Stoke CMS Alumni

Marc Dunleavy

I feel privileged to have received so much support from Stoke-on-Trent CMS when I was a child.

I discovered a love of music when at primary school, but it was not until I started secondary school and began learning the clarinet with a CMS peripatetic teacher that I truly understood the power of music and how it can change lives.  I came from an underprivileged, working-class family that, in other circumstances, would not have been offered so many opportunities, but thanks to the CMS I was able to receive instrumental lessons, play with a range of ensembles, got to travel and perform, and to make lifelong friends with similar interests. 

These opportunities helped me to flourish as a young person.  Being involved in music making, and receiving support from the fabulous team, built my confidence and gave me aspirations for a better life, opening doors that might have otherwise remained closed to me. 

I went on to study music at the University of Huddersfield, and now have a successful career in the arts.  As a freelance practitioner, I work in range settings – performing with orchestras, producing operas, programming festivals and fundraising for musical charities.  My appreciation for everything that the CMS did for me has shaped my career – almost all of my work involves, or is shaped by, education, participation and engagement.  I am truly thankful for the opportunities that were offered to me and I strive to ensure that music is something that can be accessed and enjoyed by as many people as possible!