IT was just a normal day in a Sunderland classroom – until one of the world’s most respected bands came calling.
Thrilled pupils were given a concert to remember when members of Bruce Springsteen’s band paid them a surprise visit.
More than 50,000 fans travelled from across Wearside and beyond to cheer on The Boss and the E Street band at the Stadium of Light.
But ahead of the performance, part of the 62-year-old star’s Wrecking Ball UK tour, saxophonist Ed Manion, keyboard player Charlie Giordano and percussionist Everett Bradley popped into Barbara Priestman School and Technology College, in Meadowside, for an impromptu gig in front of pupils.
Teacher Emily Landells helped arrange the visit, which saw the world-famous musicians perform a range of soul classics.
“When I found out Springsteen was coming to Sunderland, I tried to contact him through his promoter to get him to visit our school, but had no luck whatsoever,” she said. “I then remembered I had the email address of Ed Manion, long-time member of the Asbury Jukes, the band who play with Southside Johnny.
“I had spoken to Ed on many occasions over the years, before and after Southside Johnny gigs around the country and knew he was part of Springsteen’s horn section on the Wrecking Ball Tour.
“I decided to take a long shot and asked him via email if he or any of the other band members would like to visit our school to give a performance.”
Emily said she was left stunned when she received an email confirming not just Ed’s appearance, but two other fellow E Street stars.
“I didn’t think for one minute I would get a reply,” she said. “When I checked my emails that evening, however, I was gobsmacked to find a reply saying he would love to come to perform at my school and that he was bringing Charlie Giordano with him to play keyboard.”
Springsteen fan Emily, who is music co-ordinator at the school, which caters for special needs pupils aged three to 19, said the performance went down a storm.
“Once settled, they proceeded to perform for 30 minutes to a hall full of students,” she said. “Songs performed include “I Feel Good” by James Brown and “What’s Goin On” by Marvin Gaye.
“Staff and students thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“After they had performed they spoke to staff and students, signing autographs.
“I even got the latest Springsteen album “Wrecking Ball” signed, as all three perform on it and are listed in the credits.
“It was such a wonderful experience for all involved and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“I am a long-time fan of Springsteen, so to have three of the musicians who are on tour with him performing at my school was such a thrill and something I won’t forget in a hurry.”