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Star opens new Yarmouth school

PUBLISHED: 09:30 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 30 June 2010

Keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman gave an emphatic “Yes” to a £2m school of music, drama and dance at Great Yarmouth College yesterday.

And the 1970s prog-rock star and band member of Yes admitted he was a bit jealous as he officially opened the building, which has music and dance studios, rehearsal rooms and a 110-seat theatre.

Keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman gave an emphatic “Yes” to a £2m school of music, drama and dance at Great Yarmouth College yesterday.

And the 1970s prog-rock star and band member of Yes admitted he was a bit jealous as he officially opened the building, which has music and dance studios, rehearsal rooms and a 110-seat theatre.

Mr Wakeman, who now lives in Norfolk, was joined at the opening

by fellow keyboard star Dave Greenslade, who played in the bands Greenslade and Colosseum and with Phil Collins and bluesman John Lee Hooker.

As the 1970s music legends toured the school of arts and creative technologies, which opened to students in September, they compared it with the spartan facilities they had when they were starting out in the world of music.

Mr Wakeman said: “When I was at sixth form we had a 78 record player and a piano - that was it. It is just amazing to see what is here today.

“We are both children of the 60s, but we would not mind being a kid of 2010.”

Mr Greenslade, who also lives on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, said he was impressed with the school and thought it would be a good place to study music and other performing arts.

Both musicians also enjoyed watching student band Eight performing rock songs in the audit-orium.

The new school has replaced a century-old building that used to house performing arts and music students in cold, cramped conditions.

Construction work on the build-

ing started in November 2008.

College principal Robin Parkinson said: “As they say, this train has been a long time coming, but finally it has arrived.”

It is hoped the school, also known as Studio 2 and 3, will be used to promote performing arts across the borough of Yarmouth.

Mr Parkinson said: “What we believe is that the school will reach out to the community.”

As well as seeing the school's spacious theatre, Mr Wakeman and Mr Greenslade saw a colourful exhibition of work by photography, fashion and textiles, art and media students.

The two stars were invited to officially open the school by music lecturer and former EDP reporter Paddy Shaw, who knows them

both.

Mr Shaw said: “This school is going to open a lot of doors for students and the wider community.”

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