Top musical duo donate keyboard to help students

Music teacher Leanne Farrer with the keyboard from the Pet Shop Boys.  She is pictured with pupils Liz Douglas, Sandra Fleming and Peter Kerrone.
Music teacher Leanne Farrer with the keyboard from the Pet Shop Boys. She is pictured with pupils Liz Douglas, Sandra Fleming and Peter Kerrone.
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Aspiring stage stars at a Blackpool music school are one step closer to achieving their dreams thanks to a generous donation by the UK’s most successful musical duo.

Electric pop stars Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, of The Pet Shop Boys fame, donated their own Korg keyboard to the Blackpool Music Academy as part of a campaign to get more people involved in music.

Guests Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys

Guests Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys

Now students at the academy are being given the chance to learn to play music with the same keyboard the award-winning duo used on stage and in the recording studio.

John Shaw, Blackpool Music Academy chairman and founder, said: “It’s a very advanced piece of equipment. It’s like a trophy to us here at the academy, because it’s a piece of memorabilia. We’ve already had three or four people who are Pet Shop Boys fans offering to buy it from us. But we could never sell it.

“The reaction from people has just been ‘wow!’ and the sounds that come out of it are like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

“It’s massively loud and very impressive. The sound is absolutely out of this world.

“I hope we can use it for music shows and fundraising concerts.”

Mr Shaw founded the Blackpool Music Academy, with friend Jim Lomas nine years ago to help provide low-cost music lessons to poor and disabled people who would otherwise struggle to afford high-quality tutoring.

The Gazette’s ‘Give Us A Tune’ campaign encourages people to donate their old instruments to the academy on Waterloo Road in South Shore, and is supported by big names such as DJ Danny Howard, singer Litte Boots, and musical star Jodie Prenger. Good samaritans have donated guitars, keyboards, drums, and even a harp to the school, which teaches a wide range of music styles, from classical Bach and Mozart to modern pop and rock.

Now students are finally being given the chance to take advantage of the new instruments following a large renovation project, which saw many improvements to the old academy building, including new windows, repairs to the car park, new carpets and a full security system.

Mr Shaw said: “I hope the keyboard can help bring more people into the academy and get more people interested in music.

“When you tell people they’re playing the same keyboard the famous Pet Shop Boys played on one of their tours, they really feel like they’re playing something special.

“It’s a fantastic machine and I’d like to thank the Pet Shop Boys for donating it to us.”