Sunderland Songbook Set To Strike A Chord Across The City
Sunderland Empire is alive with the sound of music this month as the theatre in collaboration with Sunderland Music Hub get tuned up to deliver an extra special version of the city’s Big Sing event for 2021.
For the past four years Sunderland Music Hub have hosted the Big Sing event, working with local schools to create a spectacular celebration of music. Last year’s event took place online and was streamed directly into over 20 schools and homes across the region engaging thousands of children.
This year the Big Sing 2021 will remain online and thanks to funding received from the Cultural Recovery Fund and continued support that the Music Education Hub receive through the Department for Education and Arts Council England, Sunderland Empire and Sunderland Music Hub have an extra treat in store for school children across the city. The twist to this year’s event is that all the songs performed at the Big Sing 2021 will celebrate Sunderland and some of the amazing artists and professional musicians to come from the city including popular post punk four-piece, The Futureheads.
Lizzie Nixon, Music Hub Manager, Sunderland Music Hub said “The Big Sing is one of the key events in our calendar and we’re pleased to be working in partnership with Sunderland Empire this year to make sure a really special digital version of the event can go ahead.
As well as providing an uplifting, fun and engaging event for children after they have experienced such a challenging year, we hope that by engaging musicians and songwriters from Sunderland we are able to demonstrate how musical our city is and raise the aspirations of our young musicians to show they too can perform on the Empire’s iconic stage one day.”
Anthony Hope, Creative Learning and Community Partnerships Manager, Sunderland Empire explained “In previous years, in partnership with Sunderland Music Hub, we have filled our auditorium with the voices of 2000 young people from across the city singing along with performers live on stage, and for many being their first time stepping into our theatre.
At this current time we realise it’s more important than ever that young people still have opportunities to be creative and have fun. So we are thrilled to have the support of locally based Motorhouse Studios who will record and stream these fabulous performances directly into schools, so that the fun can still take place in the classroom! We would like to extend our thanks to Arts Council England and DCMS for supporting this event through the Cultural Recovery Fund.”
Sunderland themed song favourites the Lambton Worm, Jack He was a Sunderland Lad and The Rigs of Sunderland Fair will be taking centre stage and ahead of the streamed event a range of in-school and virtual workshops will be taking place so children (and adults!) are fully prepped and ready to sing along.
The line-up of Sunderland artists including Picnic, Field Music, Bigfatbig, Faye Fanntarrow, and The Futureheads will record the special Sunderland themed songs throughout June and within the backdrop of the magnificent Sunderland Empire. All performances will be available to be streamed into schools and households on Wednesday 30th June at 2pm via YouTube and Facebook.
Jane Boyd, Music Teacher, Hill View Infant Academy & St. Paul’s C.E. Primary added “The staff and children at school are very excited to take part in The Big Sing once again. Last year’s event was so uplifting and gave us all a sense of being together, when we had to stay apart. This year promises to be even bigger and better; we’re really enjoying learning the fun and engaging songs that have geographic and historical links to our hometown of Sunderland.”
An online toolkit including the lyrics and a backing track to support learning the songs is available with everything participants need to be ready for the big day. To find out more and to get involved please visit https://sunderlandmusichub.org.uk/project/bigsing2021/
Photos: David Wood