On Wednesday 21st October 11 local choirs came together at The Platform in a special concert to unite and celebrate the ability and diversity of our local choirs. Each choir performed a unique 12 minute set showcasing their particular musical style.
The event was organised by Musical Director (MD) of Gathered Voices, Jeff Borradaile, who was MD for the Commonwealth Games Children’s Choir, with help from member Evelyn Rae, who also organised the first Big Sing last year.
Jeff explained, “The idea was to celebrate singing! We also wanted the opportunity to meet with the talent of our local area. While sharing our passion for singing, we each hear what other choirs are working towards and appreciate their hard work in preparation. As new groups have been starting up locally, we excitedly found ourselves with eleven choirs participating this year! ”
Ladies of Note kicked off the evening and sang a very moving song about musical memories of mother, “500 miles” was joyfully sung by The Barton Road Community Choir under MD Janine Bebbington, followed by the More Music Choir, which includes members of the newest choir, the Lancaster University staff lunchtime choir “Legend In Their Lunchtime,” which came together first in January 2015.
Next were the City Singers, who made the top 100 choirs of the year and just missed out on a final place in the BBC’s The Naked Choir, with Gareth Malone. Their set, arranged by MD Amanda Elsworth-Ross, included their second round audition piece, a unique mash up of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and Cold Play’s “Fix You”.
Stephen Boyd’s Morecambe Bay Singers delighted the audience with a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber showtunes. The St John’s Hospice choir, conducted by Joanna Jeffreys, is formed from friends, volunteers, and workers from the hospice, which provides vital support for local people. Their poignant performance of Hallelujah was very moving.
Dot Crotchet and The Raging Harmonies added flavour with “Trifle.” HumHoller’n’Sing brought us to Africa with their rendition of “Shosholoza” along with other songs from around the world. The audience then enjoyed “I dreamed of Rain,” “I’ve got rhythm” and “Alta Trinita Beata” performed by The University of the Third Age choir under MD Fredrik Holm. The Millennium Choir performed some old favourites by the Kinks, Joni Mitchell and Queen, all original arrangements by MD and composer Andy Whitfield.
Gathered Voices concluded the eveningwith a range of popular songs then all the choirs united under the direction of Gathered Voices MD Jeff, to sing “Can’t help falling in love,” a pop song originally recorded by Elvis Presley.
“This is the second year the City Singers have taken part and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s very interesting to see how different each choir is, and how varied our repertoires, but how we all love coming together to sing. You don’t need to be able to read music to join a choir. Whatever your age or ability, whether you like modern mash-ups, comic songs, pop classics, world music, or spirituals, there really is a choir out there for everyone.” Amanda Elsworth-Ross.
Jeff added, “Singing is great for mental and physical well-being and I’d encourage everyone to join a choir. The event was a great success and we hope even more choirs will take part in Big Sing 2016.”