School children to stage unique mini-Eurovision concert in languages of Europe
Schoolchildren from across Liverpool City Region will perform a special mini-Eurovision Song Contest tomorrow afternoon (Friday, 28 April) – with a unique concert of European songs, including a Ukrainian lullaby.
Students of foreign languages at the University of Liverpool have been working with schools across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, St Helens and Knowsley to promote language learning and celebrate the power of music to bring people together.
міні Eurovision (міні is Ukrainan for ‘mini’ and pronounced ‘min-yee’) is a Festival of Languages through Music and is part of EuroLearn, curated and delivered by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team.
The programme is supported by funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Spirit of 2012 and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Each of the schools have been working with a student to learn a song in one of the European languages. The students have visited the schools to assist with translation and pronunciation as well as talking about the language and what studying a foreign language at University involves.
The project culminates tomorrow with all the schools coming together to perform their songs at the міні Eurovision Festival Finale in the University of Liverpool’s state-of-the-art Tung auditorium in the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre.
At the festival finale the undergraduate students will recreate the atmosphere of Eurovision by presenting fun language learning activities linked to the songs performed. These activities will showcase not only all the languages that can be learned at the University but also the diversity of languages spoken in the schools taking part and across the city region.
A video specially recorded by the University’s partner university in Ukraine, Sumy State University, will introduce greetings and phrases in Ukrainian for the children to repeat.
The students involved have said that, so far, their paid placements on the project have been an extremely positive experience.
Diarmuid, a second-year student originally from Coventry studying Spanish, French and Italian, has been working with Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Prescot to teach them a French rap “Saute et secoue.” Commenting on his teaching experience so far he said: “Being involved in міні Eurovsion has been such a positive experience for me. I didn’t really know what to expect going into Our Lady’s but it was fantastic – the children were so enthusiastic and learned so fast – I think it only took them half an hour to learn the words! They had loads of questions for me about studying at uni as well which was great.”
Students taking part have also said that being part of міні Eurovision has provided them with invaluable employment skills. Poppy, a final year student who has been working with Year 4 at Castle View Primary, Halton, said: “Through this project I’ve really seen the impact that both music and languages have on the community on a deeper level. It’s inspired me to reflect on the importance of working with different people from different places and I’d love to be involved in a job that would allow me to work with others on something that gives back to the community.”
Ellisha Branscombe, Class Teacher and Music Lead at Hillside Primary School in Prenton, Birkenhead has really enjoyed working with the Liverpool University students who have been teaching the children the Italian song ““Dormi, dormi, o bel bambin”.She said: “The children are really excited to be part of such a big local event doing something they really enjoy. The students from the University have been a great support to the children and the staff, they have instilled their own enthusiasm in us.”
Phil Larkin, Modern Foreign Languages and Music Co-ordinator at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Liverpool said: “At first, the children looked at the German lyrics to our song and they weren’t sure if they would be able to learn them all, but after one session, they had cracked it! I’ve heard children singing it around school and getting all the words right, which is really impressive! We have a significant number of pupils for whom English is not their first language and I’m always amazed at how much language children can absorb.”
“At St Patrick’s we believe learning languages should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world and that’s what this project helps to do.”
Professor Lisa Shaw from the Department of Languages, Cultures and Film at the University of Liverpool, who leads the project said: “It’s been a real pleasure to see our students using their language skills in the community to help inspire a love of languages and excitement around Eurovision! Back in the late 70s, it was watching Eurovision on TV that first sparked my interest in learning French and then Spanish in school!”
“The project has given the school children a chance to develop their language skills while giving our students the opportunity to get off campus and use what they learn in their lectures out in the wider world – it’s a really great example of Eurovision benefitting us in Liverpool in so many ways. We all can’t wait for our міні Eurovision Festival Finale for everyone to enjoy a big celebration of languages, music and foreign cultures.”
Alicia Smith, Arts and Participation Manager at Culture Liverpool, said: “United by Music is the overarching theme that is interwoven throughout our EuroLearn programme, which provides schools and non-school educational settings with a unique opportunity to celebrate all things Eurovision by taking part in and delivering their own events.”
“The University of Liverpool has fully embraced this slogan with міні Eurovision, which celebrates the power of music to bring people together. From a French rap to a Ukrainian lullaby, the festival truly reflects the diversity of the Eurovision Song Contest itself and is a great way to spark an interest in languages for the children. I can’t wait to hear them sing their hearts out at the finale – I think it will be douze points all round!”
Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive at Spirit of 2012 said: “Events like Eurovision bring people together, not just in a shared love of the contest, but on a much deeper and longer-term level, building genuine connections and understanding between people from different backgrounds. We’re very excited about this opportunity to get schoolchildren across Liverpool engaged and united by music. міні Eurovision will itself have a legacy, not just for Liverpool but for future events. We’ll learn about how we can use national events, music and song to engage schools and ignite students’ curiosity and creativity.”