Musician joins historian to write ‘A Song for Sunderland’

Keith Gregson and the log book from Ashbrooke Sports Club.
Keith Gregson and the log book from Ashbrooke Sports Club.
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A MUSICIAN and historian have teamed up with Wearside schoolchildren to compose a “Song for Sunderland”, which will be aired at the city’s newest arts festival.

Keith Gregson was commissioned to work with youngsters from Sunderland by bosses of the Summer Streets festival, which takes place next Saturday in Southwick’s Thompson Park.

The festival, billed as a free celebration of community music, has been organised by The Cultural Spring – a £2million, three-year Arts Council-funded project designed to bring arts and culture to five wards in Sunderland, and five in South Tyneside.

The Futureheads’ Ross Millard, the event’s artistic director, said: “Keith came along to some community sessions and I thought he’d be perfect to work with a couple of schools, to produce a song for the city. I can’t wait to hear it.”

Keith taught in local schools for 30 years before becoming a freelance writer, musician and historian 11 years ago.

He said: “Since I left full-time teaching I’ve had the opportunity to write songs with youngsters with specific themes in mind.

“Among these themes are the saints who made Sunderland famous, the city’s mining and railway heritage and the local work of artist L S Lowry.

“Summer Streets will give me the opportunity to showcase some of these songs, but it also allowed me to write this new song based on a child’s view of Sunderland.

“Writing this was great fun, and the children at Town End Academy and Bexhill Academy were full of ideas. One boy in particular came up with a great idea for the song.”