Those of you who dip into the blogs I list on the right side have have recently seen a post from Irishpisky about now being seen on one of the Song of Praise programmes broadcast in August 2010 from the west of Scotland. He was referring to the recording which took place in June 2010 at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. I was unable to get to those recordings – so could categorily say that I would not be seen on the programmes….or so I thought. Cut into the programmes were hymns from an April 2004 recording of Songs of Praise which I was at, and I was there in a side aisle.However, I was at a recent recording of the Songs of Praise Big Sing in the Royal Albert Hall in early September. Recorded the night after the BBC Proms had finished, it was four hours of fun – and waiting around. Aled Jones was the host for the shows, however for the star of the evening for me was the conductor of the Big Sing Orchestra – Paul Leddington Wright. The recordings split the evening into to two 1 1/2 hour sessions. The first was for a programme in late October, however everytime there was a break, Paul used the time for the massed voices to practice a John Rutter carol for the Boxing Day programme.
The first half featured popular hymns from various singers and the assembled masses (over 5,000 of us) in the hall. The first featured singers was Mica Paris, who immediately after recording her item went to another engagement across the road in Hyde Park. Following on from Mica, Gareth Gates sang. His choral upbringing being similar to Aled Jones is having sung in a cathedral choir as a treble. Howard Goodall conducted the Big Sing Orchestra for a rendition of his setting of Psalm 23 – otherwise known as the theme to the Vicar of Dibley – by his choir Enchanted Voices, and finally the other solo singer was Russell Watson.There then followed a set change, with decorated trees being brought onto the stage and stars on the backdrop. It seemed quite weird with the temperature about 20 degrees C outside and Christmas being around 15 weeks away. Russell Watson and Enchanted Voices also featured in the recording for this programme. In addition Hayley Westenra joined the line up. Again the surreal nature of the recording was continued with Aled interviewing her about what she would be doing at Christmas, and she responding about the family time she would have had in New Zealand (this tense business is odd when I am blogging about an event that has happened, to be broadcast in the future). The penultimate item sung came from Aled Jones. The recording finished with a rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas, including the massed voices in the entire hall.
To find out what was sung you will have to watch the programmes when they are broadcast on:
- Sunday 31st October (BBC ONE) – with Russell Watson, Mica Paris, Gareth Gates and Howard Goodall’s Enchanted Voices.
- Sunday 26th December (BBC ONE) – with Russell Watson, Hayley Westenra and Howard Goodall’s Enchanted Voices
Across both programmes are features classic hymns, gospel singing, inspirational songs and christmas carols accompanied by the Big Sing Orchestra, the Royal Albert Hall Organ and massed choirs. Do not forget to set your recorders.
And will you see me in either broadcast – I have no idea, but I was in box 72 – the second tier of boxes around halfway down the right side of the audience area looking towards the stage.
Information from BBC Songs of Praise web site: