A former pupil brought back some sax appeal to St Aidan’s High School in Preesall today.
Saxophonist Dan Forshaw was born and brought up in Fleetwood and since leaving the Fylde coast in 2005, he has performed all over the world but still keeps a loyal following here, largely through his work promoting and performing jazz at the Villa Hotel in Wrea Green from 2003 to 2011.
Dan traces his performing passion to his St Aidan’ music teacher John Bowen who taught him from 1992 to 1997.
“Having a teacher like him was immense,” says Dan. “His passion for music was so infectious that you just couldn’t help but be swept up by it. He loved music and it showed.”
John is now a composer and piano tutor in Shropshire. His music has been performed by soloists and choirs across the UK and he contributed a composition to Dan’s last album, Metanarrative.
In honour of his former teacher, Dan today presented St Aidan’s with the John Bowen Prize for Music, which he hopes will inspire a new generation of student musicians.
Dan says he never felt any kind of connection with the school awards he himself was given.
“They were very much, you’ve done well at music, well done… and then nothing to say, where next?” he said. “I want to give an award that says well done, now what are you going to do with the skills and talent you obviously have?
“I decided that I needed to do something extra, it’s hard to get noticed as the kid who is good at music. Sports are easy to get recognition for, but music is much harder. I decided that as part of the award I will give up an afternoon of my time for the next 30 years and go in and mentor not just the winning student but those others willing to listen.”
Dan now lives outside Cambridge but feels his St Aidan’s visits will be important.
Dan started his two month UK tour in Blackpool last weekend and be performing at The Galleon Club on Abingdon Street tomorrow from 9pm.