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Sky Symphony Team History

 

THE EARLY YEARS OF SKY SYMPHONY -  A STEEP, BUT ENJOYABLE, LEARNING CURVE
by Graham Binney

Sky Symphony was officially created at our first fly-in at Coombe Abbey, near Coventry in January 2000 and an article, including photos of ‘The Team,’ was featured in the Birmingham Post.

 

During the next three cold, winter months we practised whenever possible, but the impetus increased when we obtained our first booking - we had a real goal to aim for!  Newark County Show, Nottinghamshire in May. We all decided to forge ahead to achieve a level of performance that would do us proud, and from then on a regular practise routine swung into operation.

 

But where to practise was a problem - and this is where we had a stroke of luck. The midpoint between our homes was a place called Fradley, near Lichfield, Staffs. It had a pub called 'The Fradley Arms' - just the place to meet, so Graham telephoned the landlord and asked if we could use a part of the lounge for ‘stick practice.’ He agreed, providing ‘we weren’t too noisy!’ (Did he know what he was doing?)

 

We arrived with a cassette player, tapes, practice sticks and a lot of self-doubt, but within an hour we had most of the pub regulars looking at our antics. The Radetsky March and True Colours were the pieces of music we had chosen to try to choreograph a routine to. Cheers and warm applause greeted us as we ended our practise session - what a lift that gave us all!

 

 

A STROKE OF LUCK

 

Whilst having a post-practise drink at the bar we met Michael Shea, who is the owner and chief pilot of the Microlight Training School, Lichfield, only 500yds from the pub. With little or no persuasion he offered us the use of the airstrip for our kite practise every Wednesday evening. This was the biggest factor in improving our team routines. We are deeply indebted to Michael - what a stroke of luck he was in the pub at the same time!

 

We also needed to choose the kites with which to fly a routine - obviously a big part of the display. We are all members of The Midlands Kite Fliers, and a part of the club logo are three flying kites. Dave had already designed and built kites in the shape and colour of the MKF logo - and they flew like a dream!! Things were really coming together now and one more thing was required to complete the display - team clothing and banners.

Throughout April our confidence was increasing at every practise session, and we were often accompanied by another flier who was itching to join in. We put together a display which, lasting 20 minutes, included:

  1. Two separate pairs routines.

  2. Multiple flying by one man.

  3. Modern day sport kite flying, including trick flying.

  4. Final Team routine.

 

OUR FIRST DISPLAY - MAY 2000


The Team, with our extra flier, travelled to Newark to do two displays on each of the two days. But our first display was cancelled due to bad weather. Our second display went ahead as planned and we learned a lot about ‘kite set-up.’ The second day proved very successful, displaying well in the main arena. To finish, we hoisted five kites into the air, successfully executing a dice manoeuvre across the sky - it was absolutely fantastic! The team were really pleased, and Team Sky Symphony had it's fifth member.

 

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE


We have come on in leaps and bounds, many laughs have been had, and not too many air crashes have occurred since our inception. We are forever keen to learn and add new manoeuvres to our routine. The Team can now confidently display with three, four or five kites. We have several budding PA announcers in the team, and one of them provides a commentary to the audience throughout the show. We are striving that our programme is as entertaining and crowd pleasing as possible.

 

 

A HEART STOPPING MOMENT - OCTOBER 2000


In October 2000, all of our team kites were stolen from Dave’s car. Fortunately, with the help of the Wolverhampton Express and Star, Ed Doolan on CWR Radio, the Police and Teletext, our lowest point of the year came to an end - they were found, thankfully untouched and unharmed.

 

 

MESSAGE TO ALL KITEFLIERS


Check and make sure all of your kites and kitebags are marked with your name and phone number, and that they are insured whilst in transit to and from kite festivals.
 

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