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Meet the Team!

Martyn Mullender

Although not from a ‘musical’ family I was fortunate that in having older brothers and sister as well as parents who loved music I had a fantastic musical upbringing. My father loved classical and military band music and through my brothers and sister I was introduced to a wide range of music including The Doors, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the music of the punk and new wave eras and was fortunate to see many great performers live in the 1980s and early 90s including Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson (at his peak), U2 and Elton John. Studying at Goldsmiths College in  London I saw many great performers at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall and broadened my interest to include jazz and world music.

For the first eleven years of my career I worked as a clarinet, flute and Saxophone teacher in Essex, ran and organised numerous workshops and undertook pit work in regional theatres. I also played in a band whose main claim to fame is that we had our single played a few times on daytime Radio 1, something unheard of in 1986 for an unsigned band. Remember there was no internet at this time. However, I never became famous! I moved into classroom teaching in 1998.

We moved to Dorset in 2004 and highlights since then have included conducting the South West premier of ‘Aurora’ by Andy Read in 2006 that included a cast of 200 school and community musicians, dancers and actors and being musical director for the first youth theatre performance in Dorset of Billy Elliot in 2010. I was musical director and tenor sax player with the Mumjums soul band, headlining all local festivals and playing at the Port Elliot Literary Festival. I have also organised many performances in a wide variety of settings and the greatest pleasure is in seeing young performers grow and flourish into musicians, perhaps going onto study at university and make a career out of music or develop a lifelong passion for practical music making.

Originally project manager of Portland Rocks, I’m now a co-director responsible for the management of the workshops and securing funding. However, I will always get involved at a practical level if possible as involvement in practical music making is my favourite activity and I am keen to see the CIC develop to include music making for all ages.

James Kimber

James Kimber, founder of JK Junk Percussion, has had a lifelong obsession with making percussion from ordinary, everyday things. He gained an Honours degree in Creative 3D Design at Plymouth College of St Mark & St John and from Purdue University, Indiana, USA in 1993 with postgraduate work in Community Arts.

James lives in Weymouth and divides his time between taking junk percussion workshops for Portland Rocks and schools in the Dorset area and leading “Weapons Of Sound”, the UK’s major junk percussion band which James formed in 1992 which plays percussion on recycled junk instruments he has designed and made. The band have performed extensively throughout the UK in every major festival including Glastonbury and Reading and prestigious events such as the opening of the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee at Buckingham Palace and many venues abroad, from the Seychelles to Shanghai, for corporate and private clients. They also performed for the arrival of the Olympic flame on Weymouth beach in July.

Tom Hopkins

I grew up on the South London/Surrey border and as a teenager in the 1960’s went regularly to hear music in pubs around the area. Occasionally I’d venture up to London to see gigs, particularly of visiting American artists – mostly blues musicians. After living briefly in Canada, I trained as a secondary teacher and youth worker, before becoming a university lecturer in health and social care. In 1999 I founded the Dorset Blues Society (DBS). Since its inception, it has grown to be the longest running such organisation in South West England, during which its “Bluesnights” have achieved a position of considerable standing – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Dorset Blues Society has been, recognised for the high quality of both its performances and educational development work, which included from 2000-2005 unique intergenerational annual summer schools.

In pursuit of my own continuing musical development, I have attended events focused on popular music, including the South West Sound annual conference and the annual “BluesFirst” convention in Memphis organised by the US-based Blues Foundation. I was until recently frontman for a semi-professional band, and continue to jam regularly with other musicians when time allows.

I’m very committed to helping young people participate in music-making, which is why I got involved in securing Portland Rocks initial funding in 2009, and why I still help out with fund-raising.

Steve Garden

I was born in Stone haven Scotland and moved with my family to Corby in the Midlands aged 3 years. Started playing the guitar at 6 years old, and I been out gigging in the local pubs and clubs from the age of 16, I’ve done a lot of travelling with my music in Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, Dubai, Holland and Germany. I have been a professional musician since 18 years old with various bands.

I started as a peripatetic tutor at Royal Manor Arts College in 2004 and now work at most schools on Portland which I really enjoy and have been involved in the Portland Rocks Project since its beginning which has also been a great experience.