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Thousands of children sing for smiles at Sage Gateshead

Posted on 3 July 2019

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Big Sing: Children having an experience of a lifetime when they joined together to sing at Sage Gateshead

More than 3,000 children had the experience of a lifetime when they joined together to sing at Sage Gateshead.

Pupils from 70 schools from across the North of England took part in Sage Gateshead’s Big Sing and Mini Sing. This year the theme was health and wellbeing, with the aim of singing to bring calm and happiness.

Big Sing: Big Smile 2019 also saw pupils creating artwork to reflect what makes them happy. Their work is now on display at Sage Gateshead and will count towards a school Arts Award too.

The event, which is supported by The Kavli Trust in association with Sing Up, has been running for 16 years and has grown into one of the key highlights in the school calendar.

This year schools travelled from as far as Alnwick, York and Cumbria.

As well as well-known hits, Sage Gateshead worked with new, up and coming artists including Talk Like Tigers to create five new songs for the Big Sing: Big Smile 2019.Talk Like Tigers are regulars on BBC radio including 6 Music, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Newcastle and Radio Tees.

Rob Kitchen, Schools Progamme Leader at Sage Gateshead, said: “The Big Sing is the most joyous event. It’s the culmination of months of fun-filled practice in schools singing, and to see this dedication from teachers towards music and all the children join together here at Sage Gateshead and sing their hearts out is an incredible moment.

“We know what a positive impact singing can have on people’s health and well-being and you only have to see the huge smiles on everyone’s faces at The Big Sing to see that this is true.”

As part of the Big Sing programme, teachers receive training and support from professional musicians at Sage Gateshead, resource packs to use in the classroom and a workshop delivered in school. During the spring and summer term, young people aged between four and 16 learn the set of songs before singing them in the main concert hall – Sage One – with a live band and pupils from other schools.

Gina Whelerton, teacher at Saltburn Primary School, said: “The Big Sing is a fantastic experience for everyone involved. It’s a chance for children to come to this amazing building and an opportunity they might not otherwise have outside of school.

“The workshops and teacher training we receive in the run up, working with professional musicians, is top class. It gives you the confidence to deliver it in school.”

Big Sing for Mini Singers is for children and teachers to take part in a sing-a-long concert, either in the smaller hall, Sage Two at Sage Gateshead, or in their own school hall. In the lead up they receive some training and support from musicians to help them learn the music.

Westgarth Primary School pupil Hannah, from Year 6, said: “It made me feel like I was walking on sunshine!”

Big Sing is open to those in key stages 2 – 4 and Mini Sing is aimed at Reception and KS1 children, but many of the songs are still suitable for older children or children with additional learning needs.

Paul Lewney, managing director at Kavli UK, said: “On behalf of the Kavli Trust, we’re delighted to be able to support The Big Sing once again this year.

“The event is always so inspiring and it’s encouraging to see so many wonderful children from across the region take part. The opportunity to provide not only an experience to last a lifetime, but personal growth too through this project is exactly what the Kavli Trust looks for.

“This year’s focus on health and wellbeing is such an important topic to raise awareness of with young children and we’re honoured to be able to play a part in that.

“The Big Sing is absolutely one of the highlights of my year. I already can’t wait to see what next year has in store!”

To find out more about the Big Sing and Mini Sing visit or email

Listen to more from Big Sing here on our podcast




For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879


The Kavli Trust is a charitable organisation based in Norway that supports humanitarian, research and cultural projects and good causes in the UK and around the world. Profits from the Kavli Group, which owns UK food brands Primula Cheese, St Helen’s Farm and Castle MacLellan, that aren’t reinvested into its operations are donated to the Trust each year.

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England. It is for artists, for audiences and for the North.

Every year it welcomes more than two million visitors. More than 400 concerts featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region, with 190,000 people of all ages taking part in over 10,000 music classes and workshops.

The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.

As a charity, the support it receives helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music.


Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.