The Music Federation Schools (Windmill in Belle Isle and Low Road, Hunslet) have supplied many of the vocal performances for the new Sainbury’s Christmas advert now being broadcast to TVs across the nation.
The schools have for some time been renowned for their unique curriculum, incredibly high aspirations, and glowing Ofsted reports. The schools’ relationship with Opera North is nationally acclaimed and goes from strength to strength as they celebrate the fifth birthday of In Harmony in 2018. However, it is the partnership with Danny Gough’s Class Dynamix which has provided the latest musical opportunity.
Executive Headteacher, Andy Gamble explains:
“I first met Danny when I was at University. We were both doing our music degrees at Leeds. When our paths crossed again 10 years ago we decided to start collaborating, delivering social and culturally important messages to children through the incredible songs and music which Danny writes and delivers. Danny is so incredibly gifted, passionate and energetic, that the children can’t wait for him to come in with Class Dynamix.
“We became Danny’s first Gold Partnership schools and he has become an extended member of our team. Danny works with many schools across Leeds but felt it was fitting to invite the first Gold Partnership School to provide the children to work with him and the studio team on this ‘secret project’ for a major supermarket. I was fascinated and wanted our children to be part of it. After a flurry of text messages and my team’s ‘change the world right now’ approach, we made it happen. But it had to be recorded in secret – even the children didn’t know what their vocal performances would be used for.
“Following some rehearsals at school and a day in a recording studio laying down tracks, the production team were satisfied that they had the quality they needed for such an important project. As a Headteacher, I know that we have been able to give our children an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams – something very few people get to experience. It makes me proud to know we made that happen – thanks to Danny at Class Dynamix.”
Danny’s excitement at the project was equally passionate:
“I am so thankful to Music Federation and to Andy for their amazing support and collaboration – not just on this project – but for many years as I’ve pursued a path of seeking to inspire young people. Through our original songs and projects, my mission with Class Dynamix is to see happy young people fulfilling their potential, realising their value and awesomeness to make a difference to the world. To feel so valued and recognised by Andy and his schools in return is incredible and has helped me develop and grow Class Dynamix to where it is today. I am deeply indebted.
“When the call came in to be a part of the Sainsbury’s advert – there was only one school I was going to contact! Things had to move fast and the “can-do” approach to making things happen at Music Federation is legendary! This was no exception. Taking young people into the exciting world of a recording studio, maintaining the focus yet harnessing the youthful energy that was required for the advert is a fine skill. The production team at WMP were well aware of my many years experience of achieving this with children which was why we got the call.
“The children were incredible – 7 girls, 7 boys – all singing with passion whilst listening so well to all the instructions they were given. To see the finished advert – directed by Michael Gracey of The Greatest Showman – and to know these young voices are now being heard by millions on TV and online is mind-blowing. The choir parts are really loud in the mix, and the feedback from the various production teams involved has been so positive. This whole project is not just amazing for the kids and their families and for Class Dynamix and Music Federation but for Leeds as a city – being represented on something as huge as this. I’m sure there are a lot of proud people smiling right now at the awesomeness of this life-changing experience!”
And here’s the advert if you haven’t seen it yet: