School children perform in unique celebration of languages and music ahead of Eurovision

Hundreds of primary school children from across the Liverpool City Region joined together to perform a concert of European songs, including a Ukrainian lullaby, at the University of Liverpool’s state-of-the art Tung Auditorium.

The міні (meaning ‘mini’ in Ukrainian) Eurovision event on Friday 28 April saw children deliver incredible renditions of songs in French, Spanish, Italian, German and of course in Ukrainian, to recognise the important connection between Liverpool and Ukraine.

A group of children walking in to the Tung

Performances from the children included a French rap, “Saute et secoue,” which one of the schools taking part, Whitefield Primary in Everton, had performed for King Charles and the Queen Consort during their visit to Liverpool earlier in the week.

The children received high praise from the judges (all University of Liverpool Language students!) who provided their feedback in different languages.

A group of children performing a song

The children also had the chance to join in learning a few words and phrases in Ukrainian thanks to a video from students at Ukrainian University Sumy State, which is twinned with the University of Liverpool.

The concert culminated in the Ukrainian children’s choir delivering a heart-warming performance of “Song of Friendship”. The Rev. Dr Taras Khomych, a Ukrainian Catholic priest who provides pastoral care to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic communities in Liverpool, closed the concert with a moving message of thanks and hope.

The Ukrainian Childrens Choir performing

The concert was made possible by students of foreign languages at the University of Liverpool who have been working with 16 primary schools across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, St Helens, Knowsley and Warrington to promote language learning and celebrate the power of music to bring people together. Each of the schools worked with a student to learn a song in one of the languages, with all schools coming together to perform their songs on 28 April.

Students have also worked with Resonate – the Music Education Hub for Liverpool to develop a padlet of resources for use in schools to teach languages across the city region.

A student teaching a song to a group of children

міні* Eurovision – A Festival of Languages through Music was part of  EuroLearn, curated and delivered by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team and supported by funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Spirit of 2012 and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Professor Lisa Shaw from the Department of Languages, Cultures and Film at the University of Liverpool, who lead the project said: “It was an absolute joy to host the children on campus for the міні Eurovision Festival Finale. They all sang their hearts out and it was brilliant to see these young school pupils get involved in singing and speaking so many different languages.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who got involved in the performance and Culture Liverpool and Spirit of 2012 who made the event possible.”

“I’d also like to thank our students who got stuck into the project and put so much effort into going into schools, teaching the songs and using the language skills they’re learning as part of their degrees to benefit the wider community. I’ve had lots of great feedback from the schools on working with the students which has made me really proud.”

“My only concern is that the real Eurovision won’t now live up to the standard of our міні contest!”

A choir of children being conducted

Rachael Chadwick, a teacher at St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School in Bootle who took part said: “Thank to you Lisa and everyone at the University of Liverpool for co-ordinating such a wonderful celebration of languages and music. The whole event was such fun and it was a delight to see the students and staff share their passion for languages.

“After the concert one of the children even said to me that now they’d like to go to University when they grow up. Right there are the seeds of aspiration the project has sown – it’s fantastic!”

three children waving spanish flags