One of the most renowned drummers in rock history returns to Handsworth

Ahead of performing at Symphony Hall in April, Handsworth-born drummer Carl Palmer made a visit to Holyhead School on Thursday 28 March to meet aspiring musicians from his hometown.



Carl Palmer is one of the most respected rock drummers to emerge from the 1960s, a veteran of many banks including Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, ELP (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Asia. He was born in Handsworth in 1950.


At Holyhead School, we are extremely proud of how talented our young artists are and we are always keen to provide them with musical opportunities. Having Carl visit our school is something that we were all very excited about, after all, how often do you get a rock star, born from the same area as you, come and visit you in your own school and talk to you about something you’re passionate about? Especially as arts and music education can be overlooked, it is important, now more than ever, that students have interactions with experienced artists helping to inspire and encourage them to pursue their talents.

Yvonne O’Sullivan, Music Teacher at Holyhead School


It’s great to be back in Handsworth, where my life as a musician began and was the start of a long career that has taken me all over the world, and to share my experiences with the young people at Holyhead School.

Carl Palmer

Town Hall Symphony Hall have collaborated with Holyhead School on introducing their pupils to a number of musicians from Handsworth in recent months. The arts charity have secured workshops from award-winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch, winner of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Xhosa Cole and award-winning jazz, soul and broken beat songstress Julie Dexter ahead of their performances in the city.

Holyhead School are an 11-19 Academy at the heart of Soho Ward, a vibrant and aspirational community with a deep sense of its own heritage and culture. Students enter the school with attainment levels significantly below national average (RaiseOnline) but go on to achieve whatever they set their minds to. Ofsted recognised the school as ‘Outstanding’ in 2013 and again in 2015.