We do like to make it into the news, and we’re not surprised that Sound Around has attracted quite a lot of interest. The Royal Philharmonic/ Orchestras Live project and performances were a huge success, with hundreds of pupils packing the Sands centre.
credit: Cumbrian Newspapers
Pop icons Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have been entertaining 2,000 Cumbrian schoolchildren in a celebrity showdown in the centre of Carlisle.
A papier-mache version of the pair battled it out in a boxing ring, coming to ‘blows’ in a battle to decide whose hit should be performed during two innovative concerts performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Young pupils spontaneously burst into song to join in with the 85 classically-trained musicians as they turned their talents to performing Taylor Swift’s hit Shake It Off. The icons’ hits were used in “Sound & Fury”, a creative show at the Sands Centre all of which was devised, produced and staged by a 24-strong creative crew of pupils from Trinity School.
The 24 youngsters have been working closely with the scheme’s music leader Tim Steiner and the orchestra since last November. After an initial introductory session, the group was split into four smaller teams – presenters, media and marketing, event managers and tech and film support – who meticulously planned the event over the last four months.
Schools that attended Friday’s two free concerts included Houghton, Blackford and Scotby near Carlisle and the city’s Pennine Way Primary; Westfield in Workington; and all 190 year seven pupils from Furness Academy in Barrow.
Jon Stewart, a teacher at Houghton CofE School, near Carlisle, said: “Our pupils have been loving it. I’d say 95 per cent of our children have never seen a live orchestra like this before. It is very important for them to see the instruments being played live. We’ve also got some former pupils who are among those who have been working on this, putting it together, so it is great to be able to support them and see how well they are doing.”
Miranda Bond, head of arts at Furness Academy in Barrow, said: “We’ve spent the day in Carlisle, using it as an enrichment day. We’ve also visited Tullie House. It is a great opportunity for the students, particularly when we want to give them every opportunity to appreciate the arts. For many it is their first experience of a live orchestra.”
The “Sound & Fury” production forms part of a two-year scheme funded by Arts Council England. Orchestras Live was awarded £490,178 to deliver a brand new touring project, Orchestras Live Sound Around, to just six “culturally under-served” areas of the country. Carlisle is one of the three areas the project is working with during the 2017/18 academic year, the others being Lowestoft and Reading. Last year it toured Northampton, Doncaster and Sunderland.
It aims to create more opportunities for children and young people with additional needs to engage with live orchestral music. It involves children with special educational needs and disabilities working alongside their peers in mainstream education to produce, programme and present concerts at venues and at special schools.
The shows in Carlisle were presented by Orchestras Live in association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sands Centre, Cumbria Music Service and the county’s music education hub.
Alison Richardson, curriculum leader for the arts at Trinity School and an advisor for the Cumbria Music Education Hub, said: “I would like to say how grateful we are that the sponsors funded this project and our students got to be involved. They have had the most amazing experience and it just shows the power of the arts. These students have grown in confidence and had an opportunity that they feel very lucky to have had.”
On Saturday, 25 musicians from the world-renowned orchestra also performed a fun-filled, relaxed concert for families that included classical masterpieces, well-known TV and film themes, sing-alongs and interactive games.
All three shows had a British Sign Language interpreter.