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Hi, I'm Katie B and this is Hit The Stage.
In this series I've taken a group of kids who all love music,
and given them the chance to perform on some of the biggest stages.
We've seen a budding DJ go from playing his mum and dad's parties
to rocking the decks at a major festival.
A singer go from singing hymns in church to performing to sell-out
crowds, and a songwriter afraid to play her songs in public
to playing to an audience of thousands.
In this final episode,
we see Darrel get the chance
to play his own composition to a big crowd.
Brianna introduces me to the harp,
and the whole group come together for a very special finale.
Are you ready to Hit The Stage? We are!
MUSIC: "Lights on" by Katy B
I've been lucky enough to make a life out of doing something
that I love - singing and performing.
You may even know some of my hit singles.
And now I'm in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Why am I here? Well, it's simple.
This year, the city is the UK's first ever City Of Culture,
which means there's loads of massive music events happening
all year round.
And I've been helping some local kids to hit the stage.
I'm not doing it alone - I've got two local musicians
to help out when I'm not around -
Glenn, who loves hitting the stage himself
when he's rocking out with his band.
The spark of creativity they have
really reignites the spark you have
so I'm really looking forward to the eight months,
and seeing where this is going to go.
And Jenny, who likes to take things a bit more slowly
when she's teaching students how to play the harp or sing.
It's really inspiring to think that these kids really have
so much potential.
So I'm really, really excited to see what they're going to come up with.
Last time we met Darrel, who's obsessed with playing
and composing his own tunes on the old family piano.
Well, I'd like to become a famous composer, going round the world.
'I was so impressed with his playing, I arranged for him to meet
'Neil Cowley, who is the City Of Culture's musician in residence.'
I'm already liking your hand position, that's very good. So...
'Neil has played on some of the biggest hits of this century,
'including Adele's Rolling In The Deep.'
And he thinks Darrel has what it takes to go all the way.
You've got everything within your grasp, technically,
for you to do exactly what you want for the rest of your life.
I'm telling you, you really have.
'The only thing holding Darrel back was his schoolwork.'
You've this weird idea that you can go into your exam
-and pass it.
-THEY TALK OVER EACH OTHER
I don't have.
'But he promised me he'd try harder.'
And now a few months have passed, his school report is in.
Look what came in today - can you guess what this is?
It's my report, school report.
Would you like to read it?
Aye, I'll have to, I guess.
If you look at your maths - he's a very good comment there because
in January when I was talking to that teacher, he says that you've
a mental block when it comes to maths, and now he's saying now
that he thinks you're going to get it.
But I kept at you with your maths.
Katy B - what did she tell you? She told you, "Darrel, you need it
"and you don't want to do what I done,"
where she had to go to night classes and do it later.
She says you've got to do it now. And your music's very good.
It's first place in music, so that's very good.
Well, the report's very good and you're to keep up now the work.
That's a really positive report. If Darrel keeps this up, it looks like
he'll pass his maths, and there's even a reward for his efforts.
-There's a fiver now.
-Oh, thank you.
If your grades improve, I will double that fiver.
Oh, what about the grand piano?
I think that might be pushing it, Darrel.
No grand piano, no.
My Hit The Stage super-group are hard at work on their cover
of local band Snow Patrol's classic song Chasing Cars.
'When I first announced the song, it didn't go down so well.'
I decided we can make our own unique version
of an iconic song by a local band.
But by encouraging everyone to get creative...
I could make the beats along with the piano.
..and embracing new ideas...
Can we make the song a little bit faster?
..they turned things around, and the group are nearly ready to
record their own unique version.
A key member of the group is 12-year-old Brianna.
Brianna is a pro on the latest computer games.
I really need to get this - oh!
But when it comes to the harp, she's a total beginner.
The harp is a much-loved Irish string instrument that
dates back at least 1,400 years.
Brianna loves the sound that it makes.
The harp is a beautiful instrument and, um, plus it's quite soft
and delicate and doesn't bang the eardrums.
But that peace and quiet doesn't last long
when you have a dog around the house.
His name is Stitch.
He's a wee bundle of chaos.
He's eating the grass again.
I know, I think he should have been a sheep.
'Hit The Stage isn't just about being the very best -
'it's about loving music too.
'Brianna may be only starting to play,
'but that won't stop her being part of the Hit The Stage gang.'
'And like everyone else in the group, I think Brianna could really
'benefit from having a performance to aim for.
'But as a beginner,
'I know she could struggle to play in front of a big crowd.'
It would be kind of nerve-racking
but I suppose it really depends on how big it is, technically,
and if it's a small crowd, I'd be OK with that.
'I know that Brianna's worried about performing before she's ready,
'so I'm going to give her as much advice as I can.'
I don't get, how can you handle the nerve of going up on stage,
in front of thousands, maybe millions of people?
I don't get...I can't do that.
I don't get how someone can gather up the courage to do that.
Well, the thing is, you start off
as you're playing to, like, five people.
And then the next concert you do, you're playing to ten
and then the next, you're playing to 50.
After a while, it's building up, building up.
It wasn't like my first ever gig was to, like, 80,000 people.
That would have definitely freaked me out.
You're always going to be a little bit, like, little bit scared,
but - you know, you can't let that stop you,
you've got to kind of go for it anyway, you know?
So have you got a little harp here
that I can hear you play some...?
So what are you going to be playing?
Um, I forget what it's called, it's Southern Wind or The Western Wind.
'It's so exciting learning a new instrument
'but it's lots of hard work too.
'I think if Brianna had a big performance to work towards,
'it could really help her focus,
'so I'll work with Jenny to cook up a real surprise.'
Well, I've never had anyone play the harp to me before, Brianna,
so thank you very much. It's lovely.
'But first, Brianna has a solo to sort out in the group session.'
Literally at the start, we were thinking maybe, like,
just the harp doing that wee riff at the very beginning
and then yous come in with a couple of those phrases, yeah?
-Let's get cracking, then.
-Cool. OK, Brianna?
SHE PLAYS INTRO TO CHASING CARS
I was nervous about having to start the song because it's...
Well, if you screw up, you screw up the whole song.
It's a big responsibility to start the group's song,
but I know she can do it.
14-year-old pianist Darrel loves his music.
He spends hours making up his own tunes, but composing your own music
isn't easy when you can't even keep your piano in key.
IT PLAYS OUT OF TUNE
But amazing mum Sharon has a massive surprise
in store for her son.
She's pushed the family budget to the limit and come to the rescue.
I'm waiting on Darrel and Tyreece to come back from the beach.
They think I'm away shopping to buy clothes, but I've went
and I've invested in a good piano for him.
He doesn't know that he's getting it, so I'm just going to surprise him.
And I've been thinking about it this past while.
When Darrel comes back now, he's actually,
I think he could faint, even, for the shock of seeing this new piano.
I can't believe she has managed to keep this a secret.
I love a good surprise.
Well, how did the beach go?
Was it good? Did you enjoy the beach?
This can't be real. No, no, no, this isn't real.
How'd you get that?
No, this is impossible.
It's in tune and all!
Even Tyreece is liking the sound of this.
Like really, like, it is a dream come true.
I'm amazed that me mum's given me this - really happy,
I really appreciate it,
and, like, best thing in the world to happen.
Just time for one last goodbye to his old faithful.
'I will miss it in a way, but in a way, I won't miss it.'
'Actually - I was in on the secret,
'and I've got another surprise in store for Darrel.'
Hi, Darrel. Now, I know you've been really enjoying working with
Neil Cowley, and you know what?
Neil has really enjoyed working with you, and he's very impressed.
Neil and his band have a performance coming up, and guess what?
He wants you to join him and play your own composition.
Are you serious? Oh, yes!
I'm so excited for you, Darrel, best of luck.
I can't believe this is happening to me.
Like, you get to play with on stage with him for a proper performance.
I'm really shocked. I'll have to do masses of practice.
It's amazing how something so simple like getting a new instrument
can really fire your creativity.
And with a brand spanking new piano under the stairs, I can't wait to
hear what Darrel is going to come up with for his big performance.
Since I met Brianna, she's been practising harp every day
and I've made sure that Jenny is on hand to help her get to grips
with this tricky instrument.
-Oh, is it a blister?
If I haven't been practising a while, my fingers will get really sore
but you just have to keep practising through it.
-It's just a wee sting,
we'll get through it, it's just sore for that wee bit.
'If you're getting blisters on your fingers, it means you must be
'really working hard. I'm impressed.
'And I think it's time for all that hard work to be rewarded.'
Hi, Brianna. Hi, Stitch. How are you?
'I've lined Brianna up a great opportunity to play
'solo at her very own harp recital.'
How do you feel?
Very surprising. Can't believe it. Um, very, very happy.
-Don't cry, you'll make me cry.
This is a big deal for Brianna. It won't be easy, but Jenny will be
working closely with her on the pieces she'll have to play.
Right now, though, she's taking her harp
and joining the Hit The Stage group as they hit the studio.
After all their practising, the group are ready
to record their version of Chasing Cars.
Ready when you are!
Recording a song professionally takes a lot of effort.
Everyone has to record their part separately,
and the engineer will then mix all the pieces together
into the final track.
I know Brianna was nervous about this, but she's doing brilliantly.
It's my first time in a recording studio and, well,
it was a lot harder than I expected.
I love being in the studio, it's where I feel most at home
but if you aren't used to it, it can be tough.
I'm trying. I'm really trying. OK.
Hannah's used to playing live, you know,
which is a totally different world to the recording world.
If your nerves switch on when you're recording,
it's very, very hard to get your part right.
It's so hard. No, I don't like it.
All the instruments get recorded first
so that the engineer can start to build the track.
I feel ready to go!
With all the instruments recorded,
it's time for the singers to step up to the mic.
# Remind me... #
Erm, I'm not sure that's the way it goes.
On your own's easier.
But being in a group's sort of...better - more fun.
I really can't wait, I'm all excited,
it's like my first proper time using one of...whatever that is.
# If I lay here
# If I just lay here... #
In a recording studio you just feel so natural and you just...
You can just let go and it's an amazing thing to do, like.
# Would you lay with me and just forget the world? #
With all instruments and vocals recorded, the DJs are in the studio
bringing their own unique sounds into the mix.
I can't wait to hear the finished track.
Have you ever thought about how to really listen to music?
I love listening to music at home, on my own, or with my friends.
it can make you happy, sad or even make you want to dance.
But have you ever wondered what different parts make up a record?
Try breaking them down - it's fun.
First of all there's the beats, the drums,
which you should know very well because it's related to
one of the sounds that you know best - your own beating heart.
Then there's the melody and the singing.
Put all three together and that's when the magic happens.
With only a couple of weeks to go
before he supports Neil Cowley on tour,
Darrel is busy putting the finishing touches to his composition.
I want to really impress Neil,
show him that I'm really putting in the hard work for this big gig.
Darrel uses the latest computer software to
write down the music he's composed in his head.
I have more or less done it now, actually.
So I'm going to go down to the piano and try it out.
I think getting a new piano has really helped improve
Darrel's skills, and in just a couple of weeks' time, he'll be
playing his own tune in front of a crowd for the very first time.
Really excited about doing it. Not even nervous, just really excited.
I can't wait to be sitting at that piano and just playing
away in front of a big massive audience, like. It's so exciting.
Ever since Brianna found out about her very own recital,
she's been busy practising with Jenny
to learn as many pieces as she can.
She's come such a long way in such a short period of time.
And she's now ready to perform in front of a crowd
for the very first time.
Even though I am nerv-cited - nervous and excited,
I am confident that everything will go well. I can't wait.
She'll be playing in a beautiful venue in the city centre
in front of an invited audience of family members and friends,
including her Hit The Stage pals.
Oh, and Stitch is there for support too.
Will we give Brianna a big clap?
All the hard work has been worth it. Brianna sounds amazing.
Everyone loves it. It's an emotional moment for Brianna.
After working hard for months and you finally accomplish a goal,
it is something...amazing.
With their cover version recorded,
it's time for the group to film their very own music video.
We are on our way to Belfast
to record the music video in front of the green screen
-and I think we're really excited, aren't we, Brianna?
Really looking forward to it.
They're heading to one of the biggest TV studios
in Northern Ireland, to film against the massive green screen.
This is how the stars like to record many of their videos.
It sounds really exciting, like, you see all these celebrities
and behind the scenes in their music videos and it looks really cool.
And for anyone wondering why it's green, Brianna has all the answers.
Why's it green?
Well, green's a reflective colour
and any image or any texture can be reflected against it
to make it look as if it's like...
something there's but it's not.
Could it be a blue screen, do you know what I mean?
-Why does it have to be green?
-You can get blue ones.
Could it be, like, a purple screen?
-Why not purple?
-It's not reflective,
-you can only get blue, green or white.
-That's me told.
Here's how it works.
Everyone mimes their parts in front of the camera
and through the magic of computers, the background will be
replaced with all sorts of cool stuff.
If you're going to star in your very own music video,
it's important to look your best, and even the boys need make-up.
You need to get your make-up on so you don't shine.
The cameras in the studio are really strong.
That looks lovely.
Make-up done, it's time to get down to work. Action!
It was a bit weird what we had to do - repeat it and repeat it
and repeat it. But, no, it's good, like, but it was a bit weird.
Darrel has left the bright lights of the studio behind -
he's in Lancaster for his performance supporting Neil Cowley.
Oh, look, there you are.
There it is.
-It's becoming real now, isn't it?
-It really is.
And it's time for his sound check
to make sure everything is ready for tonight's gig.
How you doing, Darrel? How you doing?
Hi, girls, how are you doing?
-All right? Nice to see you. Nice to see you.
Tonight will be the first time a crowd will ever have heard
one of Darrel's own compositions, and it seems Neil is impressed.
Darrel, you know what? Your timing's really nice
and you're fluid and just, you know, you exude something.
It's really amazing. I'm really blown away, I really am. That's great.
With the venue filling up for tonight's sold-out concert,
Darrel is raring to go.
I'm going to kill this audience.
They're going to go off the seats and I am going to kill the audience.
But one look at the crowd, and it's a different story.
Five minutes to the gig. I'm feeling nervous.
Me stomach's feeling sore,
I feel sick.
I feel really like I'm going to make mistakes, but...
Hello, mate. You all right?
Come on, give us a hug.
You're going to be fine.
-Has it got to you, finally?
-It was going to.
20 minutes before, I was all right. Now, five minutes before...
But this is normal. This is natural, this is the way it should be.
-Yeah, you need a bit of nerves.
Cos if you go out there all bolshie and confident it won't be quite
the same performance - you need a little bit of nerves.
-Going to nail it.
Five minutes, Miss Piggy. "Five minutes, Miss Piggy!"
I was worried there for a second.
Go on, Darrel!
MELODIC PIANO PIECE
Working with Neil has really paid off for Darrel.
This is world class, and he looks right at home on the big stage.
-How do you feel?
-Do you feel good?
You sound fantastic.
Can't believe it. That's class. That was class.
That was...best time of my life.
Happy flippin' days!
It's a big memory he's got now. It's a big tag in his brain saying,
"I did that, I achieved that, I could do that again."
I bet he's addicted.
In fact, he loves it so much,
at the end of the night he doesn't want to leave.
Well, that's nearly it - 13 kids, nine months,
and hours and hours of practice, but it's all been worth it.
HARP PLAYS INTRO TO CHASING CARS
I was only playing for a few months.
Now, I just can't believe I've come this far.
You know, working with everybody,
meeting new people, I never thought I would get this opportunity.
I've really just enjoyed every moment of it.
It just shows you, right, I play... it's literally a bit of wood
and it shows you how far it brought me.
# On our own... #
We're all part of each others' experience and we can look back
and laugh and have memories. I'm sure we'll keep in contact.
# Let's waste time chasing cars
# Around our heads
# I need your grace... #
Well, I never thought I would have achieved
what I've achieved from this show.
# To find my home... #
It's changed me as a person.
# If I lay here
# If I just lay here
# Would you lie with me and just forget the world? #
-This is the end now?
-Is that it? Ah!
It was so short. It felt so short
# Would you lie with me and just forget the world? #
-Can I do it again?
-I don't want to be free, I want to do it again.
I never knew it would be that good, actually.
-I'd do it again.
-I want to do it again.
-Can I do that again?
I'm so proud of them.
Everyone has pushed themselves further and harder
than they ever thought possible
and achieved some amazing things - and so can you.
So whatever your ambition, in music and beyond, go for it!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd