Opera North is asking for donations to support the work of In Harmony Opera North, helping to provide opportunities for children in Leeds as part of the Let Music Inspire campaign.
This is all about teaching children to sing and to play a musical instrument, children whose talents may not otherwise be discovered and who may never know the joy that learning music can bring. It could be the beginning of a lifetime in music for some children.
The Stephen Longfellow Academy (which works to improve opportunities for vulnerable young people) is part of the GORSE Academies Trust, a charity which includes Richmond Hill Academy.
“I firmly believe that learning an instrument gives a child a wide range of invaluable and transferable skills and I feel that these have the potential to have a significant impact on future success.” Anna Mackenzie, Headteacher at Richmond Hill Academy
Debra Seekings, Head of Primary at The Stephen Longfellow Academy, said:“Having observed the In Harmony Opera North programme develop at Richmond Hill Academy, I have been impressed with the benefits that outstanding music education can bring. I was therefore very keen to collaborate and enable the Opera North team to provide a bespoke curriculum for our pupils.
Developing team-work, communication skills, self-discipline and creativity as well as fostering perseverance and self-esteem are key skills that participation in high quality music lessons, taught by experts, will develop; and who knows, we may even unearth an, as yet, undiscovered talent!”
Other In Harmony Opera North schools in Leeds are Windmill Primary School, Low Road Primary School and New Bewerley Community Primary School. The Ruth Gorse Academy also provides after-school classes.
From In Harmony and Let Music Inspire, school students learn about musicianship, how to play an instrument, how to work together as an ensemble, and singing as a choir member. Performance opportunities are given for events in Leeds and beyond – and of course, students learn from the musicians of the Orchestra of Opera North.
The impact on staff as well as pupils is very positive – raising aspirations, building confidence, communication skills and those of problem-solving, all of which naturally result in better behaviour and increased attainment.
Elysha Ruddock, 13, was a student at Low Road Primary School and was selected to join Yorkshire Young Musicians. She appreciates the encouragement and support she was given during her primary school years:
“My love for music started from such a young age, yet I didn’t think I would end up in the position I’m in now. If it wasn’t for the long nights trying to get it right, to be surrounded in a world with people who worked hard and pushed me to do the same, I wouldn’t love what I’m doing now. What In Harmony taught me is that if you believe you can, you know you can.”
Jacqui Cameron, Education Director, Opera North, said:
“Seeing the lasting difference that the In Harmony Opera North programme has made to the participants has inspired us all. We have seen so many talented children from a range of backgrounds realise their musical potential in a way they never would have envisaged and gain valuable self-belief in the process.
Any donations towards our work will be very gratefully received as they will enable us to continue to grow the project, impacting even more children and communities across the region.”
People can make a donation online at operanorth.co.uk/support-us or by calling Opera North on 0113 223 3553.
£15 could provide a year’s worth of music books
£50 could provide a set of percussion for a class
£150 could provide one child with their own clarinet
£500 could provide transport for 50 children to perform in concert
In Harmony is co-funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education.
Opera North gratefully acknowledges Arts Council England and the Department of Education’s support for In Harmony Opera North, alongside the project’s Ambassadors: The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust and Pinsent Masons, and supporter The Whitaker Charitable Trust.