Sting boosts fund to help young singers

03 December 2010

 GEORDIE rock star Sting has kickstarted a £3m choral fundraising campaign with a few notes of his own.

The Wallsend-born former Police frontman, who played two spectacular concerts in Durham Cathedral last year, has given an undisclosed sum to the cathedral’s new music endowment fund, to support young choristers and musical outreach.

Cathedral chiefs announced the launch of the fund, to be administered by the County Durham Community Foundation, yesterday.

It is hoped the fund will pay for the cathedral to take music into North-East schools and provide full bursaries for ten choristers.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, said: “This will be a gift for future generations, not only to those who come to services and concerts in the cathedral, but across a far wider front where we want to continue to share with others what we are so privileged to enjoy here by day by day.”

Sting played two private shows in Durham Cathedral in November last year, debuting tracks from his If On A Winter’s Night album backed by 40 musicians including award-winning Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell. The performances were recorded for a DVD that was shown on television last Christmas.

The cathedral’s music outreach programme, launched in Sunderland in 2003, now reaches 800 children across the North-East every year.

It has led to several youngsters becoming choristers, including Liam Jones, current BBC Young Chorister of the Year.

Government funding, through the Sing Up programme, was cut this year, but leaders are determined to keep the project going.

All choristers receive a 50 per cent scholarship to The Chorister School. The new fund will help those who cannot afford the remaining costs.

Barbara Gubbins, chief executive of the County Durham Community Foundation, said: “Local primary school children benefit through outreach work, as they experience the joy of singing and the giving of pleasure to others through music making. Participating in music making can boost confidence and encourage positive social skills.

“In a region with above average levels of social deprivation, enabling projects to take place that encourage children to increase their aspirations and achieve more is vital to the well being of our communities.”

For more information on the fund, call the County Durham Community Foundation on 0191-378-6345.