Although Aarron now brings his perspective of lived experience to Imagineer as a Board Adviser, helping to shape our future direction based on his experience and expertise, his route to being involved in Imagineer is a musical one. In fact, he’s a talented vocalist and self-taught drummer and bass player!
With all that musical energy and creativity, Aarron was keen to join a band so was thrilled when he saw The Outsiders, a Leeds-based band supported by Imagineer, were advertising for a new member, a fact which he found out through Mencap. He auctioned as a vocalist, which he says was fun but nerve wrecking. Aarron really enjoyed meeting members of the band who judged the auctions…which was a good job because a week later he got the call that he was in the band!
His years playing in The Outsiders have given him the opportunity to tour all over the UK, including Scotland, travelling in The Outsiders faithful van and trailer, which is hand-decorated in black and red with The Outsiders’ logo in the middle. Aarron’s favourite gigs were in Chepstow, Wales and at Sheffield’s longest-running live music venue, The Leadmill. This is down to the fact that there were good stages there, and while it was tiring, Aarron had great fun and would definitely go back to play at both venues again! In fact, to Aarron it was so much fun playing live music, he feels that it was just like being in rehearsals with his bandmates!
Aarron knows that it’s a matter of having enough funding to cover the costs of the people supporting the band, accommodation and travel that determines if The Outsiders return to the likes of Sheffield and Wales again. This includes funds for the fuel for the band’s van which eats up diesel as it carries so much band equipment and has proven tricky to drive up narrow roads and English hills! Understanding this, fancying a new challenge and wanting to fulfil his long-held ambition of running the band, he began managing the band and mentoring other band members at the start of 2020.
Aarron still has a blast when it comes to the music side of things but has loved learning what goes on in the background when it comes to running a band. He now handles things like booking gigs with venues.
Taking his mentoring and managing skills beyond the band, Aarron has proudly sat on the board of Imagineer as an Adviser for 6 years and counting! Sitting on board meetings, being involved with decision-making, discovering the business side of things and the finer details of running Imagineer, are just some elements of this role. Aarron explains his role as providing the answers to questions about Imagineer and Imagineer’s services that many people seem to ask him. He points out though if he knows the answer to a question straight away, he’ll answer it but if he doesn’t, he will happily go and research the answer or find someone who knows a solution, before going back to the person asking the question a week later. As so many people ask him questions about Imagineer, he knows what concerns people have so can provide valuable advice to the Board.
Aarron plans to keep helping The Outsiders book more gigs at pubs and youth club venues, including at the PHAB club in Leeds, which he attends every Friday. Having picked up some bass skills from Imagineer’s Founder Liz, Aarron looks forward to helping other people develop through music and says if someone came to him wanting to be in a band but didn’t have much confidence, he would happily share some pointers with them. He adds that the advice he’d give them would vary as everyone is different with different struggles. Either way, he’s excited to help others grow in confidence through the power of music and as an Imagineer Board Adviser.
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