Arts Council England and the Department for Education have announced The Sage Gateshead as one of the four successful applicants to deliver the In Harmony England project over the next three years. Based on the principles of Venezuela’s inspirational El Sistema - which produced the Simón Bolivar Orchestra and was credited with steering young people away from drugs and crime - In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities within the UK, using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making.
In Harmony Newcastle will inspire families and the wider community, increasing the opportunities for children in one of the most deprived wards in the country. In Harmony is modeled around schoolchildren participating in an orchestra, and Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, will be central to the project, working with Hawthorn Primary School and Ashfield Nursery.
The funding from Arts Council England and the Department for Education will buy a musical instrument for every child in the school and enable music tutors from The Sage Gateshead and the Newcastle and Northumberland Music Education Hub to work with pupils, their parents and the school staff on a daily basis.
Anthony Sargent, General Director of The Sage Gateshead said: "Of all the enormously rewarding education work that we do, some of the most exciting is with some of the youngest children, and we're thrilled to have received this three-year national award to develop a new partnership with Hawthorn School, which will bring the school and its children so many new opportunities.”
The project aims to do more than just develop musical skills. Regular music lessons delivered in the school and nursery by musicians from The Sage Gateshead and the Newcastle and Northumberland Music Education Hub will improve learning, self-confidence and self-esteem, social skills, wellbeing and health.
Bradley Creswick, Leader of Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of The Sage Gateshead added: “I am absolutely delighted that Northern Sinfonia will be at the heart of the In Harmony project, which promises to be so exciting and life-changing for everyone involved.”
Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: “The purpose of In Harmony is to inspire and transform the lives of children and that’s exactly what The Sage Gateshead has set out to do. From drawing on existing knowledge, to forming new partnerships with local organisations such as Newcastle Adult Learning Services and the NHS Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group, The Sage Gateshead has ensured the project will have a meaningful impact. I look forward to seeing this project thrive, providing a lasting legacy to the region and inspiration to a generation.”