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North East poet Paul Cookson has been working with parents and children at Bede Academy.

Paul Cookson (2)Students and parents have been given an insight into rhyme and reason thanks to a popular poet.

Children’s poet Paul Cookson spent two days working with children from reception to Year 5 at Bede Academy, in Blyth.

Workshops culminated in an evening performance for family and friends where Paul exhibited his inimitable brand of humour through prose.

After staging some of his poems to music, during which he played the electric ukulele, he told a packed audience:

“The response from the children and staff has been incredible.”

Bede Primary Headteacher Irene Watson added:

“I don’t think any of us have stopped laughing since Paul came and enriched our lives with words.

“I know the children have been inspired by the sessions and I am expecting this to translate into some superb writing.”

Members of Bede Academy’s Cantata Choir prepare for practice

Cantata ChoirStudents are getting up with the lark to make sure they are in fine voice for a new choir.

Dedicated singers at Bede Academy, in Blyth, are showing commitment beyond the call of duty to get to school by 7.30am for an hour’s singing practice before registration.

They have all been selected for the Cantata Choir, the latest addition to the academy’s growing musical repertoire.

Director of music Helen Kerr explained:

“All of these singers are in our Academy Choir and many play instruments as well so are in the orchestra, wind band or another group or club, so finding time in their busy schedules for practice was difficult.

“They are showing fantastic dedication by coming in early every Friday to learn an intense, unusual and challenging repertoire of songs before the school day begins.

“It’s really paying off because we’re getting amazing feedback from the performances we’re done already.”

The 20 students say the early starts are worth it, including first to arrive Adam Swalwell, who is at school by 7.20am.

Aiesha Grear said:

“It’s hard but totally worth it and really beneficial for our singing. Coming in early together is like having another family around you.”

Matthew Elliott added:

“It’s the thing that makes me get up in the morning and makes me look forward to the school day.”

Olivia Byrom said:

“Being part of the Academy Choir has helped us develop the Cantata Choir, which is building our ability. The songs are more complicated with four part harmonies and different keys. It can be difficult, but really good too.”

Many of the students return to the music department at break times and lunch time to practise, catalogue music and tidy up.

Jay Routledge added:

“I wouldn’t have made the friendships I’ve got without music. We look out for each other and it gives you confidence, which means you do well in your other subjects as well.”

The Cantata Choir, the rest of the Academy choir and the jazz band are being rewarded for their efforts with a musical trip to Italy in July, where the origins of cantata began.