CHILDREN from four County Durham schools will perform at a celebration of German culture this month.

More than 200 pupils from Ramshaw, Framwellgate Moor, St Margaret’s C of E and Durham Gilesgate Primary Schools have learnt German songs and dances in preparation for a special performance in Durham on Thursday, June 13.

They will accompany professional German singer and accordion player Martina Schwarz in an open-air performance in the city’s Millennium Place at 5.30pm, as part of a Night of German Kultur.

The evening of free events will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of a town twinning agreement between County Durham and the German university city of Tübingen.

Youngsters at Ramshaw Primary have been honing their vocals and practising their moves in weekly rehearsals, run by Durham County Council’s assistant international officer, Michele Thorns, who also teaches modern foreign languages at the school.

Ramshaw teacher Liz Sturrock said: “The children are all really excited about the event and are busy practising the German songs enthusiastically. The majority of the children involved in this performance had the fantastic opportunity to visit our partner school in Germany at Christmas and have immersed themselves in the German culture and have continued to develop their German language skills.”

The Northern Echo:

Musician Martina Schwarz, above, said: “I am delighted and honoured to contribute to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the partnership between County Durham and Tübingen with my interactive German song programme.

“Music and songs are an excellent vehicle for language learning as language in itself is music with its rhythm and intonations. Most of us have experienced the sensation of having a song in our head and it won’t go away. In German we call this sensation ‘Ohrwurm’, meaning ‘ear worm’.

“Singing and responding to a song helps children to remember key structures and vocabulary. A catchy tune will trigger the pupils desire to sing the song again and again.

"Learning language through songs can therefore be an ideal motivator for young learners.”

Entertainment will include German-inspired music by the award-winning NASUWT Riverside Band at 6.30pm, a concert of works by Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and Georg Frideric Handel and more by the Tübinger Saxophon Ensemble at 7.15pm and Trimdon folk group Skerne at 8.15pm. Free German and English storytelling will be held in Clayport Library at 11am, 1.30pm and 6.15pm.


to view the full programme of anniversary events.