Everyone made the right encouraging noises on a chilly December morning back in 2008 when Julian Lloyd Webber, Marshall Marcus – then head of music at the Southbank Centre – and the Labour government’s schools minister of the time Sarah McCarthy-Fry gathered at Herbert Morrison Primary School in Lambeth, south London, to announce the launch of an English version of the Venezuelan Sistema project, to be called In Harmony and based initially in Lambeth, Liverpool and Norwich. There was no doubting Lloyd Webber’s genuine enthusiasm and commitment to the idea, but with a limited amount of financial backing from the government it was hard to imagine it taking root as he envisaged.
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