A TOP composer who has performed with Queen legend Brian May and worked on prime-time TV programmes such as Coronation Street and Cold Feet is leading the band at a series of concerts involving 4,000 schoolchildren supported by a Wrexham copy firm.
Youngsters from AmaSing, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2017, are performing at venues in Wrexham, Chester and the Wirral over the next few months.
They will be accompanied by a professional band thanks in part to £1,000 sponsorship from the Wrexham Industrial Estate-based Rawson Digital.
Musician and composer Andrew Smith, of Romiley, Stockport, is also helping to direct the shows having previously led choirs to support Queen legend Brian May and famous tenor Russell Watson.
He has arranged music for TV programmes such as Coronation Street and Cold Feet and his work has been played by world famous orchestras, including the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata.
Chester-based AmaSing was founded by Rachael Borman, a teacher at St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Primary School in Hoole, who believes music and arts are powerful tools for children to express themselves and celebrate diversity.
Rawson Digital, which is stumping up the cash to pay for the professional band for the Wrexham concert, also sponsored workshops run by AmaSing last year.
Schoolchildren created an inspiring song called Inner Beauty with a group of adults with learning difficulties which will be performed at each of the upcoming shows, starting at the William Aston Hall, Glyndwr University, in Wrexham on March 9 and 10.
Andrew Smith, 34, who worked on the song having collaborated on projects with Rachael in the past, said: “Using professional musicians in the show is aspirational for the kids. They are still the stars of the show but accompanied by professionals.
“The band is made up of professional musicians from the north west who all have eclectic experiences in the music world.
“Some have played on cruise ships, some are tutors at leading education institutions in the UK and some play in recording studios and for pop artists around the world.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone. All the composing and arrangements are done and now it’s time to bring it all together to make a professional production which we simply wouldn’t have been able to do without the support of Rawson Digital.”
He added: “I love collaborating and working with young people. There is a stereotypical view of a composer sat in a dark room working on their own.
“I like working with a group and creating music together. It allows them to express themselves through music even if they don’t necessarily have the technical skills to do that.”
Rachael said: “Having the band makes the whole show a more aspirational experience for the kids. It’s so exciting for them and we can’t wait for the shows.
“AmaSing has been running for three years and this is the first year we’re putting on shows in Wrexham.
“The whole project is about celebrating diversity and being unique. All the arts based activities centre around that, building on their self-esteem and confidence.
“We’re so grateful to Rawson Digital for sponsoring the band. It’s brilliant for the kids to be able to perform with a live band rather than a backing track.
“Rawson Digital also sponsored the workshops where we created the song Inner Beauty. It’s a really special song and we didn’t want it to just be a one-off which is why we’re going to use it in every show.
“This year we’ve reached 130 schools across Cheshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and the Wirral, and there will be about 4,000 kids performing over the three venues.”
Vaughn Rawson, managing director of Rawson Digital which supplies and maintains photocopiers and printers to companies across North Wales, the North West and beyond, and also has a sister company which provides full IT services, said: “When I met Rachael, I was so impressed with her passion for making a difference to children’s lives through music and the arts.
“We were delighted to provide sponsorship for the workshops last year that led to the creation of the song Inner Beauty.
“It us such a moving and uplifting song, we were blown away. The children deserve to perform with a professional band and we had no hesitation in helping to make that happen.
“The shows are going to be fantastic. AmaSing is a brilliant organisation and the children are so talented, I urge the community to come out and give them your support.”
Andrew Smith, who has worked closely with AmaSing since it was founded, has an impressive CV which has lead him to work with orchestras in both Sweden and Japan.
He said: “I feel very fortunate to have turned my hobby into a career, and worked with some amazing people and organisations along the way. I’ve worked a lot with the BBC, writing orchestral music, which is what I specialise in, and doing arrangements.
“I’ve sometimes collaborated with bands to bring an orchestral sound to their tracks including Manchester based Prose. My involvement with TV programmes such as Coronation Street has included arranging songs and working with choirs for many of their wedding, funeral and Christmas scenes. For example when Roy and Hayley got married I did the background music for that.
“Similarly, on Cold Feet and when the character Jen got breast cancer and joined a choir, we were that choir that performed in the programme.
“I’ve also had the opportunity to work with high profile musicians and singers such as Brian May, Russell Watson and Susan Boyle for when they’re on tour and want to do a couple of numbers with a choir.”
Andrew, who grew up in the Stockport area and attended Leeds College of Music, began his love affair with music as a child and is keen to share his passion with young people.
He said: “I play the piano and keyboard and also conduct. My mum and dad acquired a piano when I was a kid. They didn’t really play it but I liked it and it became a hobby.
“I’m passionate about helping young people and showing them that orchestral music is open to everyone and you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.”
To purchase tickets to the AmaSing shows visit amasing.org.uk