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Let the Games Begin

30/04/2014
Education / Young People / Culture
Issued by Glasgow City Council for East40.

Glasgow Legacy 2014Glasgow school children join forces with music superstars to release UNICEF song to celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

East40, children from schools in the East End of Glasgow today (Wednesday 30th April) releases Let the Games Begin, a single in aid of UNICEF, to celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Young stars from nursery, primary and secondary schools across the East End of Glasgow performed the song live for the first time with Freddie Cowan, lead guitarist from The Vaccines, who’d flown from America to be with the children.

The song has already caught the imagination of hundreds of pupils in the city, not only because of its inspiring message from the children to the athletes coming to the Games, but because the song has been written and recorded with the help of band members from The Vaccines, Franz Ferdinand and Frightened Rabbit.

Download Let the Games Begin (East40) – Glasgow Children’s 2014 Anthem - in aid of UNICEF via iTunes (Chemikal Underground)

Let the Games Begin performed by newly formed band East40 is now available on iTunes with 76p of the £1.29 download cost coming directly to UNICEF to help save and change children’s lives in Scotland and around the world.

The idea to use the song to support UNICEF’s work came after headteacher Louise Hamilton and Principal Teacher Marie Hamilton from St Anne’s Primary School met UNICEF to share the great story behind the school’s long established and successful choir. Freddie Cowan began mentoring the musicians last year with the help of the Celtic FC Foundation and First Bus following the choir’s performance of a previous song at the House of Lords in London.

Speaking from the song launch in Glasgow this morning, Freddie Cowan said: “I have been very honoured to help these children realise their potential, for every effort I put in they respond with double back.

“I am extremely proud of what we have done together and look forward to seeing what will be achieved in the future. I see no end to what can be accomplished, and am delighted that we are able to support UNICEF’s life-saving work through the release of this song.”

Working in partnership

The newly formed band - East40 (named after the postcode of the schools and number of band members) involves pupils between the ages of 3 and 17 from St. Anne’s Primary and the nine schools in the St. Mungo’s Learning Community.

Pupils and teachers have worked on the song over the last few months with Freddie Cowan (The Vaccines) Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand) and local songwriter Jonathan Carr, who composed the song with the children and Scott Hutchison.

The project is a way for Glasgow’s young people to celebrate Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and create both a musical and sporting legacy for Scotland and Commonwealth countries.

Tom Burstow, UNICEF’S 2014 Games Director, said today: “The Games and the power of sport offers a unique opportunity to make positive differences to the lives of children in Scotland and throughout the Commonwealth. We’re delighted that our partnership with Glasgow 2014 is being celebrated and supported by this song - a project which has always had brighter futures for young people at its very heart.”

Celtic FC Foundation has supported the Let the Games Begin project as part of a longer term commitment to school music in the St. Mungo’s Learning Community.

Councillor Stephen Curran, Executive member for Education and Young People, Glasgow City Council said: “This is a wonderful partnership with UNICEF and a fantastic way for our young people to raise money for charity.

“The making of Let the Games Begin is an amazing and unique story and an incredible and unforgettable learning experience for our young people.

“It highlights and showcases the determination of St Anne’s PS and St Mungo’s Learning Community to work with record industry greats and partners like Celtic FC Foundation to create and nurture a piece of 2014 legacy for their city.”

The story behind the song

Having heard of the school’s impressive musical achievements, Freddie Cowan of The Vaccines invited St. Anne’s Primary to London in May 2013 to meet him and the band at their O2 concert.

The trip saw the school perform in the House of Lords and at Columbia Records. Head Teacher Louise Hamilton and Principal Teacher Marie Hamilton also met with Truda White (Andrew Lloyd Webber Music Foundation) and a plan was devised with Glasgow City Council and Celtic FC Foundation to help St. Anne’s re- launch in November 2013 as a School of Music.

Freddie Cowan continued to mentor St. Anne’s and visited the school for music lessons. All 262 pupils at St. Anne’s have instrumental music as part of their weekly school curriculum.

Louise, Marie, Freddie and songwriter Jonathan then came up with the idea to involve the whole of the St. Mungo’s Learning Community to write and record a song for the 2014 Games.

The East End Social & Chem19 Recording Studio both donated to support the recording of the song before the tracks were sent to New York to be mastered under Freddie’s supervision. One of Glasgow’s longest established independent record labels Chemikal Underground, are working with East40 on the song’s iTunes release.

Prominent Scottish artist Gerard M Burns joined the project and, working with a group of pupils from throughout the St. Mungo’s Learning Community, produced a wonderful painting as the official artwork for the song. Pupils from the Learning Community have also had the chance to work with a graphic designer to create their logo and band identity.

Louise Hamilton, Headteacher of St Anne’s Primary school said today: “It has been so exciting and inspiring to have had the chance to work with such talented artists both in the writing and performing of our song. Now being able to launch ‘Let the Games Being’ in partnership with UNICEF is just wonderful. We work very closely in St Mungo’s Learning Community, striving to ensure our children have the highest quality learning experiences and are able to develop their talents in order to really shine and make a difference to the lives of others. We all believe that we are just at the start of a spectacular journey of creating a wonderful legacy through our music.”

Peter Lawwell, CEO of Celtic plc said today: “Celtic FC Foundation supports projects all over the world, but we are never more pleased than to be supporting the prospects and talents of young people here in Glasgow’s East End. This has been a wonderful collaboration between Celtic, the schools and their partners.”

“Celtic will always be more than a football club. We were formed with a strong and fundamental social dimension and we will continue to do all we can to make a positive difference to people’s lives and opportunities through projects such a this.”

Emma Pollock, The East End Social, commented: “Some of the biggest albums Scotland has produced have been recorded at Chem 19 Studios and we’ve had many a star through the door, so it was really refreshing to see East40 step up to the plate and become consummate professionals while the recording was going on. They should be very proud of themselves! We wish East40 the very best of luck with their debut release and hope it raises a lot of money for UNICEF.”

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games said: “UNICEF’s Commonwealth Song, Let The Games Begin, released today, has been brought to life by some of the best in contemporary music talent, across Scotland and the wider UK, and will help in no small way to contribute in a positive way to the valuable work that UNICEF does across the world.”

The project is supported by East End Social, Chemikal Underground, Celtic FC Foundation, Glasgow Legacy 2014 and Glasgow City Council.