700 children from the West End of Newcastle are heading on tour across the city this summer to celebrate 10 years of inspirational music-making.

Pupils from Hawthorn Primary and Bridgewater Schools have been taking part in In Harmony; a national programme that inspires and transforms the lives of children through community-based orchestral music-making. Sage Gateshead works in partnership with Hawthorn Primary and Bridgewater Schools in the West End of Newcastle to run In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead, where children gain vital pre-instrumental skills from the age 3 and then begin learning an instrument from their very first day in Year 1.

To celebrate 10 years of music-making, Sage Gateshead is running a 5-week community festival. The 10th Birthday Festival will take place 17 May – 25 June and every child involved will perform in the festival at venues including The Lit and Phil, John Marley Centre in Scotswood, The Globe, Discovery Museum, and at Sage Gateshead in a mix of musical moments and public events.

An exhilarating finale week features two days at Sage Gateshead. The 10th Birthday Concert on Thursday 23 June will see almost every child involved in In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead performing a world premiere of a new song co-created with Sage Gateshead Artist in Residence Beccy Owen. The Whitley Bay-based singer-songwriter is co-creating an original In Harmony song with the young performers over six intensive sessions, ready for sharing as part of the celebrations.

The festival will conclude in a spectacular fashion at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 25 June, when after a workshop day for Key Stage 2 children, the West Newcastle Symphony Orchestra will perform side-by-side with Young Sinfonia on the concourse at 1.30pm.

On 17 May, In Harmony pupils from Hawthorn Primary Symphony Orchestra and Bridgewater Symphony Orchestra will perform side-by-side with Royal Northern Sinfonia at The Discovery Museum.

Other highlights include Armstrong Brass and Debussy Wind Ensemble from Hawthorn Primary School performing in Elswick Park on Monday 13 June, and Haydn String Ensemble from Hawthorn Primary School performing in Cruddas Park Shopping Centre on Thursday 16 June.

A 10th Birthday commemorative film directed by the young people will premiere during the festival. The pupils have been working with local filmmakers Second Draft over the last year, documenting their musical activities and giving interviews to camera. The film will be shared at some of the performances in June.

In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead improves the life chances of children and young people in the West End of Newcastle by increasing confidence, wellbeing, resilience, and educational attainment. By working in partnership, In Harmony helps build stronger communities, generating pride, hope and aspiration.

The Netherton Park Trust, a local funder that generously supports In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead, has recently committed to a further 5 years of funding for the programme. This additional funding will support the programme to continue to reach more than 700 young people in the West End of Newcastle every year, laying a strong foundation to attract further essential fundraised support in future years.

Established by Government, In Harmony is part funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education. Their support has recently been confirmed for the 22/23 academic year, which will be the 11th year of the programme. This funding doesn’t cover all costs associated with the programme, however, and so, to make sure the programme can run, additional essential fundraising is required each year from individual donors, trusts and foundations and corporate partners.

Wendy Smith, Director of Contemporary Music at Sage Gateshead, said:

“We are very grateful to the Netherton Park Trust for their funding and continued investment in the future of children and young people at In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead. The programme has been incredibly successful over the last 10 years at Hawthorn Primary and Bridgewater Schools. The children are fantastic young musicians, and they work really hard at school and show incredible commitment to learning and playing music. We know that orchestral music making helps with their confidence, wellbeing, and education, as well the children and their families growing a real sense of achievement and pride.”

Mike Ranson, one of the trustees of the Netherton Park Trust, said:

“The trustees congratulate Sage Gateshead and countless numbers of children in achieving this anniversary of inspirational music-making. Our charity has been supporting In Harmony for several years and has recently committed to continue the provision of funding for a further five years. The trustees have been delighted to see how successful the In Harmony programme has been for primary school children in the West End of Newcastle, providing them with opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable and establishing a platform for them to pursue their interests in music as they grow up and, hopefully, for the rest of their lives. The trustees are confident that our continuing support for this and Sage Gateshead’s young musicians’ programmes will help to improve the life chances of future generations of children to achieve similar successes and fulfilment.”

Jane Dube, Head Teacher at Hawthorn Primary School said:

“At Hawthorn, we can’t wait for the 10th Birthday celebrations to start. The children have worked so hard to prepare and everyone is really looking forward to being back playing at Sage Gateshead as well as in our local community. It makes me feel so proud when I hear the children play.”

Sam Robson, Head Teacher at Bridgewater Primary School said:

“We are really excited for the 10th birthday celebrations and the children are looking forward to playing for their parents and others in the community as well as at Sage Gateshead. They are also looking forward to singing the new In Harmony song and have enjoyed working with Beccy Owen and Royal Northern Sinfonia in the run up to the celebrations; performing with their friends from Hawthorn will be the icing on the cake.”