In 2014, the GM Music Hub established an annual Singing Challenge for all Primary Schools across the region, commissioning a new song for the occasion from composer and Vocal Animateur, Stuart Overington. Greater Manchester’s History grew out of a collaboration with the Manchester Histories Festival and celebrated the industrial past of the region, both at work and at play. In 2015, The Timeline Detective by Rob Wilding linked to the KS2 curriculum, helping pupils remember key dates and periods of British history.
The following year, as Greater Manchester has had so many vital links to scientific and industrial developments over the years and as Manchester was also the European City of Science in 2016, Out of the Ark Music, renowned for their songs for children, was approached to write a song. The fantastic A Certain Kind of Imagination was the result, celebrating many of the innovations and scientists from Greater Manchester, as well as encouraging children to develop their own imagination, curiosity and determination. This song was performed live at MOSI by a school from each music service where the children were also able to visit exhibitions about many of the inventors and inventions mentioned in the song!
Singing Challenge 2017 celebrated parks and open spaces, championing the benefits they can bring for health, recreation and community spirit. Once again Out of the Ark Music were approached to write and publish the song. Out of the Ark’s very own Mary Green and Julie Stanley wrote a fantastic new song, Go To The Park which encouraged children to think about all the different fun activities they could do at the park, as well as reminding them of the changing seasons and of the wildlife they may see there. Each music service invited a collection of primary schools to sing at a “park-based” live event.
In 2018 the song chosen for our Singing Challenge was Together in Union, a catchy and fabulous song written by TeePee Music Publications. This song celebrated singing together in unison or harmony, literally uniting the children in song across the hub. This song had an extended bridge section with instrumental parts for wider opportunities sessions in schools.
This year (2019) the song celebrated the 200th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The song, written and published by Out of the Ark Music, was entitled Victorians – What did the Victorians do for us? It looked at the wonderful things the Victorians brought us, from pedal bikes and electric lights to railway trains and sewage drains. The song also reminded us that the UK today is a rich tapestry of different faiths and cultures because of the legacy of the Commonwealth, which Queen Victoria championed during her reign.
It promoted mutual respect for all those from different faiths, which is a wonderful legacy. Again, an amazing live event was staged at Peel Park in Salford where primary school representatives from each music service attended.
We look forward to Singing Challenge 2020!
Singing Challenge Backing Tracks
2016 – Certain Kind of Imagination
2017 – Go to the Park
2018 – Together in Union
2019 – Victorians – What did the Victorians do for Us?