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A group of children singing in the recording studio at Collingwood, wearing Christmas accessories

To celebrate the start of the festive season, pupils from three North East Primary schools have recorded their own Christmas single in the state-of-the-art recording studio at Durham University’s Collingwood College.

Do they know it’s Christmas?

Organised by staff and students at Collingwood as part of their outreach work, the project invited students from Laurel Avenue Primary and St Hild’s Primary in Gilesgate and Burnside Academy in Houghton-Le-Spring to spend the day in Durham, working with students to record their own version of the classic Christmas song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. Student volunteers spent five weeks in the schools teaching the children the song and working with them to perfect their vocals, then on recording day additional volunteers came to the studio to support with videography, photography, sound recording and entertaining the young superstars.

A young boy wearing christmas glasses is happy to be singing at Collingwood

The song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ was selected because of its strong humanitarian message and because it offered an opportunity for the children to recreate the iconic Band Aid music video with their own version of the song.

Having fun in the studio

Pupils visited Collingwood College over the course of three days and spent time in the state-of-the-art Mark Hillery Music Studios. Here, they got the opportunity to experience the entire process of recording a single. There was also time for some festive fun and games over the course of their visit!

A group of children dressed in Christmas accessories singing in recording studio at Collingwood

Touring Collingwood College

While at Collingwood, the children were able to tour the college and explore facilities such as the gym, Junior Common Room, dance studio and sporting facilities, as well as being served lunch through the servery.

Cole Sims, Governor at Burnside Academy and Collingwood College alumnus says:

“It is amazing that Collingwood offers these opportunities to school pupils from the North East and gives them a taste of what fantastic facilities are available at Collingwood College and, hopefully, encourages and inspires them to set their sights on higher education, even at an early age.

“On behalf of the pupils, teachers, staff and governors at Burnside Academy Inspires, I would like to thank Collingwood College, their staff and students, and Durham University for the invitation and we hope this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship.”

Children dressed in Christmas accessories queue up to play a Steinway piano

Reaching out into the community

The schools were specially selected because of their location in the region and their high proportion of pupil premium funding, aimed at improving education outcomes for disadvantaged children in England. Collingwood College was particularly keen to increase their outreach offer in the local community and a music project complemented the excellent work that has already taken place, which focussed on football and art.

Sharing with family and friends

A final cut of the single and a video showcasing all the fun of the recording process has now been released, so that friends and parents can share in the festive cheer and see their children living their Popstar dreams. Watch the video.

Thanks to all of the children involved and to the staff and students of Collingwood College who worked so hard to make Christmas dreams come true!

Find out more

Listen to/watch the special version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Read this blog from one of the students involved in the project.

Find out more about Collingwood College and its outstanding facilities.