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Sage Gateshead 'In Harmony' with Newcastle School

Posted on 16 July 2012

Arts Council England and Department for Education have today [16 July] announced Sage Gateshead as one of the four successful applicants to deliver the In Harmony England project over the next three years. Based on the principles of Venezuela’s inspirational El Sistema – which produced the world famous Simón Bolivar Orchestra and was credited with steering young people away from drugs and crime – In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities within the UK, using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making.

In Harmony Newcastle will inspire families and the wider community, increasing the opportunities for children in one of the most deprived wards in the country. In Harmony is modeled around the schoolchildren participating in an orchestra, and Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, will be central to this project working with Hawthorn Primary School and Ashfield Nursery.

This funding from Arts Council England and Department for Education will buy a musical instrument for every child in the school and enable music tutors from Sage Gateshead and the Newcastle and Northumberland Music Education Hub to work with the pupils, their parents and the school staff on a daily basis.

Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and a member of Northern Sinfonia Chorus, said: “As a passionate supporter of classical music in education, I am really excited to see the In Harmony project being launched in the west end of Newcastle. The project will give young people the chance to immerse themselves in the world of classical music, learn a new instrument, and make music together which is both challenging and rewarding. The whole school community will be getting in on the act, so parents can support their children as they learn, and I’m confident this experience will help inspire the children to future success in their lives.”

The project will not only develop musical skills but aims to do much more than that. Regular music lessons delivered in the school and nursery by musicians from Sage Gateshead and the Newcastle and Northumberland Music Education Hub will improve learning, self-confidence and self-esteem, social skills, wellbeing and health.

Judy Cowgill, Headteacher at Hawthorn Primary School said: “The In Harmony project is of the utmost significance to the children of Hawthorn Primary School, Ashfield Nursery and the local community. This unique experience has the potential to transform all our lives forever.”

Anthony Sargent, General Director at Sage Gateshead said: “Of all the enormously rewarding education work that we do, some of the most exciting is with some of the youngest children, and we’re thrilled to have received this three year national award to develop a new partnership with Hawthorn School, which will bring the school and its children so many new opportunities.”

Bradley Creswick, Leader of Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead added: “I am absolutely delighted that Northern Sinfonia will be at the heart of the In Harmony project, which promises to be so exciting and life-changing for everyone involved.”

The project is very much about involving the families, supporting aspirations and expectations for their children through music. Jan Crane, a parent at Hawthorn Primary School said: “This gives our children the opportunity to learn something they can take with them through the rest of their lives.”

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: “The purpose of In Harmony is to inspire and transform the lives of children and that’s exactly what Sage Gateshead has set out to do. From drawing on existing knowledge, to forming new partnerships with local organisations such as Newcastle Adult Learning Services and the NHS Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group, Sage Gateshead has ensured the project will have a meaningful impact. I look forward to seeing this project thrive, providing a lasting legacy to the region and inspiration to a generation.”


For further information please contact:

Gaynor Ellis
Acting Marketing & Communications Manager
(t) 0191 443 4613

Date of release – 16 July 2012

Notes to Editors
The grant supporting the delivery of an In Harmony project will run for the current spending period from September 2012 to March 2015.

Funding for In Harmony is confirmed for the delivery of each of the four successful projects as follows:

2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
£250,000 £150,000 £100,000

In Harmony operates within a national framework of core principles, but is locally autonomous, responsive and entrepreneurial whilst remaining answerable to the Arts Council. In Harmony is jointly funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education, and managed by the Arts Council.

Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, has built a distinctive reputation as a fresh-thinking and versatile orchestra. Members are chosen to be part of a community of musicians who present a wide range of repertoire from both the orchestral and chamber canons spanning three centuries of composers. Under its Music Director, Thomas Zehetmair, Northern Sinfonia has taken a dedicated approach to stylistic excellence in all the genres that it performs aiming to present the music ‘as if the ink were still wet on the page’.