Despite globalisation shrinking our worlds over the past few decades, many of us were already more disconnected from our communities than the generations before us. “Work, sleep, repeat” was and is a reality for a lot of us. The hope of change and faith in a greater or more common cause can provide motivation, determination and help us to look up and consider our environment and our neighbours more.
The pandemic, like many other disasters and extreme challenges has brought out the worst in some humans. Whether it be those who hoarded toilet rolls in the spring, the opportunists selling PPE at extortionate rates to key workers online, the selfish behaviour of some who refuse to follow guidelines or the arguable ineptitude of those in power. But to counter all of this, hope and faith shine through even brighter.
To begin with, those trying their best to homeschool their children shared their rainbow pictures in windows to show solidarity and hope. This was shortly followed by the original “Clap for Carers” started by Annemarie Plas. This not only showed how much the public were grateful for our health workers and other key workers but was also an opportunity to bring communities together for a few minutes once a week and share a moment of conversation outside, at a distance over the garden hedge – a lifeline for the most lonely and of course a boost to those working in hospitals and in the supply chains nationwid
In the original lockdown many people also rediscovered their love for music. Some began online lessons to learn an instrument and most of us were simply listening to more music – although not live, radios and smart speakers became important companions. Podcasts came in to their own and whilst some well meaning celebrities managed to inexcusably butcher John Lennon’s “Imagine” within an inch of its life in arguably the most cringe inducing moment of 2020, the first of many unexpected musical heroes emerged in Matt Lucas as he re-hashed (pun intended) his baked potato song to help feed NHS workers.
Inspired by the likes of Mr Lucas NHS Northumbria approached High Row Music as Christmas was coming – often a sign of hope and a time for reflection for many of us, even in a more normal year. Everyone was keen to welcome in 2021 as quickly as possible. It was their desire to let their NHS Trust and the wider NHS community know that the work they’d done and continue to do had not gone unnoticed. They’d spent time changing the lyrics to a well known song and needed High Row Music’s expertise in finding a group in their portfolio who would be an ideal fit for the special project.
Eclectic Harmony Gospel Choir are a young group of gospel singers based in Leeds and it is clear when you hear them sing that three things are prevalent in their sound:-
A huge appeal for both participants in and the audiences of gospel choirs is the joy that shines through the music and on the faces of the artists. This passion is contagious and magnifies a song’s messaging in a subtle and truly unique way.
The word “Harmony” in the choir’s name is very apt. Each of the singer’s control of their range is exceptional and guided seemingly effortlessly by Chris William, an acclaimed and accomplished pianist.
Still rooted in the traditions of the gospel sound, Eclectic Harmony Gospel Choir’s rich tones and harmony-driven approach lend themselves perfectly to the project they decided to undertake for the NHS with Hire Row Music in what you’ll see is a fitting tribute.
The choir, led by Lisanse Changwe, harnessed their passion and skills to deliver a touching tribute to the NHS in a cover of one of the world’s favourite modern Christmas classics. Here are some facts about the chosen tune to see how well you know your yuletide songs: –
- It holds the record for the most weeks in the UK singles charts for a Christmas song
- In 2010 a British goat farmer discovered that playing the song on a loop meant a much higher milk yield
- The 2 songwriters earn an estimated $1m each every year from the song in royalties
- It only took the writers 15 minutes to create the chords and melody
- It doesn’t mention baked potatoes
Proudly working with High Row Music the choir’s rendition of the Mariah Carey favourite “All I Want for Christmas is You” gained so much traction that it garnered the support of many North East based celebrities and dignitaries including Steve Cram CBE, Jane Percy (The Duchess of Northumberland) and Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Benidorm star Tim Healy.
“ I want to say a massive thank you to the NHS and all our wonderful care workers”.
– Tim Healy, Actor
Newsreader Pam Royle, Sir Brendan Foster CBE of Great North Run fame, Hairy Biker Simon King and Emeli Sandé also paid tribute and are featured in the video below.
“We appreciate what you are doing for us and our loved ones to keep us all safe. Thank you”.
– Emile Sandé, Singer
Whilst the successful Christmas project was a beautiful tribute to the nation’s key workers it is also fitting that a gospel choir were to ones to deliver the message as it is perhaps more apparent than ever before that everyone is reliant on workers who are often taken for granted and overlooked.
We all have to put our faith in the HGV drivers ensuring essential goods are delivered, researchers who tirelessly work on vaccinations, supermarket staff who keep the shelves full, job centre personnel who are as overwhelmed as they have been in decades and of course, the front line medical teams in hospitals, community health teams, pharmacists and GPs who we all put our faith in as many of them work in conditions that we only see in news reports and have to cope with emotional strain that is unimaginable at times, in the likes of an intensive care unit.
Eclectic Harmony Gospel Choir continue to gain fans and followers as their repertoire grows weekly and they have managed to secure live performances in the North of England in line with government guidelines despite the well documented difficulties facing anyone in the live events industry. This is testament to their dedication but also to the public’s desire for live music, particularly in the face of adversity – to lift spirits, provide escapism, generate new and fond memories, tell stories and bring people together through a shared experience – a feeling we all missed in 2020 but can hopefully look forward to more as 2021 progresses.
“There is a sound that comes from gospel music that doesn’t come from anything else. It is a sound of peace. It is a sound of, ‘I’m going to make it through all of this’”.
– Yolanda Adams, American Gospel Star
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Eclectic Harmony Gospel Choir are a professional 6-piece modern gospel choir available for live performances by booking with Hire Row Music here. Suitable for events including weddings, funerals, christenings, anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events and more the choir offer a huge range of songs from the likes of Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran and Norma Jones to more classic songs from Arethra Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Queen and Bob Marley but are open to preparing specific songs in advance for very special occasions. Call us today to learn more on 0800 772 3906.
High Row Music would also like to extend their gratitude to the NHS for the work they continue to do, NHS Northumbria for the opportunity to be involved in this project and to Eclectic Harmony Gospel Choir for their remarkable delivery.