Pearson World Changer Awards: UK Lockdown inspires musical creativity with a mission!

4th August 2020


Earlier this summer, the Musical Futures team was contacted by three young people – Johnson Harris-Herbert (aged 11) Kale Harris-Herbert (aged 10) and Indiana Harris-Herbert (aged 6) who wanted to let us know what they’d been doing with their time during the UK lockdown. Turns out, quite a lot!

What started out as a homework project for Kale and Indiana very soon developed into a family songwriting session with the siblings jamming in their mum and dad’s
living room, and even their elder sister joining in!  The experience was so much fun that they decided to form a band – The Stencil Pencils – with Kale coming up with the name! Their first song that was inspired, quite naturally, inspired by the global pandemic as well as a celebration of Captain Tom Moore’s endeavours and was called ‘Quarantine/Covid19’.  The trio then filmed a video to accompany the song and performed their first live show to neighbour’s as part of the VE Day street celebrations on Friday 8th May. 2020.

What makes their creative journey all the more compelling is that Kale Harris-Herbert has Asperger’s and consequently finds it extremely difficult to make friends within his peer group.  In spite of this, he is a great advocate for overcoming his disabilities, as his energy and enthusiasm for the band demonstrates!

The Stencil Pencils say that their aim is to inspire children to make their voices heard – they wrote ‘Gullible’ after watching the news and seeing what was happening around the world.  The song covers all the questions they wanted to put to UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson! Since then, they have embarked on a string of local radio broadcasts, appearances and interviews – latest news is that Autism Parenting Magazine have been in touch after seeing a previous article on the Stencil Pencils by Dr Anna Kennedy OBEMeanwhile, the Stencil Pencils continue to rehearse in their parent’s living room which they have now commandeered as their new music.

For more details and to listen to their song “Gullible” checkout the band’s Stencil Pencils Facebook page 

What has inspired your students to get creative during lockdown?

The Pearson World Changer Awards: Celebrating the Global Citizens and Young Pioneers of Tomorrow

Musical Futures has joined forces with learning company Pearson to support their World Changer Awards and help spread some positivity!

Whether it’s setting up projects to protect wildlife and the environment, running art installations to connect world cultures, or music projects to champion youth voice or one of the heart-warming initiatives witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards will highlight the passion and causes being pioneered by 5-19 year-olds in schools, homes and communities across Britain.

Musical Futures will be supporting their Creative Award, which will celebrate the children and young people who are using the likes of music, art, drama and dance to drive positive change in the world.

Excellent workshops ‑ extremely accessible for all abilities and levels."

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra