Singing Sunderland school pupils London-bound after winning competition

Pupils from a Sunderland school are bound for the capital after winning a singing competition which marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23 May, 2018, 06:00
Children from Hasting Hill Primary School who have won the Never Such Innocence: Songs of the Centenary competition.

Youngsters at Hasting Hill Academy have been chosen as the winners of the international ‘Never Such Innocence: Songs of the Centenary’ contest.

The children have already performed their composition ‘This Girl Can!’ to a VIP audience at Sunderland Minster back in December, as part of the ‘Never Such Innocence’ roadshow.

But now the choir will travel to Wellington Barracks, just yards from Buckingham Palace, on May 24 to perform their creation with military bands.

Lady Lucy French, founder and chief executive of Never Such Innocence, said: “We are delighted with all of our winners and I cannot wait to hear Hasting Hill Academy perform their song again at the Awards Ceremony.  “When we visited Sunderland we were absolutely overwhelmed by all of the children’s enthusiasm, creativity, and talents. 

“It is so wonderful to see young people getting in touch with their local and global heritage.

“This Girl Can is a wonderful song marking 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1918, and shows what amazing creative work young people can produce when inspired by such a topic. 

“I am so proud of how the children have chosen to honour these women of 100 years ago. 

“I hope all of the students, and everyone at Hasting Hill and in the local community, are very proud of their hard work.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The group of Year 5 and 6 students worked with song-writer Marty Longstaff, who performs as The Lake Poets, who crafted their lyrics into a musical composition.

Marty said: “I’m absolutely overjoyed for Hasting Hill and I can’t wait for the kids to experience singing and playing their own original song in the capital.

“We have so much talent here in Sunderland and winning this international competition helps prove it to the world.

“We’re going to go down there and show London how it’s done.”

The Hasting Hill Academy entry was chosen as the best entry in the 9-11-year-old category of the competition, which also included submissions from groups as far away as California and Malaysia.

Marty and the school’s music leader worked with the group to develop themes for the song before it was refined into the touching lyrics.

Jane Corney, music subject lead at the school, said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for our children to show off the talent and creativity we get to see from them every day.

“Working with a professional musician has given the children a taste of what it takes to craft and compose their own song and they have loved every second.

The children’s trip to the ceremony in London is being fully funded by Sunderland Music Hub.