A former schoolteacher who was diagnosed with ME more than two years ago has launched a new musical business venture aimed at churches and schools.
Kidderminster man John Griffiths, who has been a teacher for more than 30 years, was diagnosed with the little-understood condition in March 2006 following years of tests, but, after a long struggle, his health has now improved.
He has managed his condition with the support of family, friends and medical therapists and has used the backing of local colleagues to launch his own business called Music in Church and Schools or MICAS 2008 for short.
Backed by expert support from Business Link in the West Midlands and Remploy, the resilient entrepreneur is up and running and introducing his music into the National Curriculum at local schools. He is writing and producing music for schools which can be applied to teaching topics, including the Greeks, the Tudors and Evacuees.
“I was ill for two years and had numerous tests before I was diagnosed,” explained Mr Griffiths, who is a trained pianist, guitarist and keyboard player.
“ME is a debilitating condition which causes severe fatigue and malaise following mental or physical activity. It can affect muscles and your memory, disrupting your immune system and make you more liable to pick up everyday infections.
“As you can imagine, this made work as a full time teacher impossible.”
He added: “By May of this year I was finally beginning to feel stronger and I knew that I wanted to get back into some form of work, but I genuinely never expected to be starting my own business.”
John was then introduced to Business Link in the West Midlands and Balancing Business who helped him get his business up and running.
“I really thought that my career was over when I was told about my ME yet three years on I’m well enough to be starting my own business,” said Mr Griffiths.
“That support network has made a real difference and every day is now exciting and challenging.”
From a standing start in May, MICAS has grown in popularity and now offers a bespoke service to schools and churches. He is able to produce booklets of music, lyrics, narration and a CD of backing tracks, as well as specially commissioned pieces for any subject on the National Curriculum.
He has already written a number of musicals one of which, Ezra’s Tale, was recently performed by 14 local schools at Kidderminster Town Hall. He is also currently writing a musical based on the life of St David to be performed next March at schools in Wales, as well as a host of other material.
Some of his worship songs are being used at churches and he is planning to publish an anthology of similar material for children and adults.
Anabela Ferreira from Balancing Business said: “Interest in what John has to offer is spreading fast and the market for it is huge. He’s always trying to think of new ways to improve education and this approach seems popular with both the children and the teachers.”