UK: Former Yes keyboard wiz Rick Wakeman has become a patron of the organisation's keyboard department, writes David Davies. The solo artist, author and raconteur is the newly-appointed patron of Keyboardtech at Tech Music Schools (TMS), which has been training musicians for life and work in the music industry for 26 years.
According to TMS, Wakeman's busy and highly successful career epitomises the aspirations of Tech Music Schools' students.
"We are truly delighted," said Francis Seriau, founder and managing director of TMS. "Rick's patronage is hugely important to us and to our cause. He is an incredibly talented musician and speaker who recognises and endorses the positive work we are doing to help our students attain success in their musical careers. We are honoured to have Rick's support in providing young musicians with an opportunity to gain industry training with nationally recognised qualifications in contemporary music. We look forward to having an involved and dynamic relationship with him."
Wakeman - who is also an honorary professor at TMS partner institution Thames Valley University - joins the likes of jazz drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband, session drummer Andy Newmark and soul singer Billy Ocean as a TMS patron.
"I'm very pleased to be associated with such a successful and forward-thinking music department such as this because they think beyond 'teaching'," Wakeman tells PSN-e exclusively. "As results have shown, they are constantly aware that all students will one day have to join the 'real world of music' and so as much as anything else it is preparation for this that, in my book, puts Tech Music Schools streaks ahead of anywhere else."
Recently enjoying success with his memoir Grumpy Old Rockstar, Wakeman is currently preparing for two concerts that will recreate his classic 1972 album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, in full. The performances will take place at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey on May 1 and 2 (for more information click here), and will be the subject of a future feature in Pro Sound News Europe.
Ian Barfoot, who has been Wakeman's FOH engineer for a quarter-of-a-century, confirms that Wigwam Acoustics will be supplying the PA for the shows. "It will be the usual Prog Excess," he predicts. "An orchestra and choir, plus RW's band expanded a bit with a few guests, a barking narrator and who knows what else?"