Student band No Grey Area from Dereham music school ready to rock Central Park and Washington Square on New York tour

Start spreading the news - a group of budding musicians from mid Norfolk will be jetting off to New York for a series of special performances.

The band No Grey Areas was only formed in February last year but between March 30 and April 3, it will be playing in the famous Central Park, South Street Seaport, Washington Square and two schools out of Manhattan.

Its nine members are students at the JDT Music Academy, on the Rashs Green Industrial Estate, Toftwood, on the outskirts of Dereham, and range from just six to 61-years-old.

No Grey Areas is a rock/pop band and currently performs covers, but its members are in the process of writing their own songs inspired by favourite artists.

The JDT Music Academy was formed in June 2001, and currently teaches about 200 people contemporary music on the drums, piano, keyboard and guitar, as well as singing.

Set up by Janel Spalding, it was always her ambition to send a band to play in New York.

The trip has been organised by the organisation National School Travel but each member has had to pay �1,500 each to make the dream a reality, which has been partly raised through fundraising efforts last year.

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Ms Spalding, 42, said: 'It has been 10 years in the making and I'm happy with how everything is going. It is exciting but challenging at the same time because it is going into the unknown.

'No Grey Areas have got to be perfect because America is going to be a hard one to crack, but I think we have got the right band to do it.'

Musicians in No Grey Areas are James Chopping, 15, of Mattishall, who plays the drums, bass guitarist Shane Dorrington, also 15, of Reymerston, singers Naomi Milburn, 16, of North Elmham, and Ellis Walsh, 16, of Toftwood, drummer and guitarist Ben Reeves, 16, of Wendling, Connor Miller, 16, of Dereham, who also plays the guitar, Neo Spalding, six, of Scarning, who is another drummer, Holly Jones, 18, of Dereham, who plays the keyboard, and Isabel Howe, 61, also of Dereham, who plays the drums and sings.

The band will play a half hour set at each free performance, which will include their versions of songs by artists including Adele, Michael Jackson and Eurythmics.

Ellis, who is studying a diploma in performing music at Norwich's City College, said she was 'shocked' when she heard the news that they were travelling to New York.

She added: 'My friends are really jealous. The amount of people who have asked me to put them in my suitcase is crazy.'

Nia Howe, 30, a general manager at JDT Music Academy, said: 'America is going to be different compared to our other gigs. It is an opportunity to play to a completely different crowd of people.

'We are from a tiny town in rural England and we are going to one of the biggest cities in the world. It is an incredible feeling, we are very proud of them.'

The band members will go to New York with four tutors from the music academy and three parents.

A fundraising event for the trip will be taking place on the afternoon of Sunday, February 19, at the Assembly Rooms, Dereham. Swing band Close Harmony will be playing 1940s and 1960s jazz.

No Grey Areas will also be performing at Strikes Bowl, in Station Road, Dereham, on Saturday, January 28, from 7pm. Tickets can be bought from Strikes Bowl or the music academy.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor for the New York trip or for more information about the fundraising events should ring 01362 694817, visit www.jdtmusic.co.uk or the JDT Music Facebook group.

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