Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager Toby Chelms has used his passion for music to raise money for a local bar, music and arts venue during the COVID-19 crisis.
Music enthusiast Toby has raised £400 for Leeds venue Wharf Chambers, after creating and selling an album through his family friendly music initiative Youth Anthems.
In March, Toby launched Bedtime Stories, an online community project bringing together musicians and promoters from across the UK to read and perform children’s stories, nursery rhymes and popular songs, often with their own children.
From the 50 episodes recorded, Toby selected 18 songs and nursery rhymes to create a digital album, Youth Anthems Bedtime Stories, with all sales going towards keeping Wharf Chambers afloat whilst they applied for new government funding.
Since setting up Youth Anthems in 2013, Toby has hosted live music events at Wharf Chambers, as well as venues in West Yorkshire and Brighton. The aim of Youth Anthems is to promote live music for all in welcoming and accessible venues and introduce young people to the idea that anyone can be involved with music regardless of age, gender, culture or ability.
The events are often linked to local charities and community organisations, as well as providing a platform for new and upcoming bands.
Toby said: “When I first started going to gigs as a teenager in Watford, I was introduced to DIY punk gigs in school halls, community centres, working men’s clubs, rugby clubs and even on a golfing green on one occasion. I was very lucky that I got to see some great bands and started to appreciate how great a scene existed and one that I have been a part of ever since.
“Fast forward 20 years and I’m living in Leeds, married with a young daughter and I’ve been putting on DIY punk gigs myself for the best part of 17 years. They are a great way to introduce young people to community music events and ensure that parents who are responsible for children are able to stay connected to this scene by providing a safe and welcoming space for families to enjoy music together.”
Leeds-based singer and musician Nicky Bray has supported Youth Anthems events since 2013 and features on Youth Anthems Bedtime Stories. She said: “I was chuffed to bits when Toby asked if I'd be involved with Bedtime Stories; it sounded like a wonderful way to entertain and uplift families during lockdown. I remember feeling an incredible rush of emotion when I first performed live on Instagram – it felt incredible to be able to connect with people in that way, and there were tears of sadness and happiness before I'd even picked up my guitar.”
She added: “Wharf Chambers is a hugely important local venue and safe space which hosts a wide range of diverse gigs and events, and it would be a huge loss to the Leeds music community if it didn't survive the current crisis.”
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