SANTA SCORES AT FRATTON PARK

It's not every day that thousands of children get the chance to have Portsmouth Football Club all to themselves, but on Monday (10 December) children from across the city were at Fratton Park for a Christmas concert, which also included an unforgettable visit from Father Christmas himself!

The primary-aged children were joined by their families in the stands, wrapped up well on a chilly night, and ready to join in the singing led by conductors from Portsmouth Music Hub and the Salvation Army Band.

For one night only the familiar chants from supporters were replaced with the crowd singing a host of popular Christmas songs including Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger and Christmas Calypso.

With a welcome from the Deputy Lord and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth, festive poems from Howard Payne, Headteacher of Medina Primary School and Councillor Suzy Horton the children and their families enjoyed a joyous occasion, packed with yuletide sights, sounds and songs.

A Christmas celebration wouldn't be the same without a big surprise, and as the Band played and the children sang a rousing rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town the famous man arrived to greet the cheering crowd.

This was the highlight of the concert, with children clapping and high-fiving Santa Claus, who even gave the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth a yuletide hug.

After the concert and as he was about to climb aboard his sledge to head back to the North Pole, Santa Claus said: "What a wonderful evening, with such delightful singing, and all the children behaved so well, so they are bound to get a present or two on Christmas Day. Now, I must fly home, I've got to speak to the elves and start wrapping the presents."

CAROLS, CAMELS AND CHRISTMAS!

Christmas came early to Portsmouth when primary-aged children from schools across the city came together for Portsmouth Music Hub's Special Christmas Concert, taking place at the Catholic Cathedral on Thursday (6 December).

 A Wise Man and his camels make their entrance!

A Wise Man and his camels make their entrance!

The children performed The Landlord's Cat. This musical adaptation of the Nativity includes all the familiar characters including Mary and Joseph, the wise men, camels, shepherds and sheep, but the story is told from the unique perspective of the Landlord's cat.

Kimmie, aged 10, from Cliffdale Primary Academy said: "I loved singing and signing the songs with all the children from other schools. I liked the camels, they were really funny."

The Special Christmas Concert has been running for the past 15 years. It gives children from mainstream and special schools the opportunity to work together, and to share their passion for music, dancing and drama. The children were joined on stage by members of the Salvation Army Band, who gave up their time to perform traditional Christmas favourites including Away in a Manger and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Emily Horner, Events Officer at Portsmouth Music Hub said after the concert: "Everyone who attends the special Christmas Celebration comes away with a smile on their face; it's an uplifting experience. The children's enthusiasm is infectious, they really are having a wonderful time, and it's fantastic to see children with very different needs and backgrounds working together and enjoying the spirit of Christmas.’

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She continued: ‘There are no barriers, no prejudices, everyone is here to perform and have fun, and that powerful message is what makes this concert and Christmas so unforgettable."




CHILDREN AND MP MAKE HISTORY!

Children from Portsmouth Schools were at Parliament on Tuesday 27 November 2018 to play their part in history and celebrate the centenary of women's right to vote. Beneath the statue of Millicent Fawcett, the Suffragette campaigner, children from Charter Academy, Cottage Grove Primary School, Craneswater Junior School, St. Edmunds Catholic School, St. John's Cathedral Catholic School and St. Swithin's Catholic Primary School sang 3 new songs commissioned by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan.

  The children’s choir with Stephen Morgan MP and Sue Beckett

The children’s choir with Stephen Morgan MP and Sue Beckett

  The Choir ready for rain in Parliament Square

The Choir ready for rain in Parliament Square

The special performance was a collaboration between Schools, Portsmouth Music Hub and Stephen Morgan, and it was an opportunity for the children to learn more about the sacrifices made by the men and women of the Suffragette moment. On the 21 November 1918, immediately after the First World War, Parliament finally passed The Representation of The People Act of 1918 which gave women over 30 the right to vote; this was the children's chance to celebrate this landmark in history.

The songs, created by Portsmouth Music Hub composers, included Deeds Not Words, The Suffragettes, and Hear our Voice. The children, dressed in suffragette rosettes gave a performance of the songs to invited guests, delighted tourists and members of the public outside Parliament before Stephen Morgan took the children inside Parliament for a very special tour of the historic building.

  Stephen Morgan MP and Fran Matthews from Arts Council England enjoy the performance

Stephen Morgan MP and Fran Matthews from Arts Council England enjoy the performance

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: “Children from Portsmouth Schools have captured an important moment in time, when our country took a leap towards a fairer world, and the children's performance evoked the struggle of the Suffragette movement; the passion, the dedication and the courage. We're very grateful to Stephen Morgan MP for commissioning the songs and giving the children the opportunity to perform at Parliament. Music really can bring history to life and the children's performance has been a celebration of all the progress made to end discrimination in our laws and in our lives.”

DREAMING OF FUTURE SUCCESS

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Portsmouth Music Hub has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Print Resource at the Music Teachers Awards for Excellence.

The annual ceremony celebrates achievement in music and performing arts education, and it showcases the very best teaching methods and resources used to inspire creativity, passion and performance in children, young people and their local communities.

The Music Hub has been shortlisted for My Dream Job which is a songbook created for children in primary education. As the title suggests there are 19 songs that cover a range of careers, from being a Police officer, to a footballer or teacher. However, at the start of the 21st century there are songs that have a modern twist, including website development, being a paramedic or a vet. My Dream Job was created by Portsmouth Music Hub's team of composers working alongside children who suggested some of the topics for the songs. The aim of the songbook is to inspire children to think about their future careers without losing sight of the importance of personal achievement.

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On hearing that the Hub had been shortlisted for Outstanding Print Resource, Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: "Growing up today is very different than it was only a generation ago, and it's hard to ignore the pressures that children have to face. The impact of social media, rolling news and a complex and ever-changing job market means that young people lead busy lives with lots of demands. My Dream Job aims to inspire children to think about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, to be prepared for their own extraordinary journeys in life, but to hold on to their evolving values and personal achievements. The message is simple; what we do should never be more important than who we are."

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My Dream Job was premiered at the Kings Theatre in Southsea in March 2018, with more than 500 primary-aged children taking to the stage in an array of 'career focussed' costumes. Since then the songbook has been made available for purchase on Portsmouth Music Hub's website, at www.portsmouthmusichub.org.uk.

This is the seventh consecutive year that Portsmouth Music Hub has been shortlisted for a Music Teachers Award for Excellence, with the Hub winning the Music Education Council's Major Award in 2016 and 2017.

The winner of the Outstanding Print Resource will be announced at the Music Teachers Awards for Excellence on 6 March 2019, at a ceremony in London.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PORTSMOUTH MUSIC HUB!

On Wednesday 7 November, to mark its seventh anniversary, Portsmouth Music Hub has held a special concert at Craneswater Junior School in Portsmouth.

Hundreds of children enjoyed a performance from the University of Portsmouth Wind Band. The musicians delighted the young audience with a medley of songs from Disney's popular film Moana, plus there was music from Mamma Mia, Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Portsmouth Music Hub was established in 2011 as part of the National Plan for Music Education. It was the first national Hub, and has been committed to offering every child in Portsmouth the chance to play a musical instrument, to sing and to develop a passion for music. To provide creative opportunities for children and young people the Hub has enlisted the support of more than 50 organisations, including from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth University and The Royal Marines Band Service.

The concert at Craneswater Junior School was both an anniversary celebration and example of the collaboration between the Music Hub, its partners and schools.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "Since 2011 the Music Hub has organised hundreds of events, workshops, conferences and guaranteed that every child, no matter what their background, has the opportunity to be part of our city's cultural life. In the past seven years we've held cultural carnivals, developed our Live Music Portsmouth campaign, used music to teach CPR, and given thousands of children the chance to perform in our choirs, ensembles and bands. Currently we're delivering a campaign that harnesses the power of music to deliver important environmental messages. The future for Portsmouth Music Hub is a bright one."

CEILIDH WEEK GETS THE CITY'S CHILDREN DANCING

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The Live Music Portsmouth campaign continues to go from strength to strength, and last week the campaign took to the road, visiting schools across the city to give hundreds of children and young people the opportunity to experience and enjoy music and music-making.

 As part of the Live Music Portsmouth campaign 24 primary and secondary schools and more than 500 children have been participating in the Portsmouth Schools Ceilidh programme. The aim of the programme is to raise children's awareness and appreciation of British traditional dance and to give young musicians the chance to perform alongside a professional ceilidh band.

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 The week of dance was organised by Portsmouth Music Hub and has been offered free to city schools. Sue Beckett, the Chief Executive of the Hub said: "We've been running the Ceilidh week for the past five years, and this year we've had children performing as part of the band while their classmates danced; it's been really encouraging to see so many children dancing and playing in the band. Seeing so much enthusiasm, participation and lots of smiles and laughter proves that the Portsmouth Live Music campaign is making a cultural difference to our city."

 Portsmouth Music Hub launched the Live Music campaign in 2016, and since then it has been recognised, both locally and nationally, as a powerful initiative to bring together arts organisations, professional performers and schools to engage children's creativity, imagination and their passion for music and the arts. This year, due to the popularity of the Live Music campaign, the week of Ceilidh has been introduced into secondary schools:

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 Jo Harmer from FolkActive, the dance organisation that led the Ceilidh week said:

"The folk arts can connect us with people and places from the past, as well as with each other in the here and now.  Dancing is a very human activity; it's fun, it's great exercise and it brings people and communities together! Life skills such as team work and communication skills develop naturally through social activities in which every child feels part of the group and develops the confidence to mix with other children. The positive energy has been amazing at the ceilidhs and I'm excited about the future of folk music in the city!”

One World Week

Portsmouth Music Hub has been praised for its commitment to promoting environmental awareness by the national charity One World Week.

The charity encourages people to take action to build a just, more equal, inclusive and peaceful world that safeguards environmental resources for future generations. In the lead up to One World Week, which takes place from 21 - 28 October, the charity said: "Portsmouth Music Hub launched its One World campaign recently with a great song which 1500 children sang on the Guildhall steps in Portsmouth"

The charity continued: "We all have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re not doing enough to protect our world. We have 7.2 billion people on a planet with limited resources yet we throw things away without a thought, we ignore the costs to people and the environment of producing them and we never worry about supplies running out for future generations.

'We don’t seem to care about pollution either, even though we know that poor air quality is damaging children’s health and that marine animals are dying entangled in plastic. We don’t worry that pesticides are wiping out insect populations including bees, or that housing, roads and industry are destroying other wildlife. We’re also taking huge risks with our climate. Burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests are warming the atmosphere, melting ice caps and threatening sea level rises. Scientists are warning us that we’ve only got a few years to change if we are to prevent runaway climate change. We need to make changes fast.'

'The world is a deeply unfair place. Just look at the hunger, poverty and homelessness around the world and the sheer number of refugees. Surely we can come up with a better way, a system which works for the common good? A system which isn’t focused on growth at all cost, which acknowledges the limits of our one world and sees how these issues are linked together by the way we live.'

One World Week starts on Sunday 21 October. To find out what’s going on in Portsmouth visit www.campaign.exchange/events-for-one-world-week-in-the-portsmouth-area

1500 Voices Save the Planet

The BBC were in Portsmouth on Friday 28 September to film 1500 local children singing about the environment for BBC Music Day.

This was Portsmouth's contribution to the BBC's national celebration of music that takes place all over country.

The children, aged 6 - 16, performed the 'One World' anthem on the Guildhall steps for the BBC cameras. The song, created by Portsmouth Music Hub's award-winning team of composers, reminds us all that we have to take care of our planet, and that changes we make to the way we live our lives can have a huge impact on the environment. Portsmouth Music Hub's recently launched environmental campaign will hold events throughout the year, including art and poetry competitions, special drama productions in schools, social media campaigns and in June there will be major concert at the Guildhall, with performances from local children to celebrate World Environment Day 2019.

Sue Beckett, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Music Hub, who led the children's choir, said: "The children have had an amazing experience and we've all been excited to be part of the BBC's Music Day. We're really pleased that the BBC decided to be part of our special event and to film the children performing our One World anthem, it really has helped us to communicate our important environmental message, that the children of Portsmouth will change our world one song at a time."

Prior to the BBC filming the children had the chance to see YolanDa Brown, the UK's premiere female saxophonist perform her stunning stage show inside the Guildhall. YolanDa has toured all over the world and presented on BBC Radio 2 and SKY. She is soon to have her own show on CBBC and has recently been appointed as Chair of Youth Music, a national charity that promotes music-making for children in difficult circumstances. Speaking after the BBC filming YolanDa said:

"I know the impact music can have on all our lives. It doesn't matter who we are or where we come from, we can all create, compose and enjoy great music. As Chair of Youth Music I've seen at first hand the power of music to inspire confidence, self-respect and a passion for creativity that will last a lifetime.

After the concert inside the Guildhall YolanDa and her band performed with the children on the Guildhall steps, all of them singing Portsmouth Music Hub's 'One World' song for the BBC cameras. YolanDa went on to say: "Portsmouth Music Hub shares a commitment to give every child, no matter what their personal background, the opportunity to learn, create and achieve, and they encourage every child to believe in themselves. Music Hubs around the country share that dedication and it's a privilege and a pleasure to be making my contribution to inspirational music and culture in Portsmouth. BBC Music Day is a day of talent, creativity and inspiration, and it reminds us all that music has the power to change our communities and the world."