The Volunteer Diaries: Northern Finals 2018!

Last weekend the Northern Finals absolutely blew the roof off Grimsby Auditorium, here’s three of our Ambassadors, Ben, Chris and Beth to tell you more about what they got up to!

Rock Challenge® Ambassador Ben Pallister on the Northern J Rock™ Final:
Thursday July 28th and my first ever Grimsby J Rock™ event. I’d previously helped at the Rotherham heats and seen a few performances so I thought I knew what to expect, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I was told by the other crew members that it was one of the highest quality J Rock™ finals in a long time so I was looking forward to watching the rehearsals. The teams I had already seen had stepped up their game and the other schools were fantastic. I was sat at the merchandise desk during the day and so had a great view of the stage. The first few rehearsals were of a great quality and, as always, I thoroughly enjoyed the morning production meeting. The J Rock™ students made a lot of noise for such small people!
Wow. I have seen some great performances and rehearsals over the 5 years I have been involved in Rock Challenge® but nothing could’ve prepared me for the standard of the Northern Junior Final. I was speechless. I loved every performance of the night and every team should be incredibly proud of themselves! Maryport were deserved winners on the night. I think a number of performances could’ve put up a good fight the Seniors in the open final the next day! I can’t wait to see what next year brings. The future of Rock Challenge® is very bright.

Rock Challenge® Ambassador Chris on the Northern Open Final:
For the third year in a row I attended the Northern Open Final at Grimsby Auditorium. The spirit of Rock Challenge® was alive as soon as I arrived as the 10 competing schools were getting ready for the day ahead. Since the first time I attended the event in 2016, this was main thing I noticed at Grimsby was the electric energy and buzz from all the schools.
The spirit grew rapidly as the day went on.  The support the rehearsing schools received from the other schools was amazing. It is easy for a friendly atmosphere to get lost when competing, however at Rock Challenge® the spirit and support is always amazing.
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing all the other teams rehearse and showing their piece they had all worked so hard on. There was a wide range of interesting, entertaining, emotional and thought-provoking pieces. You could tell each team had worked so hard to get to the finals and each school had such great performances and energy.
Another thing I particularly loved about the day is that, the result really didn’t matter. It is great for teams to realise their hard work and dedication isn’t always defined by a trophy. I think all the teams will agree that the real trophy from the day was getting the opportunity to perform with their peers on a professional stage, showcasing their piece they had been working so hard on for months.
I had such a great time, working alongside the crew and volunteers who had travelled all across the UK to attend the event. Rock Challenge® is an experience like no other and I am so proud to be an Ambassador for such a great event. I am looking forward to attending next year, where I’m sure the spirit will be even higher and performances even better.

Rock Challenge® Ambassador Beth on the Northern Premier Final:
Volunteering at the Northern Premier Final was a fantastic experience and it was also the penultimate event of the 2018 tour. The day was packed and from the moments the schools started to arrive the energy was electric. My day consisted of initially welcoming the schools before spending the daytime and evening running all the teams to and from their rehearsals and evening performances. Running is such a fab job as it allowed me to watch the first rehearsal of each school and see their costumes up close in the evening and I was blown away by the standard! I also collated the awards for Spirit of Rock Challenge® and Performer’s Choice, which as always is a very difficult choice for the schools. You can see how much passion each of the premier teams have for Rock Challenge® and it is visible from the performers, crew and teachers (I have never seen so many props flying around on stage during an air guitar competition)!
Overall the Northern Premier Final was an incredible day and my first experience being at a Premier Final! The standard was exceptional and you really couldn’t call it! Each and every school were very supportive of one another and should all be incredibly proud!
Good luck to each and every school going to Nationals!

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