Spirit of Birmingham

Join the CBSO and Qatar Airways and celebrate the Spirit of Birmingham

Exterior Boeing 787 Dreamliner large cover.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and our Official Airline Partner, Qatar Airways are inviting Birmingham primary schools to apply for the chance to be part of a landmark education project which will enable children to explore what the city means to them through the creation of a new musical theatre song.

To apply, schools are asked to submit pupils’ responses to the question ‘What does Birmingham mean to you?’ in any format they like – a poem, a piece of art, a video, song or dance – the more creative the better! A panel of experts will then judge the final entries and select ten schools from across Birmingham to take part in the project.

Each school selected for the project will decide which of their Key Stage 2 pupils will be involved. Please note that we are able to work with a maximum of 30 pupils from any KS2 year group on this project.

The selected pupils in each school will have the opportunity to work with award-winning composer Eamonn O’Dwyer and musicians from the CBSO to create a new piece of music that celebrates the Spirit of Birmingham. Each school will contribute towards the narrative, lyrics and music of the piece, which will receive its world premiere at Symphony Hall in a performance by children from participating schools and CBSO musicians.


Each participating school will receive and take part in:

  • A half day workshop with Eamonn O’Dwyer to create lyrics and text for the final performance piece
  • A half day workshop with two CBSO musicians to develop original music for the final performance piece
  • A half day workshop with a CBSO vocal leader to help prepare pupils for the final performance
  • A copy of the final composition, along with a piano reduction and backing tracks to help pupils learning
  • A final performance in Birmingham’s world famous Symphony Hall alongside the other participating schools, accompanied by a 10 piece CBSO ensemble.
  • A visit from a Qatar Airways pilot and cabin crew where they will talk to pupils about their work and experiences of flying around the world

There will be additional opportunities throughout the project for schools to contribute to a short film about the project, or take part in media events with local or national press.

The Spirit of Birmingham project has been made possible as a result of generous financial support from Qatar Airways, which has signed up as a major supporter of the CBSO and as the Orchestra’s Official Airline Partner to celebrate the launch of its new route from Birmingham Airport.

Aboard Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Credit: Qatar Airways/Getty Images.

Schools must submit their entry along with this application form by Monday 27 June to ‘Qatar Airways Spirit of Birmingham Project’ CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham, B1 2LF or by email to education@cbso.co.uk


About Eamonn O’Dwyer »

About Our Official Airline Partner »


Terms and Conditions

  1. Submissions must be received by 5pm on Monday 27th June and cannot be returned
  2. Submissions will only be accepted with the completed application form
  3. If submitting a piece of artwork – this must be no larger than A4
  4. If submitting a written piece, this must be 1 side of A4 or equivalent
  5. If submitting audio or video - the file must last no longer than 1 minute
  6. Submissions will be judged by a selection panel of CBSO and Qatar Airways employees. Schools will be selected based on how they communicate their feelings about Birmingham, the local community and its values
  7. The CBSO and Qatar Airways are granted permission to use the successful creative responses in on and offline publicity
  8. The project is open to one KS2 class or a maximum group of 30 KS2 pupils
  9. Selected schools must be available for the dates given and arranged for them
  10. Selected Schools must make a financial contribution of £375 (payment can be spread across the academic year)
  11. Schools give permission for sessions to be photographed/filmed unless a prior agreement has been made with the CBSO’s Learning & Participation Manager before the project start date