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Children celebrate Great Exhibition of the North in 'Big Sing'

Posted on 29 June 2018

Two thousand children’s voices raised the roof of Sage Gateshead as they celebrated the ‘Spirit of the North’.

Forty-three schools from across the North sung their hearts out in Sage One at Sage Gateshead’s annual ‘Big Sing’. This year’s theme was ‘Spirit of the North’ and was part of the music centre’s Great Exhibition of the North programme.

Two of the songs were specially written for the event, which is supported by The Kavli Trust and partly funded by Art50, a scheme commissioned by Sky Arts.

Peter Brewis of Mercury-prize nominated, Sunderland-based Field Music, wrote ‘Nothing Can Separate Us Now’ and musician and singer Sharon Durant wrote a new World Cup song. The songs explore the region’s art, culture, design and innovation – all themes of the Great Exhibition of the North.

Other songs included ‘Hold back the River’ by James Bay, ‘Wonder’ by Emeli Sande and folk song ‘Paddy on the Railway’.

The event, which has been running for more than 10 years, has grown into one of the key highlights in the school calendar. Schools as far as Carlisle and Middlesbrough have been involved.

As part of the Big Sing, teachers receive training and support from professional musicians at Sage Gateshead, resource packs to use in the classroom and a workshop delivered by the Sage Gateshead team in school. During the spring and summer term, young people aged between four and 16 learn the set of songs before singing them in Sage One with pupils from other schools.

Caroline Bell, music teacher at St Matthew’s RC Primary School said: “The pupils love being involved in the Big Sing. It’s always so special for them to perform at Sage Gateshead but to also be part of this special Great Exhibition of the North celebration has been an amazing experience and one that I’m sure they will never forget.”

The Big Sing is just one of a range of Sage Gateshead performances and activities developed by and celebrating young people during the Exhibition. There will also be a day of performances presented by CoMusica – young people experiencing challenging circumstances – on 30 June and some of the region’s brilliant performers with additional needs host the Music Spark Show on 6 July. There will also be Concourse performances by school children, youth groups, choirs and music ensembles from across the whole region running until 15 July.

Find out more about the Great Exhibition of the North at Sage Gateshead.

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