May 3rd 2021
‘Gee Seven’ song and music video launches ambitious worldwide initiative
A new song, Gee Seven, specially written by Sir Tim Rice, has today been released as part of an emotive YouTube video. The joyful but poignant song is at the heart of an ambitious Cornish grassroots programme for children, Sing2G7, which aims to put children’s voices at the heart of the 2021 G7 Summit, which will take place in the Cornish seaside village of Carbis Bay in June.
Sing2G7, led by volunteers, is inviting young singers across the globe to join Cornwall’s children to deliver a musical message to world leaders. Already, over 10,000 young voices in 16 countries have signed up to sing, from individuals in lockdown to school choirs to Brownie packs to a South African township choir. Over 100 primary schools in the UK are taking part as well as 14 cathedral choirs. International sign-ups include singers in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Malaysia, Spain, USA and Vietnam.
Young singers are being encouraged to learn, sing and share their renditions of Gee Seven, which has been recorded by Truro Cathedral’s 35 boy and girl choristers. Free sheet music and other music teaching resources can be downloaded today via www.sing2G7.org.
In addition, free cross-curricular classroom resources on G7 agenda themes and leadership are available for teachers in the form of an Edu-pack created by teachers at Sing2G7 partner Truro School. Organisers hope that by the time the Summit opens in Cornwall on the 11th June 50,000 young singers will have joined the chorus of 'Gee Seven' voices learning, singing and sharing their musical message from all around the world.
The Sing2G7 initiative is the brainchild of Chris Gray, Director of Music, Truro Cathedral and Esmé Page, Founder of the charity Cornwall Hugs Grenfell, who worked together in 2018 on the song Grenfell From Today which saw over 6,000 voices worldwide join in musical solidarity to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.
'Kids today have a desperate need to speak to power and be heard,’ says Page. ‘I envisaged the G7 summit filling our screens but, for our children, remaining remote (despite happening on our doorstep), neither relevant to them nor interested in their ideas. My ten-year-old is frequently in tears over the plight of endangered species and feels powerless: ‘Who will listen to me, I’m just a child!’ he says. Our vision is that this song will amplify children’s voices, creating such a loud, united, joyful sound that their powerful message will be un-ignorable and their voices take their rightful place, at the heart of discussions which decide their future. As leaders prepare to sit down to talk, children of the world will be standing up to sing. This year has been especially disempowering and isolating for children, so it’s poignant that music can bring together children of all backgrounds and cultures in this shared purpose. We hope their voices will indeed be heard!’
About the song Gee Seven
The song, Gee Seven, is a gift from lyricist Tim Rice and composer Peter Hobbs to Truro Cathedral Choristers, specifically for the Sing2G7 initiative. It was specially arranged for their voices by Joseph Wicks (The Gesualdo Six). Aimed at young children, the catchy song takes an extravagant romp around the number seven throughout history. ‘I wanted to write a song that is fun and toe-tapping so that children enjoy singing it.’ says Rice. Towards the end, the song shifts emotionally, pointing to the fragility of ‘our only earthly home’ and ending with an urgent message to G7 leaders to collaborate and take their responsibility seriously to each other and to the rest of the world:
Gee Seven – let nation speak to nation
Gee Seven – don’t let the others down
Gee Seven – don’t forget the not so fortunate
Gee -Seven – or we’ll run you out of town
‘In the context of history and science, we are very, very small and this is just our moment in time,’ continues Rice. ‘We’re saying to G7 leaders, you just happen to be our leaders in this moment, so watch it.’
The song video of the choristers singing, shot by a large pro bono creative crew led by Director of Photography Chris Yacoubian, is intercut with footage to bring home key concerns of climate change and world poverty, so close to children’s hearts.
Chris Gray, Director of Music, Truro Cathedral comments, ‘We were delighted when Sir Tim agreed to write a song for us for the project. One of the many beauties of ‘Gee Seven’ is that every child can enjoy singing it. Whether in a choir or virtually at home, everyone can join in and we hope they will. Music has the power to connect and move us beyond all barriers, even Covid. We’re excited to see thousands keen to join us already and look forward to hearing many different renditions as singers start to post them online.’
Singers are invited to post their renditions of the song online using the hashtag #Sing2G7 and tagging in @Sing2G7. The organisers also plan a ‘mega-zoom,’ joining singers in a global rehearsal just before the summit in June.
Choristers comment on what the project means to them
The Gee Seven song video ends with reference to the title of Greta Thunberg’s pocket book, ’No one is too small to make a difference,’ a sentiment echoed echoed by choristers discussing their part in the programme.
‘Everyone can make a difference, even a child. Just because we’re children, it doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference to these things, ’ says Josh, (12).
‘We’re the future and we’re going to have to deal with this environment stuff. We’re younger than them (the leaders) and we’ll outlive them and if they keep doing it wrong, we’re going to have to live with it. For example, I want them to decide to stop using coal because it’s ruining everything,’ says chorister Lawrence (11), continuing, ‘All of us singing the song will make a difference because they might listen to it and they might like it and then they might change their minds about some of these things we’re singing about. Every single word we sang matters. We didn’t waste any words,’
Girl Chorister and soloist, Chloe (16) says, ‘It’s made me think about how I use my voice and what I want to say with it. It’s really important that as young people we all know that we can be heard. The song is playful but it has a deeper meaning – we all need to work together and go past our differences to look after each other and the world.’
Sing2G7 is a concept created jointly by Chris Gray (Director of Music, Truro Cathedral) and Esmé Page (Founder, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell). It is an international children’s engagement programme prompted by UK’s hosting of the G72021 and grew out of the suggestion, ‘Imagine if we could put children’s voices at the heart of G7 and make the summit relevant to their young lives.’ The chosen vehicle of the initiative is a song, ‘Gee Seven’, written specially for the project by Tim Rice, Patron of Truro Cathedral Choir, with music by Peter Hobbs in an arrangement by Joseph Wicks. Through the song, the 35 choristers aged 8-18 are inspiring children around the world to unite and ‘sing to G7!’ with a strong message, urging them to take full responsibility for the rest of the world. So far over 10,000 voices have registered to sing the song in 16 countries across the world. Singers are invited to post recordings and videos under #Sing2G7. Through this medium the organisers aim to make a loud, joyful sound issuing from all corners of the world, making the musical message of this generation un-ignorable to world leaders.
The song is released with a video, created by a large pro bono professional team and the entire project is volunteer led, with Vicky Garner, www.garnerandtonic.co.uk and Sarah McLachlan working closely with Chris Gray and Esmé Page as the core team.
Sing2G7 sits on its own website, www.sing2g7.org, where free music resources and an extensive education pack for primary school children are hosted, the latter created for teachers by teachers at Truro School, to enable them to make the Summit relevant in the classroom.
Partners in the project are Truro Cathedral, Truro School, Cornwall Music Service Trust, Cornwall Council, The Diocese of Truro, Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station and Future Leaders Network.
For further information or more images please contact: Sing2G7@gmail.com
Esmé Page: 07803 594 285
Lee Simpson and Caroline Fletcher, Fourth Day: 020 7403 4411
1. Sir Tim Rice with choristers and G7 flags