The Word Choir

On Saturday 24 June, The Word Choir filled up the building with a their spectacular sound as they performed their own original song – Sand Dancers.

The choir worked alongside professional composer and producer Will Lang and Choir Leader Amy Leach to write and record a song as part of an Arts Council funded project.

The song, Sand Dancers, is a collaboration of what the local area and history means to each member of the choir and it was performed as part of our WRITE Festival.


Sand Dancers

In South Shields born we work the pits
Glass making and building ships
With the rise of the Tyne the boats come in
With the fish and the food and the people they bring

Chorus: Heading out to the mouth we’ll dance on the sand
The sun’ll come up to guide us
Years have come and gone, still we stay strong
No man or sea divide us

Four hundred years the Romans were here
Arbeia was built on the Lawe top
The soldiers stood tall as they built the wall
And then the empire it did fall

Twelve hundred A.D. the name Shields stuck
As so they called the fishermans’ huts
There’s North and South as the Tyne flows out
Through the piers by the guide of the light house.

The lifeboat stands for all to see
Reminds us of our mountainous seas
Sailing out bravely to those who are stricken
On treacherous rocks known as the Black Middens

The Lifeboat Tyne its maker berthed
The Wouldhave story needs unearthed
Tyne’s gallant crew saved a thousand souls
Beyond the bar to the mouth of the storm.

Dear Lionel Bell was the salt of the earth
And this place panned it for all it’s worth
The water we’d heat and the salt we’d send
To every town from the Tyne to the Thames.

A fish wife they called Dolly Peel
Would hide the lads from the press gang
She’s standing proud on River Drive
She still looks over our canny Tyne.

It’s been a century since the old Yemenis
Sailed to Shields on the merchant seas
Side by side we’ve always been
And will be ‘til the last of the dictionary men.