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Musicians back 10th Birthday Appeal

Posted on 16 April 2014

Sage Gateshead has announced two events to raise money for its 10th Birthday Appeal: A Grade-1-a-Thon and 24 Hours of Folk.

Players from Royal Northern Sinfonia put their virtuoso reputations on the line; and popular folk artists such as The Unthanks, Jim Moray, Fran Smith, The Demon Barbers, Bryony Griffith and Will Hampson unite in a World Record attempt!

Two sponsored events will be taking place in the run up to Sage Gateshead’s 10th Birthday in December this year:

Firstly, Royal Northern Sinfonia players are doing a sponsored Grade-1-a-Thon, where each will learn and be examined in an instrument they have never played before. This will see Orchestra Leader and Principal Violin, Bradley Creswick wrestling with a bassoon in the hope of passing a public examination at Sage Gateshead in December.

It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to master an instrument. Orchestra members will have only a matter of months between being presented with their instruments in which to rack up the practice hours and emerge victorious over their respective wood and metal adversaries.

Secondly, popular folk artists are uniting under the banner of Folkworks to take part in a record breaking attempt, a 24 hour non-stop folk session. The session will begin at 10am on June 7th and run till 10am June 8th. It will include a selection of traditional music, song, dance and stories. Other artists involved include Taffy Thomas, Alistair Anderson, founder of Folkworks, Jim Boyle and Dave Gray and The Teacups. Not only does this year mark 10 years of Sage Gateshead it also marks 25 years of Folkworks Summer Schools and the first year of the appointment of Folkworks Associate Artist, Eliza Carthy.

In June 2012 Arts Council England set Sage Gateshead the challenge of raising £4 million by July 2015 in order to claim an additional £2 million in match funding to help secure the future of the work. In December this year Sage Gateshead celebrates its 10th Birthday and has set up an appeal to help meet this challenge –the 10th Birthday Appeal.

So far concert goers, friends and staff have supported the appeal in a number of ways including naming seats, giving one off donations and running the Great North Run. The appeal has really caught the hearts and imaginations of those proud to have Sage Gateshead and its work in the North East. Now the two founding organisations that came together to create Sage Gateshead, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Folkworks, are harnessing their power to get behind the appeal!

There are opportunities for everyone to get involved:

We are extremely grateful to the Grade-1-a-Thon participants for taking this risk, all for the 10th Birthday Appeal. They are asking for your sponsorship to help make our first ever Grade-1-a-Thon a roaring success.

Take Part
Do you fancy your chances in the grade-1-a-thon? Would you like to take part and stand alongside our Royal Northern Sinfonia in this great challenge? We firmly believe that anyone can learn an instrument, and we would love you to take this opportunity to do something exciting and help raise sponsorship for Sage Gateshead.

24 Hours of Folk
We are inviting keen musicians to gather sponsorship and take part. If you don’t play but would like to support the record attempt you can attend over the day of the attempt, donate or just spread the word.

For details about any of these challenges please contact “*Helen Barthorpe“*.


Media Contact: Michele McCallion, Marketing and Communications Manager 0191 443 4573 |

Notes to editors:

Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra, has built a distinctive reputation as a fresh-thinking and versatile orchestra. The orchestra was founded in 1958 by BBC musicologist and producer Michael Hall. The Queen bestowed the title of ‘Royal’ on Northern Sinfonia in 2013, recognising it as one of the UK’s finest orchestras – the first time any UK orchestra has been so honoured for over twenty years.

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