enjoyed sight-seeing trips around the historic city and took part in lessons at their host schools.
Phil Branch (Liaison Teacher at Wavell School) said "Thankyou!!!!!!! What a fantastic experience for the kids. I think they drove most of the passengers mad on the way home on the planes - they were all so excited about the whole thing - so thanks for getting the thing together: the UK events give them a great experience but this was something else!"
Bob Thomas (Hampshire County Council's Inspector for Modern Languages) emailed Juno to say "It was really great working with you, Zoie and David. Please pass on my thanks to them. I've never been part of anything like this before and you people were just superb."
"When we had the idea during the European Year of Languages to give youngsters from across Europe the chance to come together for a Rock Challenge it was nothing more than a dream. I'm good at dreaming but you made it happen and I'm very grateful to you for that."
"I want also to thank you on behalf of the County Council and its schools over here as well as on behalf of the Hampshire-Dresden Link. A large number of young people have enjoyed an international experience that they would not have had without your efforts. The Hampshire-Dresden link has become much stronger and we (Hampshire folk, and perhaps Brits in general) have been seen as real "can-do" people. That can only help us in the future to strengthen the links even further and meet the prime objectives behind the link of bringing people together, helping them to understand each other and of learning and using each others' languages."
Team members were positive too. Kirsty (from Ryde High) emailed "I just want to say a quick thank you to the Global Rock team (Dave, Juno and Zoie) for letting us come to Dresden with them! It was sooo cool! I loved every minute of it, and I did attempt German!" while Kerrie from Wavell said "The school we stayed with were great to us, and looked after us really well ... it was an amazing experience!!" Danni (from Wavell) commented "On Sunday night we made cooked bread on a stick over a fire. When we went into town the next day the sights were amazing! The view from our changing-room balcony was totally amazing. All of Dresden was lit up and it was so beautiful."
German student Jolanta emailed to say "I want to thank you for this great day in Dresden, I am from the Werner-von-Siemens Gymnasium and I`ve really enjoyed taking part in this event" and Alison Neasom (Liaison Teacher from Widern) added "German teacher Heiko Vogel was very impressed with the Rock Challenge organisation and he felt that the evening made the right impression on the right people, so well done. Our host families were absolutely great. The whole school came out to see us off! Amazing!!"
It is ironic that Global Rock Challenge on the European mainland has been given such a positive start by the UK Rock Challenge crew together with team members from Ryde High, Wavell and Wildern schools just as support for the 2004 events here in the UK has faltered. Despite the positive and beneficial effects participation has, not only in combating substance abuse among young people but also in enhancing their social standing and improving their educational outcomes, major commercial sponsorship (so crucial in supporting, growing and developing UK Rock Challenge through from 1996 to 2003) is seriously missing for 2004 and beyond. Strenuous efforts to remedy this situation have been under way for months now, but it is hard going. It is worth remembering too that Rock Challenge receives no funding from Central Government.
I want to say a quick thank you to the Global Rock Challenge team (Dave, Juno and Zoie) for letting us come to Dresden with them! It was soo cool! I loved every minute of it, and I did attempt German!
I can't wait till the whole world is obsessed with Rock Challenge. If anyone from the Wavell or Wildern teams want to get in touch or - for that matter - any of the German schools, especially my partner school and Elisa (she was wkd!) give me a buzz at school.
John - do you know if the English teams are going to get a video of their performances in Dresden and of the big finale? I would really love to see it ... Zoie, you are the dancing queen!
Kirsty (aka Madonna) - Ryde High School
Hiya everyone. It's Claire from Wavell.
Just like to say well done to everyone who went to Dresden and performed on Monday 14th April. It was sooo fun! The finale dance was really cool as well!
I had a lot of fun and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Hello to everyone who was at the German Rock Challenge! It was an amazing time, and we met some great people - both English and German!
We flew to Germany on Saturday morning and we were welcomed by our host German families.
We went sightseeing with them during the afternoon and saw the sights in Dresden, then went to a BBQ at their school in the evening.
Sunday was pretty much the same (sightseeing etc. with our German hosts) and then on Monday we were at the Rock Challenge event, where we watched all the schools practice and did the warm-ups and everything we do over here. Thankyou soooo much to the Rock Challenge crew who made the day such amazing fun for all of us!
All the pieces that were done by the German schools were very good ... the school we stayed with did theirs on the theme of the bombing of Dresden in World War 2.
When the evening came we were all really nervous because there were lots of very important people there, but all the performanes went well. Then we did the finale routine and that went well, with all the schools on stage doing the same thing! It looks amazing from the photos we got!
On Tuesday our team went to the German school and did 2 lessons with them. I went to two English lessons, which were very good for most of the German students seemed to speak better English than us!
Finally we flew home! It was an amazing experience!
I think Ryde High School spent 22 hours on a coach to get to Dresden, and they still had sooo much energy on the day of Rock Challenge. They were lovely people!
The German school we stayed with were great to us, and looked after us really well!
Kerrie from Wavell School xx
Returned Tuesday night from DRESDEN after spending three nights with Ryde High School. I even managed to speak a bit of German!
The atmosphere in the wings during the finale was electric - I think the wings were actually bigger than the auditorium! Thanks to Miss Evans, Mr Brazier, Mr Giblin, Mrs Maude, Mrs Thompson, Mr Lines, Big McG, and last but not least Julianne (for translating for all of us at the theatre.)
Also - a big thank you to JUNO, ZOIE and last but by no means least, the brilliant DAVE.
Well done to all - English and German schools - everyone was a winner!
Dan - RYDE HIGH Stage Crew :)
It's Nick here, from Wavell.
WOW!! WHAT a weekend (and a bit more) in Dresden.
Thank you so much, Rock Challenge, for inviting Wavell to Dresden. I had a brilliant time and it was a great experience staying with a German family.
Also a special thanks to Zoie for all the support - you are a star.
See you all soon.
I want to thank you for this great day in Dresden.
I am from the Werner-von-Siemens Gymnasium and I`ve really enjoyed taking part in this event.
Your stage manager (David) always had a friendly word and a smart smile and I want to thank him, too.
The schools who took part at Dresden (and their themes) were:
Wavell School (Legacy)
The venue was really posh. It was small but looked quite big. The stage was massive.
THE SPECIAL AWARDS AT DRESDEN:
Best Hair and Make Up - Mittelschule 38
EARLY STAGES - THE WAVELL SCHOOL
Zoie from Rock Challenge came to teach the finale: "I can't believe how excited they are!"
"Do I really have to do the finale - I AM the stage crew!"
Ted (again): "Yippee!! Ted can go now!"
Hope that helps :)