HERE & NOW World premiere of UNICEF song at HCA-show

A-HA lead singer Morten Harket and teenage star Hayley Westenra to sing duet at Andersen show in Copenhagen

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 25 March 2005

UNICEF's official title song "Children First" will receive its world premiere when the Norwegian singer Morten Harket from A-HA and the New Zealand star Hayley Westenra perform a duet at the opening show of the Andersen bicentenary on 2 April.

The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation and national Danish Broadcaster DR proudly announce that lead singer from A-HA, Morten Harket, will perform a duet with the New Zealand star Hayley Westenra at the grand Andersen bicentenary opening show on Saturday 2 April 2005 at 9 pm.

The Danish composer Carsten Mørch and his wife Sissel Mørch have for a number of years worked on creating an official title song for UNICEF. They have now joined forces with the Danish-based American lyricist Lisa Freemann in writing the official title song "Children First" about the plight of children worldwide. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen on 2 April, and in recognition of the close association between the Andersen bicentenary and the HCA-abc Foundation, UNICEF has quite exceptionally decided to launch the world premiere of the song at the show in Copenhagen. The performance of "Children First" will feature as one of the grand highlights of the evening and will involve a children's choir of 350 boys and girls from the National Danish Junior Choir, the National Danish Children's Choir, the National Danish Boy's Choir, the Royal Danish Academy of Music Children's Choir, and the Choir of Skt. Annæ School, 3-5 grade.

The merely 17-year old Hayley Westenra already holds the title of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is currently a huge hit in Britain where her debut album Pure is among the best selling classical albums ever. Hayley Westenra has performed for prominent people such as Prime Minister Tony Blair, President George Bush, and has performed alongside international stars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocicelli and José Carreras. Morten Harket is the lead singer in A-HA and achieved international fame with the hit single Take on Me. In 1987, A-HA composed the title song for the James Bond movie, The Living Daylights, and the following year saw the popular album Stay on These Roads. Among Morten Harket's solo releases are A Kind of Christmas Card, Spanish Steps and Heaven Is Not For Saints (Let It Go).

"Once Upon A Time" will be televised live to the Danish home audience on DR1 and to the wide world. The 120-minute show relates the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen in music, dance and film. For the occasion, the Danish national soccer stadium, Parken, will be transformed into an enchanting fairytale universe where a number of newly produced short films will relate the story of Andersen's life. Each fairytale will be conveyed in dance and music. Audiences at home and at the stadium will experience Connie Nielsen as hostess, Tina Turner, Daniel Bedingfield, Olivia Newton-John, Jean Michel Jarre, the world-famous American opera singer Renée Flemming, Safri Duo, the Italian quick-change artist Ennio Marchetto, Sir Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte and Isabel Allende. The cast of 600 performers including a children's choir of 350 boys and girls, 28 ballet children from the Royal Danish Ballet, the Chinese acrobatics troupe, the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe, and a large ensemble of dancers and singers.

Tickets for the show are available from BilletNet at Tel.: +45 70 15 65 65 or and Billetlugen at Tel.: +45 70 263 267 or

About the HCA-abc Foundation
The HCA-abc Foundation was established in the spring of 2004 with the aim of addressing illiteracy among children and the young worldwide. Special emphasis will be given to children, young women, and ethnic minorities in developing countries. The foundation will lend its support to projects that will help ensure professional standards in addressing one of the most fundamental rights of humankind: the ability to read and write.

The celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen will create the platform for a global campaign that is to promote wider awareness of the HCA-abc Foundation and its vision: to become a significant and influential player in the struggle against illiteracy through sponsorship of innovative literacy campaigns. With the establishment of the HCA-abc Foundation, the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation vowed a long-term commitment to help eradicate illiteracy and make a difference for children and the young in the developing world.

Mette Holst, Director of the HCA-abc Foundation