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Young Musicians take to the stage in Summer Festival

Posted on 25 July 2019

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This summer has already seen some brilliant performances as part of Sage Gateshead’s Young People’s Summer Festival, which took place between 23rd June and 14th July involving over 3000 young people. Together with partners from across the region, Sage Gateshead works with children and young people throughout the year and the festival was an outstanding celebration of their music-making.

Wendy Smith, Director of Creative Learning describes what the festival is all about: “The festival is a fantastic celebration of music-making from young people across the North East. The diversity of musical performances shows their creativity, huge potential and ambitions”

Beginning with CoMusica Presents on the 23rd June, the festival opened with a lively samba performance from Musinc, a musical inclusion initiative from Teesside. Together with partners, CoMusica supports young people that experience challenging circumstances to fulfil their potential musically, personally and socially, and audiences were delighted to see the results of this work in Sage Two throughout the day.

One pupil from Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough described how she felt when she performed on stage for the first time: “At first it was a terrifying, but then I liked it and got used to it and when the song kicked in I forgot about it all – forgot about all the people watching.”

The day included the chance to perform, as well learn new things – Music Spark is a training and work experience programme for young people and adults with additional needs and they led an inclusive, fun and engaging music-making workshop for young people that parents and carers also got involved with: “I went to the Music Spark workshops and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it blew me away!”

Through the In Harmony Together celebration on the 25th June, the festival also saw children and young people from eight schools in the West End of Newcastle come together with Hawthorn Primary Symphony Orchestra for a day of music, dancing and creative arts activity. In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children through community-based orchestral music-making. 600 children and young people delighted audiences throughout the day in a building takeover that saw Sage Gateshead bursting with the music of over 25 young ensembles.

Over 2,000 school children took part in the much-loved annual Big Sing and Mini Sing on the 27th and 28th June, which saw children perform songs they’ve been rehearsing in school throughout the term with support from professional musicians at Sage Gateshead.

On 1st July, ensembles and choirs shared the stage in a special Gala Day presented by the six North East Music Education Hubs: Durham and Darlington, Gateshead and South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Music Partnership North, Sunderland and Tees Valley.

In the Music Spark Show on the 5th July, a group of aspiring Music Leaders with additional needs combined live music, drama, comedy and dance in the typical vibrant Music Spark style. The performance celebrated diversity in our local communities and the importance of championing ability before disability. Guests included performers from Thomas Bewick School, Percy Hedley College and ESPA college.

The festival culminated with a weekend of performances by students from Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme on 13th and 14th July featuring the premiere of a new commission by Musical Director and Composer Paul Edis performed by Jambone and Young Sinfonia, conducted by Karin Henrickson.


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


Notes to editors:

In Harmony: This immersive orchestral music making programme improves the life chances of children and young people in the West End of Newcastle, by increasing confidence, wellbeing, resilience and educational attainment.

Sage Gateshead is funded by Arts Council England and Gateshead Council, together with donations from trusts and foundations, private individuals and corporate sponsorship.

Sage Gateshead’s Young People’s Programme is also made possible thanks to the generosity of the following trusts, foundations and donors:

  • CoMusica: Youth Music, Hays Travel Foundation, LNER, Kavli Trust, The Shears Foundation, Morrisons Foundation;
  • In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead: Lottery Funded Arts Council England, Tesco Bags of Help, Universal Music UK Sound Foundation, John Lewis and Partners, Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation, Community Foundation serving Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, Netherton Park Trust, St Nicholas Educational Trust, Potterspury Lodge Trust, Jean and Hugh Bates
  • The Big Sing and the Big Sing for Mini Singers: Kavli Trust
  • Young Musicians Programme: Department for Education, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Sir James Knott Trust, Hadrian Trust, Britford Bridge Trust, John S Cohen Foundation, David Goldman Bursary

As a registered charity Sage Gateshead relies on financial support to help continue this important work and to ensure all children and young people can experience the joy and life-changing impact of music.