A new song, supported by Wallsend-born musician, Sting, has been performed live for the first time by over 200 local primary school children.
‘Border to the River’ is a single produced by Music Partnership North - a new initiative between Newcastle and Northumberland Music Services, Newcastle College and Sage Gateshead to promote music tuition and performance in schools across the region.
The youngsters, from seven local schools, visited Newcastle College for MPN Live, a two day event to celebrate the launch of the partnership and to promote the single. They enjoyed a day of creating and learning about music and took part in a range of music workshops in the College’s Performance Academy, which included working in the recording studio, performing in the music venue and learning to use DJ decks and other music technology.
The day culminated in a performance that brought all of the children together to sing the song, along with Foundation Popular Music student, Gabrielle Irving, who sings lead vocals on the recording.
The single was created by Music Partnership North to raise money to promote music making through similar projects in the region’s schools. It has already received widespread support from Sting, who has talked about the project via his website, facebook and twitter pages. It has also received airtime on BBC Radio Newcastle and was played before the Newcastle United v Crystal Palace Match on Saturday 22 March.
‘Border to the River’ was released on March 17 through the College’s student run label, Push Puzzle Records and is available to download through digital music retailers, such as iTunes, Amazon, Google and Spotify. The single features the voices and instruments of children from Walbottle Village Primary, Waverley Primary, Knoplaw Primary, St. Georges Primary, Milecastle Primary, Throckley Primary, St.Bede’s First school, Bedlington, Cramlington Learning Village, Walker Central, Hadrian Special School, Hugh Joicey C of E First School, Berwick upon Tweed and The Northumbrian Ranters.
The song was written and composed by Tom Bradley, Operations Manager in the College’s School of Creative Industries and features the production skills and lead guitar of Newcastle College Lecturer, Brian Emerson, who recently returned from Hollywood where he won the coveted ‘Best Blues Artist award’ at the Artists in Music Awards with the Trevor Sewell Band. Brian travelled down to the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London to master the track.
Commenting on behalf of the partnership, Tom Bradley said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received so far. Sting is a great ambassador for promoting music through education and opened our Performance Academy so has strong, well established links with the College.
"Music Partnership North was created to fund projects that inspire a love of music in young people and give them the confidence and tools to experiment and create music of all genres. The song is a testament to the emerging talent we have in the region and the strength of our musical heritage in the North East We wanted a song that the region can be proud of and I am confident that we have achieved this through Border to the River. All proceeds from the sale of the single will go back into music partnership projects which help aspiring musicians as well as those who just enjoy making or listening to music.”
Sting said: “From the first moment I picked up a guitar as a young boy in Wallsend, music has been the most important part of my life. Music Partnership North will give children across the North East the chance to discover a lifelong love of music. The region has a great creative atmosphere and legacy and as this song demonstrates, music is very much alive and an important part of people’s lives.”
The second day of MPN Live took place on Saturday 22 March. Newcastle College hosted a number of free workshops in the Performance Academy. The event was open to members of the public and was an opportunity for local people to get involved and find out more about the partnership. In the Peter Sarah Theatre, there was live music performances from The Northumberland Ranters, NEMCO String Orchestra, Northumberland Concert Band, North East Regional Orchestra, Sage Gateshead Jazz Attack and Northumberland Jazz Ensemble. There were also industry exhibitions as well as demos and course advice given by music specialists.