School pupils hit all the right notes

Whitehouse Primary School's Scott McGurk and Aaron Martin trumpet their award winning film with Robyn Finlay and Daina Cardwell, Mayor  Billy Webb, Northgate's James Turnbull, and violinist Karen Sexton as Toy Story's 'Jessie'. INNT 13-223-CON
Whitehouse Primary School's Scott McGurk and Aaron Martin trumpet their award winning film with Robyn Finlay and Daina Cardwell, Mayor Billy Webb, Northgate's James Turnbull, and violinist Karen Sexton as Toy Story's 'Jessie'. INNT 13-223-CON
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Two Newtownabbey primary schools came top of the class recently when their short films received their premiere as part of the SoundBytes project developed in partnership with the Ulster Orchestra and Northgate Managed Services - Northern Ireland’s largest indigenous IT services business.

Abbots Cross and Whitehouse Primary Schools were two of eight Newtownabbey and north Belfast schools taking part in the education project, which involved a series of movie-themed school workshops facilitated by Ulster Orchestra musicians. Ligoniel Primary School was Highly Commended for its short film.

The project also saw the Key Stage 2 pupils make a one-minute short film which was shown at the end of two special concerts of movie music for the children, teachers and family members at the Theatre at The Mill.

Tracy Marshall, Head of Development and Education at the Ulster Orchestra said: “This has been a fantastic project and we want to thank Northgate Managed Services, our newest education partner, for providing the technology behind SoundBytes and for making the project happen.

“Excitement was rising by the end of each concert as the Orchestra played through some great movie music, starting with the theme tune from Superman and ending with the opening music to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to accompany the winning one-minute films which were shown on a big screen,” she explained.

Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra works in partnership with many of the region’s leading organisations and businesses which means that 30,000 children, young people and adults get to know the Ulster Orchestra through its education and outreach projects every year. The SoundBytes project involved over 300 children across the eight schools.

Eleanor Lee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Northgate Managed Services said that the company’s support for the SoundBytes project was just one element of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities.

“Northgate is one of the biggest local employers in the north Belfast-Newtownabbey areas and as we continue to play a pivotal role in education through our work with Classroom 2000 (C2K), it is important for us to continue to foster links with the schools and community we work with.

“The innovative SoundBytes project has not only been fun, but has also helped us find new ways to enhance children’s development and learning opportunities, providing something different that stimulates their future interest in technology and digital media. I hope that everyone who took part in SoundBytes enjoyed the experience, as much as we did,” she said.

Whitehouse Primary School’s P7 teacher Mrs Richmond said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been one of the winners in the SoundBytes competition. It was a new challenge for us and was very rewarding. Winning has been an added extra. Both of our Year 7 classes took part in the event with 42 pupils in total. The project provided us with lots of new and challenging opportunities. It was also exciting to use and further develop our ICT skills alongside music,” she said.

Mrs Watson, who also teaches Whitehouse Primary School’s P7s added: “The pupils enjoyed being part of the project and their work and enthusiasm throughout reflected this. They had to learn to work collaboratively and solve problems and challenges along the way.”

“The children had experience in learning to rethink and modify ideas as the project progressed. However, the key benefits to all have been the enjoyment and satisfaction when films were finally put together and showcased,” she said.

Commenting on their win, Kathryn McClean of Abbots Cross Primary School said: “Abbots Cross Primary 5s have really enjoyed being part of the SoundBytes project. The children loved listening to the trumpeters from the Orchestra and playing percussion alongside them.

“The project has given the children opportunities to experiment with both music and ICT and we loved the challenge of making the video,” she said.

The winning schools received a Toshiba Tablet, Winner’s Certificate and Cisco Flip HD Video camera, courtesy of Northgate Managed Services.