Citizenship - Pupils to sing in Georgia

1st October 2010 at 01:00

Pupils from one of Scotland's poorest communities will make history next week, when they become the first non-Georgian children to perform at the Tbilisi World Music Symposium.

Five children from Thornlie Primary in Pather - on the outskirts of Wishaw in North Lanarkshire - will fly out on Sunday to sing at the opening ceremony the following day. It is the latest stage in a three-year, whole- school project that was only supposed to be a three-day mini-topic.

In 2008, pupils had been asked to bring in newspaper headlines they found intriguing. The escalating conflict between Georgia and Russia, and its human impact, kept coming up. Since then, pupils' interest in the former Soviet republic has mushroomed and staff have embraced a whole range of unanticipated dimensions to the ever-expanding project.

They have, as The TESS reported (January 8), become friends with a boy in the Temi orphanage and have been raising thousands of pounds for a life- changing spinal operation he hopes to undergo next year.

Pupils have also become accomplished in Georgia's unique tradition of polyphonic singing - deemed one of Unesco's "19 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" - and recently headlined at the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

Funding for the trip has come from a sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous. The pupils who will make the trip are all from P6: Nicole Rogan, Zoe Knox, Rebecca Kilpatrick, Lucy Crawford and Amy MacFarlane.

Shavnabada, a male Georgian choir on a UK tour, will sing at a fundraiser for Datuna on November 23 at St Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh. Tickets, priced pound;10, are available by contacting or 01698 352539.

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