An exhibition of the work Amber’s education team has been doing in Wallsend.
In 1972, juvenile jazz bands were everywhere in the North East and in many other industrial areas of the UK. In one of its earliest films, Wallsend 72, Amber documented the Rising Sun Legionnaires along with the Swan Hunter’s Brass Band.
Using the film as a starting point, in 2015 Amber Education worked on a film and photography project with pupils at Carville Primary School, helping them to explore and document jazz band culture. They traced 5 former band members who could share memories and memorabilia with Year 5 pupils. The project snowballed involving the whole school, as well as Wallsend’s only remaining Jazz Band, as they worked towards a showcase event and the march of The Carvillians.
In 2016/17 Amber Education worked with ex-members of the Rising Sun Legionnaires on making their own film about their experiences. Photographs were taken from the photo albums of members and those associated with the band in Wallsend. This selection conveys the enthusiasm and passion of the members, their pride in presentation and performance, the colourful brashness of the uniforms and the joyful noise. Memorabilia was liberated from lofts and garages as they embarked on a project to tell the story of a childhood dominated by kazoos, maces, sashes, drums and sand shoe whitener.
Both Carville Primary’s film, Wallsend 72 Project and the film by ex-members of Rising Sun, We Are The Legionnaires are screened as part of the exhibition.
The exhibition was curated by Jess Petty. The work was supported by:
Heritage Lottery Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Struan Foundation