26 April 2023

Samling Futures – bigger than ever

There’s something magical about seeing a hall full of buzzing, excited teenagers being brought to complete silence by a single voice. Students at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy in Sunderland were treated to a concert of opera arias by Samling Artists mezzo-soprano Katherine Aitken, bass-baritone Neil Balfour and pianist Ella O’Neill as part of this year’s Samling Futures visits.

The project was bigger than ever, reaching over 500 students and teachers in seven state secondary schools in Berwickshire, Hexham, Newcastle, South Shields, Sunderland and Durham. Katherine, Neil and Ella were joined by a team of six Samling Academy Singers who took part in masterclasses, demonstrating the skills that go into classical singing and giving a taster of what happens at Samling Academy. The Samling Artists also worked with singers from the host schools. We’re delighted that some of those singers have now successfully auditioned for next year’s Samling Academy and we look forward to welcoming them in October.

“It was a great experience that helped me by improving my confidence in performing in front of others, and I was given helpful advice on what I can improve on, such as where I should look when I am singing in front of a big audience, and how I can really tell the story of what my piece is about.” Josephine, Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Images: Samling Artists Katherine Aitken, Neil Balfour and Ella O’Neill and Academy Singer Margretta Ibrahim at Samling Futures with students at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy and St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, Sunderland. All images (c) Mark Pinder