#SingLive at the Tower of London a TikTok Success!
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This old adage worked out brilliantly for Project Get Singing and MDBrunch members on Saturday 8th May as 25 professional choir leaders gathered together to sing in the grounds of the currently-closed-to-the-public Tower of London.
Over the course of three wet and windy hours, these brave singers worked through some fun warm up songs, learnt a Spanish folk song and honed a performance of ‘You Will Be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen, arranged especially for the occasion by Craig McLeish.
The purpose of the rehearsal was to model good practice in Covid-secure, outdoor rehearsals, something that will be returning to our lives from Monday 17th May, along with the ability to rehearse indoors with further mitigations in place. It was also a wonderful opportunity for the choir leaders to meet in person for the first time, having previously only met online. The singers were joined by other MDBrunch members from further afield, who took part in the day via Zoom, making the whole thing a truly hybrid rehearsal experience.
With the beautiful White Tower in the background the singers stood in a fanned formation, all two metres from their neighbours. As they were outside, masks were not worn, but lateral flow tests had been taken by the singers prior to arrival. The singing started with MDBrunch team member Angela Reith leading a couple of warm up songs before Ben Sawyer from the Project Get Singing team led the first formal warm up song, his a cappella arrangement of ‘Wade in the Water’. Lizzie Renihan, who also appeared in Project Get Singing’s #12twelve12 video series led two more warm up songs before Marta Matea Radwan finished the warm up session with a circle song that encouraged singers to improvise in her signature jazz style.
Camilo Menjura took over at this point leading the singers through an arrangement of the Spanish folk song ‘Segador’ (‘Harvester’). It was such a wonderful experience to feel the singers responding so immediately to the live direction, something we have all sorely missed over the long Zoom months.
The singing was concluded with MDBrunch’s founder and leader Naveen Arles directing the singers through Craig McLeish’s arrangement of ‘You Will Be Found’ from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. Again, feeling the singers responding to what they could hear was a moving experience, so much so that Tom Houghton, a stand up comedian and resident of the grounds of the Tower of London, filmed some of the choir’s singing and posted it on TikTok, a recording that quickly went viral over the next couple of days, and highlighting the emotional impact singing can have on participants and listeners alike. You can see Tom’s TikTok post here. It was also fitting that Project Get Singing’s organiser-extraordinaire, Mel Field, took the solo at the end of this beautiful arrangement.
It was a truly amazing day, that Project Get Singing hope to be a foretaste of things to come as choirs gradually return to in-person singing. The Project Get Singing team are particularly grateful to Richard Swan and Mark Shepherd who enabled them to sing at the iconic world heritage site, the Tower of London.
What is all the more appropriate is that this event should have taken place on the same weekend as the Brit Awards, delivered to a live audience of 4,000 fans at London’s O2 Arena. The show was part of the government’s trial events, and those that attended were not socially distanced and did not wear face masks, having taken Lateral Flow Tests prior to attending. You can read more about that event here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-57059652
We continue to wait on news of how successful these events have been, but there is now a sense that the light at the end of the Covid tunnel is getting ever nearer in the United Kingdom.