Pictured, sporting their T-Shirts designed by pupil Sienna Wilgaus and sent special delivery from Tokyo courtesy of Min-On Music Research Institute (MOMRI), the reference “Far Away” relates to a song produced by students from both schools. The song is about the separation we have all experienced through the pandemic but also the spirit of togetherness and unity through the long distances that divide us.
In February 2020 the friendship through music programme Japan - Northern Ireland began, developed by lead partners MOMRI and the charity Beyond Skin Northern Ireland. The partnership is a legacy outcome from an Anne O'Donoghue Award administered by Arts Council of Northern Ireland presented to past Glengormley High pupil and CEO of Beyond Skin Darren Ferguson with MOMRI director Olivier Urbain as a mentor.
“Far Away” music video and supporting documentary “Don’t Stop The Music” are available on YouTube. The collaborative production involved Glengormley High School year 10 students, teacher and musician Mr Gary Coey writing the lyrics with students at C&S Music School performing the song. For the next stage of the project the production roles reverse complimented by digital exchange initiatives and cultural celebration events.
As Glengormley High School prepares to go to Integrated status, the project with Japan reaches further embracing shared education with our global neighbours. Music will play the central communication and exchange platform enabling students and teachers from both schools to learning about each other and exchange ideas that assist learning, skills development and build relations between Northern Ireland & Japan.
Mr Richard Massey principal of Glengormley High School said “everyone has a different story about how Covid-19 has changed their lives. During these months of difficulty, our partnership with Beyond Skin has yielded something so positive. Glengormley High School has been blessed through this unique opportunity to connect with another school in Japan – a different continent and culture – yet being empowered to create something so beautiful and unifying.”
The principal of C&S Music School Mr Mouri sharing his thoughts in a recent video sees this project as an opportunity to assist global awareness and an opportunity for students to learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals which the United Nations advocates.
Darren Ferguson said “I am delighted as a past student to be both connected again with the school through our Japan project and to see this new integrated chapter begin. Glengormley High School are a role model example regarding truly recognizing and embracing shared education with their local & global neighbours through music and arts. That formula is a recipe for success, one that will also benefit the wider community.”
The shared vision is that students and teachers from both schools will travel to each other’s countries.
You can find out more about the project www.beyondskin.net/japan
Photography: Paul McIlwaine, also a past student at Glengormley High School.
"Far Away" Music Video
Lyrics by Glengormley High School Northern Ireland Year 10 students:
Performed by Students from C&S Music School Japan
Documentary about C&S Music School and the making of the song "Far Away"