School singing sensations head to London

Hastings HIll pupils who are heading to London

Music students from Sunderland will travel to London to perform a moving song they have written to pay homage to the Centenary of World War 1.

Pupils from Hasting Hill Academy have been chosen as the winners of the international ‘Never Such Innocence: Songs of the Centenary’ competition, which has been organised to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I.

The children have already performed their composition; ‘This Girl Can!’ to a VIP audience at the Sunderland Minster on December 14th 2017, as part of the ‘Never Such Innocence’ roadshow.

But now the choir will travel to Wellington Barracks, just yards from Buckingham Palace, later this month to perform their creation, This Girl Can!, 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 honor 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.”

The group of year 5 and 6 students worked with song-writer Marty Longstaff, 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 Longstaff 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. I couldn’t be prouder to be accompanying them to London to show people from all over the world that Sunderland has got serious talent.”

The children’s trip to the ceremony in London is being fully funded by Sunderland Music Hub,  part of Together for Children, which was overjoyed to hear of the Sunderland school's musical success.

Rebecca Pedlow, of Sunderland Music Hub, said: “It’s vitally important children get the opportunity to perform as part their musical education. We are delighted to be able to support Hasting Hill school in representing Sunderland to sing their award winning composition in front of a national and international audience in London.”

Jane Walton, headteacher of Hasting Hill academy, said: “This is an amazing achievement by our children, winning an international competition, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Winning this competition has created a fantastic buzz across school and I am sure the memories they make while at the presentation in London will stay with them forever, staff and children.”

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