In the run-up to Christmas, students and staff at The Blackpool Sixth Form College are using their musical skills to send a powerful message about child poverty.
A talented trio of teachers have composed and produced a song called ‘A Christmas Miracle’ that aims to increase awareness throughout the country of children who live in absolute poverty.
This musical campaign has already gained a huge amount of interest within Blackpool and the surrounding area. Ten schools from across the Fylde Coast of Lancashire joined up with Blackpool Sixth students to record the song and create an accompanying video on Tuesday 8th November. They were also supported by a number of community music groups and local companies provided logistical support.
The public release date for the song and video will be Friday 2nd December 2016. An audio recording will be available for purchase and download on iTunes for 79p with all proceeds being donated to the national charity, The Children’s Society. The money raised will support the charity’s work to improve the lives of the most vulnerable 10-18 year olds across the county.
The song makes use of the Christmas story to deliver a hopeful message about how we can act together to ‘turn the world around’. The focus on child poverty has a particular relevance in Blackpool where the percentage of children living in poverty is 30.6% (against a national average of 21.4% and a North West average of 19.2%).
Blackpool Sixth music teachers Ash Goodinson and John Stevens teamed up with English teacher, Steve Spencer, to create the song. They said they have been overwhelmed by the level of community involvement in the project, from those recording, performing and editing to those offering support behind the scenes. Ash commented, “We all share the same vision and aim to create national awareness of ‘A Christmas Miracle’ to raise money to support the many children in need this Christmas. Mischa Baker, a film and television student at the college said, “I feel privileged to be given the role of video producer within the project. I am really looking forward to filming the recording session on 8th November.”
Listen to the song below:
How to help spread the miracle
- Download ‘#bethemiracle’ sign (here)
- Print it off
- Take a selfie with you holding the sign
- Share it on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #bethemiracle
- Spread the word!
The schools involved in the recording are: Layton Primary School, Carr Head Primary School, St. Chad’s Church of England Primary School, Norbreck Primary Academy, Aspire Academy, Unity Academy, Montgomery High School, South Shore Academy and Hodgson Academy. In addition Poulton Brass Band, Upbeat Music Academy, Blackpool Male Voice Choir and Poulton People’s Choir were involved in the recording.
Peter Mitchell from Hodgson Academy said: “This is a great opportunity for students to perform with a range of choirs and the experience of a live recording is a great educational experience. They have learned so much about ensembles and musicianship and being part of the wider community.”
Ash Goodinson added: “All these organisations have come together to raise the profile of child poverty and everyone has played their part. We want to get to number one in the charts!”
As well as campaigning on issues that affect vulnerable children at a national level, The Children’s Society also runs services in Lancashire for and children on the streets affected by sexual exploitation, those missing from home and advocacy services and early family support.
The Children’s Society’s Deputy Area Director for North of England Joanna Hunt said:
“We’re delighted that The Blackpool Sixth Form College is recording this song to raise awareness and support vulnerable children this Christmas.
“Many of our services work with young people affected by some of the most complex problems in society who are often overlooked and ignored. Funds raised from this single will help us transform lives so we’re truly grateful for their support.”
Local companies have donated their time and services to help with the recording. Blackpool Transport donated transportation for all the schools, Taylor Shaw Catering donated lunch, Arran Paul Audio provided microphones and seating. The Plant Place donated the Christmas tree and decorations and Wigan Music Services were also involved in the recording and preparation.
Former student Gio Torralba helped direct and crew the filming of the recording alongside current BTEC film and television production students.