Young Voices is a nationwide music event that takes place from November to January. Young Voices is, in essence, the largest children's choir organiser in the world. Concerts are held at various locations such as Birmingham's LG Arena and London's O2 Arena where school choirs come together to perform the 'Young Voices' songs they have been learning for many weeks. Many other performers also take part and the childrens choir is incorporated into many of these performances. This year saw the return of the fabulous 'All Angels' along with Dionne Bromfield, Josh Osho and the superb Young Voices dance troup, Urban Strides.
After taking our school choir to the event at Birmingham for the first time last year and having such a fantastic time, Jo and I could not wait to return again. Although the location had changed this time with a move from the National Indoor Arena to the LG Arena we were sure the atmosphere would be as electric as ever!
The song list this year included 'Bright Eyes' by Simon & Garfunkel, 'Stand By Me' by Ben E King along with super Michael Jackson, Pop, Snow Business and Golden Musical Memories medley's. I thought the song list this year was superb and personally preferred it to last years although the timing in Bright Eyes was rather difficult, especially for youngsters.
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We arrived at the LG Arena by coach on Thursday 25th November accompanied by approximately 38 nervous but excited choir members, some of whom attended last year and others who were about to experience Young Voices for the first time. Luckily, this year there was no hanging around outside which was a good thing due to the drastic drop in temperatures. We had great seats right in the middle of the massed choir and directly in front of the conductor. Rehearsal went well conducted by the amazing David Lawrence. I don't know quite how he does it but he has almost the full attention of over 5000 children!
At 5pm we were surprised by the appearance of 'Carrie Grant' who was there to record a live report for the 'One Show'. We were given some new items to sing and did several practice sessions before going completely live on the 'One Show' at 7pm. This was such an exciting experience for us, the children and the audience!!
As we'd already imagined, with the children singing their hearts out and the addition of Santa hats and coloured lights the atmosphere was absolutely magical. Many of the children were very tired by the end of the concert and then with a walk back to the coach and a trip back from Birmingham I think they were very glad to get home.
This was 'A's last year at 'Young Voices' as next year she'll be off to High School. She sat next to me during the performance and sang her absolute heart out! She told me later that she was determined to make the most of it as she wouldn't get the chance to go again. Unfortunately my partner in crime, Jo, missed the actual performance as she had to leave early due to doing her own performance onstage in 'Allo 'Allo. This was a real shame after the work we've both put in but I've no doubt we'll be back again next year with a new set of kids and a new set of songs.
Well done Young Voices for excelling yourselves once again and organising a superb event. What better way to start the Christmas season than with 5000 children singing in unison!