Sunderland pupils get musical tips from world class musicians

Coun Louise Farthing at the Orchestras Live Event at the Sunderland Empire with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and some of the youngsters who took part.
Coun Louise Farthing at the Orchestras Live Event at the Sunderland Empire with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and some of the youngsters who took part.

A musical partnership between city school pupils and some of the world’s finest musicians took to the stage at Sunderland’s Empire Theatre.

Two concerts were the result of months of planning and rehearsals by Wearside pupils with musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and organised through Orchestras Live.

This has been a fantastic opportunity for children and young people in our city

Louise Farthing

The aim is to create more opportunities for children and young people with extra educational needs to get involved with live orchestral music.

Since January, 17 pupils from Sandhill View and Southmoor academies, and Sunderland Empire’s Curious Connections youth theatre group, have been in workshops with staff from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sunderland Empire.

The unique experience saw the young people from Sunderland produce, programme and present both the two full orchestra schools concerts and a performance of a chamber orchestra.

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for children and young people in our city, not only to develop their musical talent but also to display their organisational skills working alongside the professionals staging concerts at Sunderland’s Empire Theatre.

“We want to provide every pupil in every school in our city with the chance to achieve their full potential, and this music project is playing a great role in this on-going process.

“There are many ways to help a young person’s personal and social development, and music education in schools is one of them.”

All the schools taking part are involved with the Sunderland Music Hub which delivers music education opportunities on behalf of the city council.

The Hub works with schools, youth music groups and a wide range of organisations ensuring children and young people have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and develop and progress their skills and talents.

Rebecca Pedlow, manager of the Sunderland Music Hub, said: “We are delighted the council has been able to support bringing this major national project to Sunderland, one of only six areas across the country.

“The schools concerts provide an opportunity that not only supports many curriculum targets broader than music, but will also be a rare opportunity for children to experience a 70 piece London orchestra live at our great local venue, the Sunderland Empire theatre.

“In this relaxed and welcoming environment, everyone can enjoy an orchestral concert by dancing, singing, joining in, moving about freely or simply listening to the amazing music from this world-class ensemble.”

Partnership Manager with Orchestras Live, Stuart Bruce, said: “The project is truly inclusive, putting young people at the heart of producing as well as experiencing live music events with a world class orchestra.

“This is our first collaboration with Sunderland Music Hub and the Sunderland Empire theatre, and we hope it will be the starting point for further inspirational youth-led orchestral projects in the area.”