Sage Performance

13th November 2017

Centre stage at Sage Gateshead for Thomas Walling choir


Talented young singers from Thomas Walling Primary Academy took centre stage alongside acclaimed musician Kathryn Tickell in a packed concert at Sage Gateshead.

The choir sang ‘Fallowfield Fell’ to the haunting accompaniment of the Northumbrian Pipes – Kathryn’s musical arrangement bringing a new perspective to the local poem written about a soldier lying on a battlefield picturing home.


The children also performed the upbeat number ‘Divvent Clash the Door’ which went down a storm with the audience.


The Thomas Walling choir was part of a star cast brought together on the main Sage One stage by the Magnetic North East arts group to celebrate the vast array of musical talent in the region, including Jimmy Nail, the Lake Poets and Baltic Crossing.


Kathryn began working with Thomas Walling Primary’s choir after Music Director Stacey Riley met with Newcastle University to talk about the school’s Music Project.


The university put the school in touch with Kathryn and the seeds of their partnership were born.


The project at Thomas Walling provides an opportunity to put music at the heart of the school and the community. It is proven that music can foster confidence, help develop teamwork, increase pride and aspirations, aid retention and develop resilience.


This research is the foundation of the project. Children engage daily in different musical experiences, including singing and learning an instrument.


Stacey, who led the children at the event, said: “It was a night none of the children will ever forget.


“Seeing and hearing top musicians, being welcomed so amazingly, treated like real stars, sound checking with a surprise live band, performing and being cheered was utterly amazing for them all.”


Kathryn said: “I was so pleased with how it went. The choir did brilliantly.


“Here’s a sentence from an email I received from someone who was at the concert: ‘I really thought the children from Blakelaw did absolutely MAGNIFICENTLY. A real highlight!’”


Thomas Walling Primary is part of the Laidlaw Schools Trust. Sponsor Lord Laidlaw is passionate about children receiving the best opportunities and reaching their full potential while at Thomas Walling, and his generosity is funding the project so that children and families can have the opportunity to engage with music in new and innovative ways.


Stacey said: “It was a huge honour for us to be invited on stage by such a performer as Kathryn.


“To give the children the opportunity to perform in such a famous venue in a ‘real’ concert is something very few children get the chance to do.


“Kathryn thoroughly loves the concept of the Music Project – she understands the power of music and wanted to collaborate with us.


“She asked if we would join in with her concert, which was already booked. When we showed the children pictures of the Sage Gateshead and where they were going to sing, they were really, really excited.


“Some were quite nervous to perform on a stage that big in front of so many people but they were super excited and worked so hard in the run-up to the concert.”