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Sage Gateshead



Posted on 13 July 2022

Mini Sing Band under red light in Sage Two
  • Big Sing and Big Sing for Mini Singers returned to Sage Gateshead
  • Over 2,500 school children united in song
  • 58 schools took part in Sage One and Sage Two

Sage Gateshead’s Big Sing event, including Big Sing for Mini Singers, made a triumphant return this June. Over 2,500 young people got together to perform songs as one large community.

58 schools, from as far as Cumbria and Teesside, took part. Big Sing’s theme was focussed on the environment with Sing for the Earth. The Big Sing for Mini Singers united with ‘On a Journey’, recognising our ability to travel and visit loved ones once more.

The programme, supported by The Kavli Trust in association with Sing Up, has been running for over 19 years. For many pupils, it was the first time they had been to a live concert.

Matt Wigley, Head of Young People’s Programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “The Big Sing for Mini Singers and Big Sing concerts are wonderful end of term events,” he said. “Our aim is to celebrate singing; to inspire and bring children together to experience live music; so, to see so thousands happy faces at Sage Gateshead, many singing in a group for the first time, is a truly special moment.

“Group singing has been restricted over the last couple of years, to welcome so many children to Sage Gateshead to sing together was particularly meaningful,” he said. “If one young person is inspired to continue singing, that’s a good thing – if thousands are inspired that’s amazing.

Big Sing for Mini Singers is a sing-along concert for children and teachers, either in Sage Two at Sage Gateshead or in their own school hall. Teachers receive training and support from Sage Gateshead musicians to help them learn the music.

For Big Sing, teachers receive training and support from musicians at Sage Gateshead, resource packs for the classroom and a workshop in school. The children learn the songs in school before singing with other schools, led by a live band in Sage One.

“The Big Sing is a brilliant opportunity for children. Over the past few years, we haven’t been able to get together, so it’s a special moment,” she said.

“The venue is fantastic. The programme is well-organised, and the training materials are easy to access. We’ve enjoyed learning the songs at school and coming here to celebrate.”

Sean, a pupil at Carr Hill Primary, said,

“It was really fun. All the songs are great; my favourite is Arctic Home. I liked the lights today. I’ve had a great time.”

Big Sing is open to key stages 2 – 4, and Big Sing for Mini Singers is for Reception and KS1 children. However, many songs are suitable for older children or children with additional learning needs.

To find out more about the Big Sing and Big Sing for Mini Singers visit or email


For further media information please contact:

Susie Gray, The Corner Shop PR:, 07834 073795


About Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.