Liverpool is set to welcome a group of blind children from Africa this week as part of a remarkable exchange programme involving schools across the city.
For eight years, teachers and pupils from schools in North Liverpool have been travelling to Sierra Leone to support their partner schools. This week, following a massive fundraising effort, 15 teachers and pupils from Sierra Leone will arrive in Liverpool to take part in two weeks of education and music.
It will be the first time most of them have left their home nation – and Liverpool is gearing up to welcome them in style. It will culminate in an extraordinary concert to be held at the iconic Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Jeremy Barnes, Headteacher of All Saints Catholic Primary School, one of the key schools that has organised the initiative, remarked:
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, but if it all comes together, it’ll be a wonderful example of the power of music and global partnerships.”
On Wednesday 6 June, a party of 15 teachers and pupils from Waterloo and Freetown, Sierra Leone, arrived in Liverpool to take part in a number of educational projects with schools in North Liverpool.
The centre point of their visit will be a magnificent concert to be held at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Thursday 20 June at 7pm, involving over 220 pupils. The concert will celebrate music as a way to bring people together – across geographical borders, but also differences such as disability, race or religion. The concert will also mark the debut of All Saints Catholic Primary School, Anfield, as part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s innovative ‘In Harmony’ programme.
Tickets to the concert, which are free but must be booked, are available at www.liverpoolphil.com/whats-on/all-shows/in-harmony-a-global-community/3424 or by calling 0151 709 3789.
In the lead up to the concert, the pupils will be rehearsing with their friends in All Saints Catholic Primary School, Anfield, and at St Vincent’s School for the Blind, West Derby, as well as participating in lessons and projects related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Supported by the Liverpool World Centre, CAFOD and the British Council, their work will form the content for a Pupil Conference to be held the day after the concert on 21st June at English Martyrs Primary School, Litherland.
For the African children, this experience will be a dream come true. Supported by businesses such as Communications Plus O2, based in Rainford, planning for the trip began eighteen months ago amidst huge excitement in their own schools, FANO Primary School, Waterloo, and the Milton Margai School for the Blind, Freetown.
And in Liverpool, there is great anticipation ahead of their performance on stage at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Ali White, leader of the Liverpool Philharmonic Children’s Choirs, and conductor for the second half of the concert, sums up the excitement. ‘I was in Sierra Leone in February to begin rehearsals, and it’s going to be very emotional to see the children up there singing their hearts out. The whole project is truly uplifting.’
A short film of the February preparation visit to Sierra Leone is available to view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4StOkfH2hE
Further information from Millicent Jones, Executive Director, Audiences and Development, Liverpool Philharmonic; telephone 0151 210 2915 / 07896 159134, email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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