Rock hopeful joins ex-Beatle's college

AN ASPIRING rock star from Essex is heading off to Liverpool to study at a world-renowned music college founded by Sir Paul McCartney.

Elliot Furniss

AN ASPIRING rock star from Essex is heading off to Liverpool to study at a world-renowned music college founded by Sir Paul McCartney.

Jethro Fox, 18, from Colchester, is taking his final A-Level exams this week and is set to play his last ever show with his band, Street Light Youth.

Then he will pack his bags and grab his guitar and head north to Merseyside to enrol at LIPA, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

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The groundbreaking college was founded by the ex-Beatle 12 years ago and has since become one of the top talent breeding grounds in the UK.

Its former pupils have gone on to appear on stage and screen as well as create hit records and Jethro, a student at the Colchester Sixth Form College, is eagerly looking forward to starting his three year music course.

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He said: “I first heard about the place a couple of years ago from people I know who applied there but didn't get in and I really wanted to get on the course.

“Obviously, it's a really big thing. I didn't grow up with his (Sir Paul's) music but I'm really influenced by pop music and to have him as, effectively, my principal is amazing.”

A talented guitarist and competent pianist, the former Colchester Grammar School pupil is set to receive tuition from expert contemporary musicians and take in one-off “masterclasses” from some well known names in the music industry.

His band recently played its biggest ever gig at the huge Download rock festival and will say farewell to fans at a final show at the Colchester Arts Centre on July 5.

He said: “A lot of my friends and the guys in the band are quite upset and sad because I'm leaving, but on the whole, people are pleased I've got in.

Jethro lives with his mother Teresa, a teacher, while his older brother Luke, 21, is already away studying music in Leeds.

nLIPA was founded in 1996 and offers higher education courses for those over 18 and performance arts classes for those aged four to 19.

nIt was founded by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty, who set up the Brit School in London that produced Adele and Leona Lewis.

nFamous names who have taken part in “conversation” sessions or masterclasses with students at LIPA include Amy Winehouse, Lou Reed, Spice Girl Mel C and Bee Gee Robin Gibb.

nAs well as lead patron Sir Paul McCartney, other patrons include Dame Judi Dench, Beatles producer Sir George Martin, businessman Sir Richard Branson and synthesiser pioneer Vangelis.

nThe institute is housed in the former Liverpool Institute High School for Boys - the school attended by both Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison in the 1950s.

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