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Liverpool's In Harmony to expand as it marks 10 years

Liverpool’s In Harmony project is celebrating its 10th anniversary this spring.

And the RLPO has launched a fresh fundraising drive to help even more city children get the chance to experience the power and pleasure of playing music.

The initiative, based on Venezuela’s life-changing El Sistema project, sees the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and its professional musicians using orchestral music-making to improve the health, education and aspirations of children and young people in Everton.

It was established in 2009 at Faith Primary School with 84 children taking part, and since then has expanded so that in now involves 720 children and young people aged up to 18 and their families in music every week, free of charge, in and out of school.

Music making takes place at Faith Primary School, The Beacon CE Primary, Everton Nursery School and Family Centre and at Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary, the Phil’s rehearsal centre in West Everton.

And over the past decade the initiative has benefitted 2,000 young people and their families, who have taken part in 300 performances at 38 venues – including the Royal Albert Hall, playing to a total audience of 48,000.

Now there are also plans to extend the project in to neighbouring Anfield and involve youngsters at All Saints Primary, and ambitions to increase the numbers taking part to 1,500 each year.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic chief executive Michael Eakin said: “Every single child is involved. It’s not just for a small elite group. It’s part of the school day, and school life. It’s an opportunity to travel, perform, and collaborate with international artists.

“You see increased confidence, well-being, aspiration and skills not just in music but in life itself.

“At a time when music education is increasingly the preserve of a small number of people, it’s a chance for children to play instruments that they wouldn’t normally get.

“For us, it gives our musicians huge satisfaction, and a deep connection with the community on our doorstep.”

In Harmony costs £318 per child per year to run, including their instrument and tuition.

RLPO chief conductor Vasily Petrenko added: “I wish the Government would back up projects around the country so 15 million could have it. However, in the current economic climate, let’s see how much we can encourage them!”

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In Harmony photo by Mark McNulty

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