Pupils join forces to write anti-sectarian song

The Big Project Youth Choir. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Big Project Youth Choir. Picture: Greg Macvean

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CHILDREN from Broomhouse’s shared-campus primary schools have written an anti-sectarian song rejecting the idea of religious prejudice.

Pupils from both St Joseph’s and Broomhouse primaries, as well as Forrester High School, got together with city singer-songwriter Kim Edgar to compose the words and music for the song Below The Surface, which was given its first performance last night by The Big Project Youth Choir.

It is the latest venture for the successful choir, which featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, singing Flower of Scotland as part of Danny Boyle’s much-acclaimed production to represent the different parts of the UK.

The new song, written jointly by seven boys, aged ten to 14, challenges sectarian attitudes and has a chorus which includes the line: “We don’t hold religious grudges, we don’t put people down.”

The Big Project won funding for the song from Youth Scotland’s Stand Up To Sectarianism small grants scheme.

Project manager Sascha Macleod said: “They worked as a group with Kim Edgar and came in each week after school for eight weeks.

“There was a lot of discussion about sectarianism and their ideas around it – it wasn’t a case of just sitting down and writing a song.”

The Big Project, which started as Broomhouse Intervention Group in 2002, is involved in a wide range of work, including regular youth clubs in the evenings and Friday afternoons, a drama project, girls’ football, video club and holiday activity programme.

Last year, it worked with more than 200 children throughout the Broomhouse, Parkhead, Longstone and Saughton Mains areas.

The songwriting, a joint effort led by The Big Project and Broomhouse Young Carers, was part of the Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative project Big Songs.

After last night’s debut performance, the choir – made up of up to 40 youngsters aged seven to 18 – expects to sing it in future as part of their regular repertoire.

The choir performed at the Usher Hall with the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra last year, staged an interactive Big Sing-a-long! show at the Fringe and has just been commissioned by the Capital’s Gaelic school to do a song with them.

Ms Macleod said the choir had been a big hit.

She said: “It’s great, but you have to work hard – there’s the discipline of being in a choir and then the performance itself. But it’s such a sense of achievement and it really boosts their confidence.

“When the younger children join, they have the older ones as role models, they see what they do and just pick it up.”

The choir does not require youngsters to pass an audition before they join.

“If you want to sing and you are willing to come along and knuckle down, not mess around, you can come and sing with us,” said Ms Macleod.

“And we share out the solo parts so everyone gets an opportunity to shine.”

The choir has sung at church services and the Lord Provost’s garden party in the summer.

And soon they are due to sing songs from the Lion King to help celebrate the centenary of the Edinburgh Lions.

Ms Macleod said: “People phone us up all the time, asking us to sing, but it’s not easy to get 40 kids together so we can’t respond to every request.”

BELOW THE SURFACE

The world is broken and no-one knows about it

But with our will we will fix the world

Below the surface, below the surface

Just digging a hole in the ground

We don’t hold religious grudges

We don’t put people down

It ain’t nice to beat up people

Not to mention it is illegal

We’ve all got a voice and we’ve all got a choice

So don’t be rude, we’re all free to choose

Believers or not we don’t have to lose

Awkward silence, nobody knows

How sectarian thinking grows

It’s discrimination, underestimation

It’s judging, it’s mean, it’s cruel

And just telling you, it’s uncool!

Fix the world, we will always be together

No matter what happens we can make the world better

Fix the world, we will always be together

No matter what happens we can make the world better

The world is broken and no-one knows about it

But with our will we will fix the world.